The Remains Of Noah’s Ark Might Have Been Uncovered
Noah’s Ark is a biblical tale that is as old as time. The story centers around God’s decision to flood Earth entirely with rain, in order for it to return to its pre-creation state. Before going through with his plan, however, God saved Noah and instructed him to assemble an ark so that he, his family, and the animals from each pair could survive the flood.
Although many believe the Noah’s Ark story is simply an ancient myth and a foreboding warning about God’s wrath, a team of scientists embarked on a journey to see if the story may actually be rooted in truth and if the Ark ever existed.
It’s More Than A Story According To Some Scientists
As with most biblical tales, the history of Noah’s Ark was thought to be a historical fact by many, up until the close of the 1700s.
The Earth’s creation story, as told in the Bible, has largely been denied as a factual explanation for how the Earth came to be. Even though this belief was floating around, a few dubious scientists have come to believe that Noah’s Ark may have actually been real and that it’s not just a fictional story.
The Legend Behind Mount Ararat
As told in the Bible’s recounting of the famous flood, after the rainfall stopped and the water started to recede, Noah allegedly landed the Ark at the “mountains of Ararat.” To know if the water had settled down, he sent out a dove and raven.
After he was surely confident that the water had receded, Noah unlatched the doors of his Ark and set the animals free to thrive again in the new world. In 2009, with the location of Ararat in mind, an expedition team of scientists went to see if they could uncover any traces of archaeological evidence.
Mount Ararat Is A Respected Location
As one of the tallest peaks in Turkey, Mount Ararat is located in the east, close proximity to its border with Iran and Armenia. Ararat is considered an honored and sacred mountain, seeing as its part of Turkey’s national symbol. It’s also an integral part of Armenia’s coat of arms.
At a peak of 16,584 feet, the top of the mountain is engulfed with snow year-round. 1829 was the earliest recorded exploration.
Marco Polo’s Connection To Mount Ararat
The distinguished Venetian traveler and explorer, Marco Polo, wrote in his book, The Adventures of Marco Polo, how he scouted the “mythical” peak of Ararat. It wasn’t really until the 19th century that explorers started to do their own research and make observations about the mountain.
Dr. Friedrich Parrot is the 1829 explorer who scaled the mountain. He explained that its sacredness is why “no human being is allowed to approach it.” 50 years later, however, explorer James Bryce made an incredible discovery that changed everything.
James Bryce Tried To Summit Ararat
In addition to being an explorer, Bryce was also an Oxford Civil Law professor, historian, statesman, and diplomat. He climbed the mountain in 1876, searching for physical evidence about the Noah’s Ark story from the Bible.
Although Bryce didn’t reach the mountain’s peak, he did make it just above the tree line where he saw the snow slopes. That was where he made the accidental discovery that lent some proof to the Bible’s original story.
Bryce Found A Wooden Beam
Even though Bryce was clearly hoping to discover any evidence relating to the Ark, he wasn’t too confident about what he might find. However, what he did find left him speechless.
He came across an ancient beam on the snowy slopes of Mount Ararat. It, quite possibly, could have been remnants of the Ark, but, much to his disappointment, the beam was much too big to have been transported all the way down the mountain. When he went back to England, the news of this discovery transformed into research madness.
A Persuasive Photo
While people were enthusiastic about Bryce’s discovery of the wooden beam, this evidence didn’t even scratch the surface of convincing experts it was from Noah’s Ark. Additionally, other explorers claimed they found other forms or proof, even the entire boat, but there still wasn’t any tangible evidence.
Another expedition was on the horizon in 1960. A man, Ron Wyatt, took a photo of an 18-mile area of the peak. In the image, there was something that slightly resembled a boat, so yet another expedition was in line.
According to the story of Noah’s Ark, the Ark supposedly rested in the Ararat mountains. Although, there isn’t one primary peak, many mountaintops. In addition, certain biblical scholars bantered that Ararat was the name of the whole region, not just the mountain.
In eastern Turkey’s Durupinar site, a big structure can be found 18 miles south of the modern Ararat. Even more intriguing is that it seems that it could be an ark. Ron Wyatt wanted to prove that it indeed was.
A More In-Depth Look
In 1985, Wyatt was joined in his expedition by David Fasold, an ex-United States Merchant Marine Officer and salvage expert. Geophysicist John Baumgardner joined them. Pretty convinced that the site was the precise location of the Ark, Fasold believed they would be able to discover it using a device called a “frequency generator.”
