Noah’s Ark discovered. . .again?

A group of Chinese and Turkish explorers say they have found Noah’s Ark.  Normally this wouldn’t be exciting news considering

Edward Hicks’ Noah’s Ark (1780-1849)

most claims of this sort prove to nothing more than hoaxes or false sightings.  But these people from Noah’s Ark Ministries International have taken it up a notch.  Consider the following evidence and claims:

  1. Several photographs show structures made of ancient-looking wood.
  2. The carbon dating shows the wood to be 4,800 years old.
  3. The find is 13,000 feet up, higher than would be expected for a human settlement.
  4. Local officials want an official archaeological dig at the site and have applied to UNESCO to make it a World Heritage site.

Let’s examine these items.  The photographs are intriguing to be sure.  Not knowing who these explorers are, I cannot rule out a hoax.  And even assuming that the photographs are legitimate and were taken at that elevation on the mountain, it is not necessarily the case that Noah’s Ark has been found.  As others have already pointed out, it is possible that an outpost of some sort was built long ago for explorers.  However, if the dating holds up, this view loses some steam since there’s not much recording (that I know of) of people climbing mountains for fun thousands of years ago – let along doing so often enough to build a rather large outpost.  One thing is fairly certain, if the elevation of the find is really 13,000 feet, it is very unlikely to be a typical ancient habitation.

Concerning the dating, one site has reported that there is some question about this.  It is alleged that earlier testing had indicated a date much more recent.  I’m not sure about the facts here, but it will be telling to see the results of future tests, if any.

The last item really caught my attention.  Appealing to UNESCO?  It seems that many are convinced that something of significance has been discovered on Mr. Ararat.   At the very least, if the find is not Noah’s Ark, it is likely an important artifact.

On a personal note, I fully believe the Genesis account of the flood.  Having read some of the other flood “myths”, I can say without reservation that none can compare with the Bible’s straightforward and detailed narrative of the flood.  Unlike other ancient accounts, the Genesis account is non-mythological and intended to be read as history.  It gives matter of fact statements about what happened.  One of these statements is that the ark rested on the “mountains of Ararat” (Gen. 8:4).  There is some debate over whether this indicates the specific mountain known today as Ararat, or to a range of mountains in Iran also known as Ararat.  Whichever is the case, I’d be a bit surprised if this recent “discovery” is indeed the long lost ark of Noah.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s entirely possible a future team of scientists will confirm the find as a really big and really old boat, in which case I would be tickled pink.  But I’m not holding my breath.

UPDATE:  Just learned of this over at the Pharyngula blog.  Michael Heiser’s site has produced an alleged letter written by Randall Price (an avid searcher of both arks) affirming that the expedition and its claims are a farce.  The letter is worth checking out and, if true, casts serious doubt on this latest story.  Apparently my suspiscions regarding this recent “find” are correct.  Too bad.

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