Michael Loftus

New Discoveries in the … Dead Seas – a purim tale.

Some five thousand years into the future….

Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen for coming this evening, and I would like especially to thank the Academy of Archaeological Sciences for inviting me to speak. As I’m sure you have heard in the popular press, there have been many exciting discoveries made around the area we now call the Dead Seas, though it was known in ancient times by another name – the Great Lakes. It was called the Great Lakes because back then it was not the desolate area it is today, but was a very fertile fresh water basin, and the home to a great civilization with mighty cities.

And of course, you have read the account of the little boy who was walking his dog, how the dog went into an opening, how the boy followed, found a door, managed to pry open the door, and discovered a long lost structure. The structure was full of fascinating items, the most important of which is an almost complete seven volume text – now famously known as the Harry Potter texts.

Immediately after the discovery, there was much scholarly debate as to whether these were simply religious texts, or mythologies, or real historical records. In short, did Harry Potter really exist?

I am here today to argue that the weight of archaeological evidence overwhelming suggests that yes, Harry Potter was real, and we believe that he did exist.

A brief historical introduction. Five thousand years ago the mysterious great catastrophe destroyed much of the populated world, leaving only our Continent, known in  ancient times as Africa, safe for human habitation. Humanity lost almost all of the wisdom of the ancient world, and we were in a dark age for some time. Only in the last five hundred years have we re-discovered much of the science and technology that we enjoy today. About a hundred years ago radiation from the great catastrophe abated, and archaeology began. Many tels and ruins have been discovered, but nothing yet which compares with the Harry Potter texts.

Immediately after the discovery there were those who claimed that Harry Potter did not exist, and pointed to the lack of any archaeological evidence. Where was Hogwarts for example?  Where were the stadiums for Quidditch? The small streets of Diagon Alley? Where in fact is London, mentioned quite extensively in the texts?

Well, I can now safely say that many, if not most, of these places have been found. We have located London as Tel London, and it in fact is full of small streets and alley ways, any one of which could be Diagon Alley. We even discovered the remains of tunnels and possibly tracks, and even several inscriptions with the words King’s Cross.

As for the Quidditch stadiums, in the area around the Dead Seas, as well as Tel New York, Tel Chicago and many other places are ruins with the word `Stadium’ clearly visible. In those ruins remains of trophies have been discovered and several inscriptions with the words `Tournament Champion’, obviously a reference to the Tri-wizard Tournament described in the fourth text. Also now unearthed are inscriptions with the word SUPERBOWL. We believe this to be a obvious reference to the Golden Snitch, a round ball described in many of the Harry Potter texts.

What about Hogwarts? We know from the texts that there were in fact three schools, being Hogwarts, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, and Durmstrang. Hogwarts was English, Beuxbatons French, and Durmstrang a Russian Bulgarian mix.

Archaeology has now uncovered three sites, which correspond to the three main schools mentioned in the texts. Each contain ruins of the castles, and contain inscriptions that clearly indicate that these were Magic Castles. These sites also included magic forests, pirate caves, and even illustrations of a giant mouse or rat (possibly Peter Pettigrew or Wormtail). Detractors point out to the inscriptions – DISNEYLAND, and DISNEYWORD. But this can be explained linguistically, since in the ancient language of English Disney seems etymologically to be a short form for Dumbledore and we believe that it simply refers to the great Wizard himself.

Just around Tel Paris was found such a site with a castle, areas dedicated to magic and innumerable inscriptions in the ancient French language. It is interesting to note that in this site and in Tel Paris, very little if any ancient English was found. We are not sure why this is, but think it might indicative of some bitterness between the two cultures, one thinking that it was much better than the other, and hence did not have to use the other’s language. This must be Beuxbatons.

The second site discovered was in the Southern Empire of Florida. I believe this to be the school Durmastrang. However, in the text it is described as being Russian and Bulgarian and for a long time this was a conundrum since the Russian was thought to be far away. Just a few years ago, recent discoveries were made in the beach front area of Tel New York were there existed a neighborhood of Russian speaking inhabitants. Earlier inscriptions call the area Brighton Beach, but both in ancient English and Russian, it had another name, little Odessa. There are so many Russian inscriptions that it is almost certain that there was a Russian outpost here. We also know that were great migrations from Tel New York down to the Southern Empire of Florida. We were not sure if these were natural migrations, or perhaps refugees or maybe even a slave or silk trade route of people travelling back and forth. In any event, the southern `Disney/Dumbledore site was probably built to serve this and other communities and as such it can be identified as the Durmastrang school.

Thus if the site around Tel Paris is Beuxbatons, and the site around Tel New York is the Durmastrang school, then the remaining site, the one in what was then known as California must be the site of Hogwarts. It is the oldest and grandest of the sites and certainly fits the description.

Lastly, and perhaps conclusively, we have now found many additional texts from outside of the Harry Potter volumes that speak of thousands of people going to hear and see the high Priestess dedicated to the memory of Harry Potter, one J.K. Rawlings. We have numerous extra canonical mentions of Harry Potter from newspapers of the day and there were even ceremonies such as `movies’ dedicated to him.

While it is true, we have not yet unearthed anything from the person himself nor any personal inscription or other material evidence, one has to look at all of the circumstantial evidence, the archaeological record, and finally the text itself. Seven volumes of journeys, with such abundant detail that now clearly matched by the archaeological record. After all this, could it be that Harry Potter was just the result of someone’s overworked imagination? I think not.


About the Author
Michael Loftus has a masters degree law from the London School of Economics. He has been involved in business and capital markets for 40 years. Additionally he is a licensed tour guide, and a docent at the Israel Museum, Bible Lands Museum, and Tower of David Museum and has a specialist designation in Jerusalem from the Israel Ministry of Tourism.
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