The scan from the device detected that formation in the earth was about 538 feet, which was close to the estimated measurements of the biblical Ark (an estimated 515 feet using ancient Egyptian cubits).
There Were Possible Anchor Stones
Fasold and Wyatt searched the area for any telling signs of the Ark, but they found something they weren’t anticipating. Boulders with ancient carvings were discovered, and, according to Fasold, the boulders were anchor stones (drogues) that may have been used to stabilize massive ships during a storm.
Despite this exciting discovery, the boulders were found miles away from any bodies of water. Fasold still felt confident they found the Ark. However, many remained skeptical that the story was a mere myth and nothing more.
There Were Still Doubts
Even though Fasold and Wyatt’s case was compelling, some geologists, archaeologists, geophysicists, and other experts immediately denied their claims. That denial came as a response to the “frequency generator.”
As many suspected, the generator was nothing more than a “sounding rod” with some additional equipment. They also stated that the drogue stones were merely local gravestones in the surrounding area. As a result, the theory about the Durupinar site was rejected and forgotten.
A Dated Concept
The idea of a theoretically ancient flood is as old as human culture and still alive in different areas and religions. In the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh and Hindu Satapatha Brahmana, Utnapishtim, and Manu both built boats after being warned about a catastrophic flood by the gods.
There are similar stories in the Sumerian Epic of Ziusurda, Plato’s works, and Chinese and North American Hopi cultures. Even though the reason behind the flood varied depending on the culture, it was agreed upon that, at one point, the earth was covered in water.
Gilgamesh’s Search For Eternal Life
The 4,000-year-old poem Epic of Gilgamesh contains one of the oldest legends about an ancient flood. The poem was inscribed on stone tablets and was about King Gilgamesh’s search for eternal life.
On his journey, he faced men, monsters, gods, and, most profoundly, Utnapishtim, an elderly man, who claimed he had found the secret to everlasting life. Desiring to learn the same secret, Gilgamesh enveloped himself in listening to Utnapishtim’s tale.
Utnapishtim Warns Gilgamesh
Utnapishtim warned Gilgamesh that the god, Ea, wanted to flood the earth to halt humans from overly replicating. He also warned Utnapishtim to construct a large boat. Utnapishtim listened to his advice.
On the boat, he brought his family, and helpers, as well as “all the animals on the field.” Apparently, not too long after Utnapishtim finished the project, the sky opened up and produced a storm that cleared away everything in its path. Despite this, Utnapishtim stayed alive.
They Remained Safe
As the storm battered on around them, Utnapishtim and his family stayed safe on the ship they had been instructed to build. When the rains finally let up, Utnapishtim opened a hatch and released a dove and raven to see if any land was close. Utnapishtim eventually landed his ship on the side of a mountain.
This tale was inscribed on stone tablets, and even though the physical ones had been missing for millennia, it remains popular across Babylon and other parts of the world.
While the tale of the Great Flood has been retold and recounted throughout history in different cultures, specific details vary in each take. Sometimes, even within the same story.
In the biblical passage, for example, Noah is apparently instructed to a pair of each animal onto the Ark. In another passage, it claims that Noah was supposed to take “seven pairs of every kind of clean animal” and “one pair of every kind of unclean animal,” and “seven pairs of every kind of bird.”
The Mountainous Trek
A joint Turkish-Hong Kong expedition happened in 2007. Members of the Noah’s Ark Ministries International (NAMI) made the journey up Ararat to find the lost ark.
Obviously, this was a treacherous adventure given that Ararat’s snowy hillsides and exposed landscape made the climb much more difficult. Plus, the conditions and weather weren’t the only two issues that the climbers faced. Mount Ararat is also located at the heart of a military zone.
A Strategic Point
Mount Ararat is not only considered to be of grave military importance in terms of strategy, but it’s also very high up and near Turkey’s border with Iran, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. You can’t even visit the mountain if you’re an expert; you must have military clearance to enter the zones.
Many foreigners have an “Ararat Visa” to enter the mountain. Even if you receive a special badge, you’re still only allowed to travel certain paths, which – if you wander away from them – can be deadly.
The Weather Was A Huge Issue
One NAMI team got their Ararat Visas and began their trek up the side of the mountain with the aid of a skilled local guide. The team was aware they would face dangerous weather conditions, and that’s what happened.
