Q. Why have you not tried to open the vaults at Rosslyn to find the hidden scrolls?
A. The scrolls are not locked away in a vault. We believe that they are hidden deep below Rosslyn and the foundations of previous structures on the site. The scrolls are likely to be distributed in different places, in imitation of their concealment when they were originally placed under Herod's Temple nearly 2,000 years ago. When the Knights Templar excavated them between 1118 and 1128 AD, they will have recorded the location of each scroll. When William St.Clair built Rosslyn he would have followed these records as closely as possible.
We are not archaeologists and therefore we will not be the people to open up Rosslyn. Our task has been to bring the facts of Rosslyn's true purpose to the attention of the appropriate academics, so that they can investigate the secrets that the building has guarded for over half a millennium.
Q. Have you thought of conducting a ground scan to see what might lie below the surface?
A. Yes. But permission was withdrawn at the last minute.
At the press launch of the Hiram Key in April 1996 (which took place inside Rosslyn) one of the trustees of the building made the following statement:
"The trustees of Rosslyn Chapel Trust will listen with sympathy to informed academic opinion and if archaeology seems worthwhile, we shall do it!"
In October of that year we arranged for Dr Jack Miller, a highly respected geologist from Cambridge University, and Dr Fernando Neves of the Colorado School of Mines (possibly the finest geological institute in the world) to conduct a non-invasive ground scan of the land around the building. With a week to go to the planned survey, the trustees withdrew permission stating in a letter that they would require the following condition to apply:
" we should also require prior signature to a confidentiality agreement which would acknowledge the Trust's ownership of all intellectual property and other information which accrued in consequence of the investigation, including the fact that any investigation had taken place at all."
We were happy to acknowledge the trusts ownership of everything found and their right to control the publishing of any documentary findings, but we refused to agree to lie if so required. We complained bitterly that such a requirement was anti-academic.
Q. Are there people with vested interests in keeping the scrolls concealed deliberately blocking the investigation of the building?
A. It certainly feels that way. We fully understand the need to move with caution and to have full respect for this unique building, but the there may be more to it that that.
Early in 1998 we brought Professor James Charlesworth to Rosslyn. He is head of the Dead Sea Scrolls project at Princetown University and later in that year he also became the Albright Professor of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Prof. Charlesworth once studied at Edinburgh University and he is well connected to leading scholars there.
He held two meetings with different trustees of Rosslyn and he was invited to prepare a plan for the excavation of Rosslyn, involving a number of leading academics. We are given to understand that a proposal was submitted some months later, but we are unaware of any further outcome.
It may be that there is no movement on the matter, or an excavation is being conducted secretly; as suggested by the trusts letter to ourselves.
Q. What have Freemasons said about you publishing their secrets?
A. A handful of Freemasons have accused us of giving away secrets, but we have not given away any secrets at all. As the United Grand Lodge of England states, Freemasonry is not a secret society. The only elements of Masonic ritual that are confidential are tiny number of words and signs that are used for recognition and could be used by a non-Mason to gain admission to a lodge. We have not divulged any of these words or signs and therefore we have broken no rules.
Q. How has Freemasonry received your findings?
A. Mostly with great excitement. We have many friends across the world including Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries. In England and Wales we have a great number of supporters, although the United Grand Lodge of England has not responded well to our books. They are an incredibly autocratic organisation who are not used to ordinary Freemasons acting without their authority, even though there is no constitutional requirement for them to authorise such activities.
Unfortunately, we have come to believe that the UGLE is part of the problem, not the solution for the future of Freemasonry. We have tried to work with them but they seem determined that this will not happen. At the other extreme, The Grand Lodge of Scotland have been extremely helpful and objective in the way they have responded to our work.
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