Archeologists have uncovered a new network of hidden tunnels buried beneath the city of Acre in Israel, believed to have been built by the Knights Templar as a passageway to their treasure tower.
Thanks to years of excavations, archeologists have unearthed historical relics left by the Knights Templar order, disbanded by Pope Clement V in 1312 following conflicts between France’s King Philip IV and the crusading monks.
Undoubtedly one of the most important Catholic military orders in history, the Templar’s rise to power and their eventual downfall has been the subject of many studies, legends, and conspiracy theories. Now, we actually have more of the truth reveiled.
As part of a documentary series by National Geographic called Lost Cities, archaeologist Albert Lin and his team utilized light detection and ranging technology known as LiDAR, an innovative tool that allows researchers to detect hidden artifacts underneath the Earth’s surface through aerial scanning to produce accurate 3D maps.
Lin’s team decided to scan an area in the port of Acre in today’s Israel, where the Knights Templar’s fortress headquarters stood and functioned some 800 years ago. The LiDAR survey revealed a sprawling network of tunnels, and what appears to be a guardhouse, buried underneath the modern city of Acre.
Researchers believe these tunnels connected the Knights Templar’s fortress with the city’s port, allowing the Templars to carry treasure safely to their treasure tower.
“These warrior monks are the stuff of legend, and so is their gold,” Lin said in the documentary. “During the Crusades, the Knights Templar battle for God, gold, and glory. Somewhere in the modern city of Acre lies their command center, and possibly their treasure.”
The Knights Templar once controlled the city of Acre for about 100 years after losing their headquarters in Jerusalem to the Muslim ruler Saladin in 1187. The Templars were trained as skilled fighters with the objective of protecting and advancing Christianity through warfare. They also successfully raised a tremendous amount of funds to fuel the Crusades.
Their recent discovery got researchers suspect that the Templars’ gold could still be buried somewhere in these underground tunnels. So far, however, they have not found any evidence of gold belonging to the Knights Templar in the city of Acre. Plans to excavate the newly discovered tunnels have yet to be made.
Nevertheless, LiDAR technology has once again been proven to significantly improve methods of scouting hidden artifacts without the need for archaeologists to conduct excavations – and with LiDAR-driven discoveries occurring around the world, more and more hidden treasures buried underneath the Earth’s surface are to be revealed.
Could we one day find the Holy Grail?