Robert Mugabe: Raider of the Lost Ark

 A British Professor who claims to have discovered the legendary Ark of the Covenant in Zimbabwe of all places, now says the ark has been pilfered by Robert Mugabe’s government: But after decades of exhaustive ­research, Parfitt became convinced that the ordinary looking wooden object in the storeroom of the Musuem of Human Sciences in ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
586735_090415_mugabe2.jpg
586735_090415_mugabe2.jpg
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses on February 28, 2009 his guests during his birthday party held in Chinhoyi 115 km from Harare, Zimbabwe. President Mugabe turned 85 on the 21st of February. AFP PHOTO/Desmond Kwande (Photo credit should read DESMOND KWANDE/AFP/Getty Images)

 A British Professor who claims to have discovered the legendary Ark of the Covenant in Zimbabwe of all places, now says the ark has been pilfered by Robert Mugabe's government:

But after decades of exhaustive ­research, Parfitt became convinced that the ordinary looking wooden object in the storeroom of the Musuem of Human Sciences in Harare, Zimbabwe, really was the ­remains of the lost Ark.

Last year he published a book detailing his breakthrough and documentaries broadcast around the world heralded the find as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries since the Dead Sea scrolls.

 A British Professor who claims to have discovered the legendary Ark of the Covenant in Zimbabwe of all places, now says the ark has been pilfered by Robert Mugabe’s government:

But after decades of exhaustive ­research, Parfitt became convinced that the ordinary looking wooden object in the storeroom of the Musuem of Human Sciences in Harare, Zimbabwe, really was the ­remains of the lost Ark.

Last year he published a book detailing his breakthrough and documentaries broadcast around the world heralded the find as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries since the Dead Sea scrolls.

The world’s media soon dubbed the Welsh professor “the British Indiana Jones”.

But now, almost a year later, Parfitt is worried. Since the publication of his book and the broadcast of the documentaries, the whereabouts of his intriguing discovery are once again unknown. Parfitt says he has been told by sources close to family members of the autocratic Zimbabwean president Robert ­Mugabe that the object is now in the possession of one of Mugabe’s relations, perhaps even Mugabe himself.

“I first got suspicious when I started to hear that several people who had tried to see the Ark, many of them ­respectable academics, had been turned away and the museum was becoming very cagey about it,” he says. “Then a contact of mine who has connections to Mugabe’s extended family told me that people close to Mugabe have taken it.

U.N. sanctions haven’t worked on Mugabe, maybe it’s time to send Indiana Jones after him.

(Hat tip: Chris Blattman)

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.