Noah, His Ark, His Mountain, His City, His Tomb -- By: Gary A. Byers
BSP 11:3 (Summer 1998) p. 53
Noah, His Ark, His Mountain, His City, His Tomb
These are exciting times for archaeology. Major discoveries, many directly impacting our understanding of the Bible, are being made almost daily. Due to careful excavation techniques and today’s information super highway, the average person has access to more information than all but the greatest scholars of just a generation ago. Yet, vast areas of antiquity still hold tight to their secrets.
One example is the field of study commonly called “Ark-aeology,” referring to the exploration in search of Noah’s
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Ark. Over the past two decades, the search for Noah’s Ark has received international attention. Dozens of expeditions to the Ararat region of modern Turkey, mostly by American Christian groups, have led to numerous claims.
The Bible says Noah’s Ark came to rest on “the mountains of Ararat” (Gn 8:4). “Ararat” designated a region—the ancient highland kingdom of Urartu—and not a specific mountain peak. Its location is well known from antiquity as the rugged mountain region of Turkey’s eastern border. After leaving the Ark on the mountain, there are no more specific Biblical references to the whereabouts of Noah or his immediate family. Later Biblical writers never suggested the Ark could still be seen.
The mountain today called Ararat is more like a range with twin peaks. The highest mountain in the region, it is regularly covered by snow. While it is possible, it is not certain that the mountain known as Ararat today was the place where the Ark landed.
Although the Bible remains silent on the whereabouts of Noah’s Ark, there have been numerous reports of a large boat on a mountain in this region throughout history. As early as the third century BC it appeared to be common knowledge that the Ark could be seen on Mount Ararat.
Over the past century, witnesses continue to report a large vessel on Mount Ararat. Reports ranging from recovery of wooden timber, to aerial photographs,
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to visits, to a basically whole vessel have been widely circulated. A large intact portion of a vessel is believed to be situated below the highest peak, usually encased in ice above the 10,000 ft level. Only during certain warm summers can the s...
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