Noah’s Boat Found? Or just an “Ark-eology” Discovery?

Some major news outlets have been running a story that a Hong Kong-based Chinese team has found Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat. Unlike most other Noah’s Ark “discoveries”, this one is accompanied by photos and video.

Todd Bolen posted on this story with an email from Professor Randall Price, who is associated with the expedition. Price is currently involved in attempts to locate the Ark on Mount Ararat and hopes to discover evidence soon, but states that this particular discovery is a carefully-arranged “fake” and a “hoax” perpetuated on the Chinese team. WorldNetDaily also reports Price’s account under the headline Latest Noah’s Ark ‘just wood planted on Ararat.'”

According to Price:

In the late summer of 2008 ten Kurdish workers hired by Parasut, the guide used by the Chinese, are said to have planted large wood beams taken from an old structure in the Black Sea area (where the photos were originally taken) at the Mt. Ararat site. In the winter of 2008 a Chinese climber taken by Parasut’s men to the site saw the wood, but couldn’t get inside because of the severe weather conditions.

During the summer of 2009 more wood was planted inside a cave at the site. The Chinese team went in the late summer of 2009 (I was there at the time and knew about the hoax) and was shown the cave with the wood and made their film. As I said, I have the photos of the inside of the so-called Ark (that show cobwebs in the corners of rafters – something just not possible in these conditions) and our Kurdish partner in Dogubayazit (the village at the foot of Mt. Ararat) has all of the facts about the location, the men who planted the wood, and even the truck that transported it.

Other questionable tells:

– “To my knowledge, the Chinese took no professional archaeologist or geologist who could verify or document the wood or the structure …” (Price)

– They claim that carbon-14 results on the wood yield a date of 4,800 before the present, but there is no mention of which lab produced these results. (One news story mentioned the C-14 result came from Iran.) Are they sending a sample to a known lab for verification of the date?

– As mentioned by Price, cobwebs are visible in some of the photos at the bottom the group’s web page. These would not be able to form in a glacier 14,000 feet in elevation.

– Todd Bolen’s post includes additional information from Price. Apparently the same guide duped this same group of individuals with a false Ark site a few years ago.

Someone claims to have found Noah’s Ark every few years, in many different places, and this has been going on for more than a century. Here is a brief history of some of the more recent Ark discoveries. (HT: archaeology.org)

Christians should approach these kinds of “fantastic” biblical discoveries with caution. If a discovery does not involve recognized scholars or experts, if physical evidence is in short supply, if the location or results are “secret” in any way, if the discovery is revealed on TV shows or cable documentaries, be skeptical! Every ‘Ark-eology’ find to date has been either unverifiable or outright fraudulent. Wait for some objective verification before embracing it. When a discovery is too good to be true, it just might be.

I have faith in the Bible and its accounts, but this doesn’t mean I expect to find an Ark. The Bible does not say the Ark landed on Mount Ararat, but “on the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:4) This includes much lower elevations which would have permitted people and animals to disembark without difficulty, and which would have permitted decomposition of the wood.

I recommend watching this 5-minute Good Morning America” segment that includes an interview with archaeologist Dr. Eric Cline. Here’s a quote from Prof. Cline on the Ark’s fate: “I would think that the first thing they’d do is take the boat apart and make a building. I mean, wood’s going to be scarce, so instead of looking for Noah’s Ark I’d be looking for Noah’s first house.”

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About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in Misuses of biblical archaeology, Short videos and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Noah’s Boat Found? Or just an “Ark-eology” Discovery?

  1. This is a fantastic post. I read this online through msn the other day and I was really kinda weirded out about it.

    The best thing for us to do is like you said with caution.

  2. RHooper says:

    While I agree that the NAMI group’s presentation seems less than rigorously scientific and the Turkish guide’s behavior seems to raise legitimate suspicions, the criticisms raised by both Price and Parker (supposedly mature, objective academics) lack credibility:

    1.No cobwebs at that altitude? It took less than a minute to locate a species of spider that lives at 22,000 feet http://audubonmagazine.org/birds/birds0011.html

    2. Price (who does not take the Bible literally) commented that the Ark would be scavenged, shows his ivory tower mind set. His conclusions are based on two erroneous assumptions: a) the mountain has always been 17,000 feet (it is volcanic and can grow suddenly) and b) Noah would waste time building new housing when the Ark would serve the same purpose. People in survival mode don’t wast time duplicating effort. Noah needed to plant (which is what the Bible indicates) rather than build housing (which Price erroneously assumes)

    In closing, I have many questions about the NAMI methods that aren’t being addressed, but the reactions of Americans “experts” are simply petty,…I’ll keep waiting for more details.

