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.”