the biblical writers exaggerated the power imo. The technology was widespread in antiquity and mentioned in a number of different ways and contexts. Because of its military use back then it was naturally a well regarded secret.
As for no mentions of THE Ark, it was such a common type of object, as I say above the build instructions are in the bible so anyone can make one, why would anyone build it up to the levels of the OT.
Herodotus does in fact mention an Ark that sat in the Chamber atop of a Step Pyramid in Egypt. It was removed for safety before the novice priests had a mock ritualistic battle on the structure. It was probably little different to the Arks found in the Pharaohs treasure or The Tabernacle. Without the Shamir it did not possess the potential ascribed in Exodus, but it delivered a steady flow of energy just as any reconstructed Ark would if used in the way I describe in the Ark Manual. Its simple enough.
By the time the bible was written, new parts, it was a long time since the tech was used on a wide scale so the authors could get away with just about any old guff.