Despite the harsh weather, some adversity didn’t stop them. They were determined and convinced to find evidence of the Ark, so they kept going until they did.
They Found Something
The expedition team trudged through seven horrendous days of trekking, enduring miserable weather conditions and running into some militants. Amazingly, they finally reached a whopping 4,000 meters.
At that height, they discovered something remarkable – a cave. The cave wasn’t even the best part of the discovery; it’s what resided in it. The team had maybe thought that they had finally come across what they’d been looking for!
A Wooden Structure
Much to their astonishment, the team did indeed find something rewarding after all they had been through. They had found a wooden structure.
Man Fai-Yuen, one of the NAMI experts, stated, “We believe that the wooden structure we encountered is the same structure recorded in the historical accounts and the same ancient boat indicated by the locals.” After processing the structure, they estimated it was around 4,800 years old.
Releasing The Footage
In 2010, nearly three years after NAMI explorers returned from their Ararat expedition, they released footage of their experiences there. It was suspected they did this to show the public before any formal publication was released.
The documented footage of what the explorers witnessed on the mountain caused significant conversations. International experts examined the video, and it wasn’t long before people had serious doubts about what they had seen. Many people called the whole thing a giant hoax.
Confronting The Accusations
The NAMI team wouldn’t brush the issue aside, so they confronted it head-on. On their website, they divulged that they consulted with the Director of Cultural Ministries in Agri Province, Mushin Bulut about the accusations that the wood had been brought from elsewhere.
Bulut responded that it would be impossible to carry “such an amount of timber to a strictly monitored area and to bring it up to an altitude of 4,000 meters.” Regardless of this statement, it would take a lot of hard evidence to convince a large part of the scientific community.
The Problem With NAMI’s Findings
With biological research, there’s a big problem with NAMI’s findings. The problem is the myth about a boat in one location releasing all of the world’s surviving animals while humans were still quite primordial.
Since biologists heavily rely on DNA codes and sequences to track changes and compare them to fossils, the discovery of a global wipeout, along with the re-emergence of plants and wildlife, would mean that every single aspect of biology that we know to this day would be erroneous.
National Geographer Explorer Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, weighs in on the search for the Ark. “Archaeology is not treasure hunting,” she says. “It’s not about finding a specific object. It’s a science where we come up with research questions that we hope to answer by excavation.”
The ark came to rest “upon the mountains of Ararat” in the ancient kingdom of Urartu. However, Magness asserts: “There’s no way we can determine where exactly in the ancient Near East it occurred.”
No Way To Determine It
Eric Cline, a National Geographic explorer at George Washington University, gives his expert opinion. Together with Cline, they assert that even if artifacts from the Ark have been (or will be) found, there’s no possibility they could be linked to historical events.
Magness says: “We have no way of placing Noah, if he really existed, and the flood, if there really was one, in time and space.” The only actual way to determine these factors is if there was “an authentic ancient inscription.” This inscription would have to point to another Noah or a different flood.
Same Evidence, But Varying Conclusions
Secular archaeological evidence is utilized by some groups to enhance their literal interpretation of Scripture and to disregard or attempt to disprove any evidence that is contrarian. Andrew A. Snelling, a geologist and Director of Research for Answers in Genesis, shares: “We do not expect the Ark to have survived and been available to find after 4,350 years.”
Snelling’s viewpoints about why the Ark’s remains will never be found differ from that of archaeologists. Offering his own opinion, Snelling says: “With no mature trees available for Noah and his family to build shelters after they got off the Ark, there is every reason to expect they dismantled the Ark (which they didn’t need anymore) to salvage timber from it.”
While Answers in Genesis thinks there is a chance the Ark could be found someday, Snelling still believes that Ark-seekers’ claims are “questionable.” They “blunt the potential impact of a true discovery.”
Magness has another intriguing perspective on the search for Noah’s Ark. She believes that it not only confuses the masses but lessens the excitement over true archaeological discoveries. This includes findings that support certain parts of the Bible (like the House of David’s existence).
Addressing One Of The Many Problems
Cline asserts one of the many problems with the search for the Ark. The public holds unrealistic expectations about the discipline of archaeology, and social media typically puts a spotlight on the chase rather than substantial archaeological knowledge.
“We’re not like Indiana Jones,” he says. “It’s a scientific procedure. It’s painstaking. But what excites us does not necessarily excite other people.” Cline has placed his attention and efforts elsewhere, concluding: “People are gonna believe what they want to believe.”