    • lukechandler says:

      Thanks for your comment. People have announced discoveries of the Ark every few years for over a century, so it is good to be cautious and even a bit skeptical when another announcement is made.

      I think we both agree it is good to hold off embracing this latest announcement. Some questions re: your comments:

      – The spider you mention was found on Mt. Everest. It is a jumping spider and does not spin a web. Is there evidence of high-altitude, web-spinning spiders in the Ararat region?

      – I believe you mixed up Prof. Price, who has hunted for the Ark but is skeptical of the Chinese claim, with Prof. Eric Cline, who was featured on the GMA clip and suggested the Ark would have been dismantled. In the interview, Cline didn’t attack the biblical accounts in spite of whatever beliefs he holds. (Don’t we all hold beliefs that could potentially cloud objectivity?) He did acknowledge that the team found “something” that should be analyzed more carefully, which is certainly a reasonable comment.

      – If Flood survivors had chosen to continue living in the ark, would it be safe to have a taboun/cooking fires in a massive wooden ark?

      – The wood in the photos appears to be in remarkably good condition. What would have prevented a wooden ark from rotting away over time, especially if it was originally at a lower altitude?

      – Wood is valuable for many things besides building homes. What would provide Flood survivors with sufficient quantities of fuel for their fires?

      – Besides stone, what would Flood survivors have used to finish building sheep folds or animal pens?

      – The Bible mentions Noah planted a vineyard and produced wine. Is this the work of someone in “survival mode” or someone who has succeeded beyond that point? Is there any indication that Noah planted the vineyard in the first year or two after the Flood? Could it/would it have been planted some years later?

      – If Ararat’s elevation was sharply increased due to volcanic activity, how could a rotting, wooden ark survive the eruptions and geological upheavals?

      For people who are “99.9% sure” their discovery is the ark, there are some practical questions that lack easy answers. More questions like these need to be asked before putting faith in this particular claim. If traces of the Ark are ever found, it should be in a context that answers at least a few of these issues. I am personally doubtful that the ark would have survived to be found, but I could be wrong!

      Thanks again for posting.

  3. Thank you for this post, Luke. And yes, I’m late to the party. Are you surprised? Of course not!

    I’m always intrigued by claims that Noah’s ark has been found, or the Ark of the Covenant, or bits of the cross, or the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper… etc. It goes on, ad infinitum. But I think that the point is well taken that these tend to have been unremarkable objects for the people at the time, with the exception of the Ark of the Covenant. I think it’s very unlikely that Noah’s ark survived both reuse and weather, just as I doubt that anyone stashed away Jesus’s drinking cup or the cross where he died. Interesting to think about what they would be like if they did survive, but it does seem extremely improbable.

    It seems to me that the only way those things could be reliably preserved would be if God took a hand in it, and if he wanted them preserved we’d have them all today with clear provenance. While he can and does do whatever he wills, his attitude toward worship of anything or person other than the Godhead is clearly stated in Scripture. Knowing us as he does, he would know that anything physical reliably associated with Biblically described events/activities/people would be revered and worshipped. So I think he allowed those things to disappear into history to reduce that possibility.

    My two cents 🙂 and worth all but 2 pennies of it.

    • lukechandler says:

      Your comment reminds me of the Bible account of Moses’ bronze serpent. It saved Israel in the wilderness, but later diverted their attention into a(nother) physical object/trophy instead of the God of Heaven. Thanks for commenting!

  4. lukechandler says:

    Good question. Sling stones are unnaturally spherical and smooth – evidence of human workmanship. We find many, many stones during an excavation. Sling stones definitely stand out. Nothing else look quite like them.

    Just as military personnel sign bombs in modern times (“Merry Xmas Hitler”) ancient warriors occasionally signed their sling stones. None of these have been found at Khirbet Qeiyafa but I have been told of stones inscribed in Greek with the words for “Pain” and “Ouch”.

    Thanks for posting!

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