There is apparently a real archaeologist named Dr. Jones

And Raiders of the Lost Ark was based on him and his exploits. [Edit: Or was it? Via BoingBoing, 5/20/05 5:48pm] It’s been Dr. Vendyl Jones’ life work to locate the Ark of the Covenant. Now he says he knows where it is. Via Israpundit (copied from Arutz Sheva), via Global Voices Online.

Jones’ escapades and explorations were the inspiration for the blockbuster movie ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ of the ‘Indiana Jones’ trilogy. The man who wrote the first draft of the film, Randolph Fillmore, was one of the volunteers who worked with Jones in 1977.

“I agreed to help him write the movie,” Jones said, “as long as – number one – he wouldn’t set it here (In Israel). Some people believe the ark is in Ethiopia or Egypt, some believe its in Constantinople or Rome. I just didn’t want it to be portrayed as being here. The second thing was, ‘Don’t use my name.’ So he didn’t. My name is Vendyl – V-E-N-D-Y-L. So he just dropped the first and last letters and it ended up Endy Jones.”

Although at the time of the film, Jones was far from pinpointing the location of the Ark, he has come a long way since then. With the help of an ancient document found in Qumran together with the Dead Sea Scrolls, known as the “Copper Scroll“, Dr. Jones has pinpointed the location of the Ark of the Covenant.

Dr. Jones also predicts the future based on scripture.

(I’m a little suspicious of the “Endy Jones” explanation–wasn’t Indiana Jones named after George Lucas’ dog, Indiana? Did it just happen to work out that conveniently?)

Dr. Vendyl Jones has a website.