Manchester, NY| A team of archaeologists excavating a drumlin known as Mormon hill or the Cumorah, in western New York, have discovered a set of gold plates which they believe could be linked to the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith Jr.
The scientists, led by Professor Abraham Jones, are associated with the Brigham Young University’s faculty of archaeology. They were using advanced metal detectors, lasers and other ground-penetrating imaging technology to look for underground structures, when they noticed a small cave-like cavity.
They dug up the entrance, which was buried under a dozen feet of rocks and dirt, and explored the very exiguous cavern. The walls and ceiling were covered with ancient traces of soot, presumably from torches, suggesting the cave had been visited many times in the past. On top of a large flat stone resembling an altar, they found what looks like a book made of metal plates.
The “book” is made of a set of twelve metal plates, each measuring six inches (15 cm) in width, eight inches (20 cm) in length approximately half an inch (1.27 centimeter) in thickness. The plates are made of a copper-gold alloy, and are held together by three D-shaped rings, forming a sort of book. The entire volume measures a total of nearly six inches [15 cm] in thickness and weights 59 pounds (26.76 kg).
The plates are covered with mysterious symbols, very similar to the “reformed Egyptian” characters, written by Joseph Smith Jr. on the document known as the “Anthon Transcript”. Many of the symbols on the plates found by the archaeologists are identical to those drawn by the prophet, in 1928.
Joseph Smith Jr. is said to have found similar golden plates on September 22, 1823, in a hill near his home in Manchester, New York. He claimed that an angel named Moroni had directed him to a buried stone box, containing a set of gold plates, covered with strange symbols.
Smith translated the text of the Book of Mormon over the next several years by using a seer stone, which he placed in the bottom of a hat and then placed the hat over his face to view the words written within the stone. He finally published the book in 1830, which was meant to be a complement to the Bible.
This new discovery could be the most important material and historical proof ever found, to back the claims of Joseph Smith Jr. Professor Jones and the scientists from Brigham Young University will now perform an extensive series of tests and analysis to determine if the plates could indeed be linked to the prophet.