As part of a new documentary series by National Geographic called Lost Cities, archaeologist and show host Albert Lin and his team In October 2019, discovered a new network of hidden tunnels buried beneath the city of Acre in Israel. 

This discovery was made with the help of a Light Detection and Ranging technology known as LiDAR.

This revolutionary tool allows archeologists to detect structures and artifacts that have been buried underneath the Earth’s surface through aerial scanning to produce accurate 3D maps.

Although the Knights Templar Order was disbanded by Pope Clement V in 1312 following conflicts between the crusading monks and King Philip IV of France, historians believe that these tunnels were built by the Knights Templar as a passageway to their treasure tower. According to Albert Lin:

“During the Crusades, the Knights Templar battled for God, gold, and glory and somewhere in the modern city of Acre lies their command center, and possibly their treasure.”

Based on a report by IFL Science, Albert Lin and his team scanned an area in the port of Acre believed to be where the Knights Templar’s fortress headquarters stood some 800 years ago.

The LiDAR survey revealed a hidden network of tunnels, and structure that is believed to be a guardhouse, buried beneath the modern city of Acre in Israel.

Report of the LiDAR scan suggests that these hidden tunnels may have connected the city’s port with the Knights Templar’s renowned treasure fortress.

This arrangement would have allowed the Templars to safely carry treasures from the city’s port to their treasure tower.

In his documentary for National Geographic called Lost Cities, the archeologist and show host, Albert Lin described the Knights Templar’s wealth as the stuff of legend. He said:

“These warrior monks are the stuff of legend, and so is their gold,”

No Plans To Excavate The Newly Discovered Tunnels

With the recent discovery of the hidden tunnels in Acre, experts like Albert Lin suspect that the Templars’ legendary treasures and command center could still be buried somewhere in these underground tunnels in the modern city of Acre.

According to Albert Lin, the command center or “treasure tower” could have been the last location of the Templar’s gold. He said:

“The Templar’s hidden tunnels snaked beneath the streets, and they secretly transported gold to the Acre fortress’ crowning glory; its treasure tower.”

Uncovering the lost treasure belonging to a religious order of soldier monks from the time of the Third Crusade is an appealing prospect and experts hope that the discovery of the tunnels will help archaeologists piece together the movements of the Knights Templar as it suggests they transported gold from the port to the “treasure tower” via the tunnels.

Since their untimely demise in the early 1300s, The Knights Templar’s famed treasure has become the stuff of legends.

The recent discovery by Albert Lin and his team revealed that The Knights Templars’ fortress, which is believed to be housing their fabled treasures, is buried under meters of rock and dirt.

However, plans to excavate the newly discovered tunnels have yet to be made, and the possibility of an expedition to excavate it in the future is uncertain as researchers have not found any evidence to ascertain the existence of gold belonging to the Knights Templar in the city of Acre.

The Knights Templar Was A Secretive Catholic Military Order

Acre was once controlled by the Knights Templar for about 100 years during the 12th century.

The Catholic military order of the Knights Templar was established in 1119 and was active until 1312 when it was abolished by Pope Clement V. prior to its disbandment, and the Knight Templar was a sizable organization of devout Christians famous for their frightening battle skills during the Middle Ages.

The Knights Templar were instrumental in the Crusades that started during the 11th Century before they were tasked with the responsibility of protecting European tourists visiting sites in the Holy Land.

Following the fall of Jerusalem into the hands of Saladin, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt in 1187, the Knights Templar lost its headquarters in Jerusalem.

In a bid to take back the Holy Land, Gregory VIII, who was the Pope at that time, called upon Europe’s top Christian monarchs — the rulers of Germany, England, and France — to conduct another crusade.

Although the Third Crusade was unsuccessful, it did result in a treaty deal that granted safe passage for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land.

The Knights Templar then took control over the city of Acre, which became their home for about 100 years.

The Knights Templar monks were trained as fighters, they were charged with the responsibility of advancing and protecting Christianity during wars.

They also successfully raised a tremendous amount of funds to fuel their Crusades.

LiDAR Technology As An Improved Scouting Tool For Archaeologists

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by shooting a laser at a target and analyzing the light that is reflected back.

This innovative tool was developed in the early 1960s and can be used to map physical features with very high resolution. 

LiDAR utilizes visible, near-infrared or ultraviolet light to image objects and can be used with a wide range of targets, including rocks, non-metallic objects, chemical compounds, rain, aerosols, clouds, and even single molecules.

LiDAR technology has significantly improved methods of accurately scouting and scanning artifacts that have long been buried under meters of rock and dirt, without the need for excavations by archaeologists.

This technology was recently used by a separate team of archaeologists in Cambodia to unearth the lost city of the Khmer Empire.

The lost city was discovered deep in the mountainous Cambodian jungles covered with landmines. This has made it impossible for archaeologists to conduct physical examinations and excavation of the site.

With LiDAR-driven discoveries popping up around the world, more hidden treasures buried underneath the Earth’s surface are set to be discovered.

Despite the Knights Templar’s dissolution, some historians believe that some mysteries such as their untimely demise and the whereabouts of their fabled gold treasures are yet to be uncovered, and Albert Lin’s discovery of this Knights Templar tunnel may finally solve some of these puzzles.

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