Mount Ararat Archaeological Survey -- By: Cevat Başaran

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 21:3 (Summer 2008)
Article: Mount Ararat Archaeological Survey
Author: Cevat Başaran

Mount Ararat Archaeological Survey

Dr. Cevat Başaran

Dr. Vedat Keleş

Rex Geissler

Brian McMorrow

Great Ararat and Little Ararat aerial view with the Aras (Araxes) River Valley (international border) in the foreground looking southwest.


One of the most important and mysterious subjects that has remained from antiquity to this day has been the Flood of Noah, along with the views of where the Ark and those in it came to rest. We find various views about the Flood of Noah not only in the holy books representing the three great religions (Lewis 1984: 224), but also in almost all the important cultures of antiquity, in ancient sources (Montgomery 1974) and modern research about the Flood (Brown 2008). Throughout various time periods, research has been done regarding the location of the boat and the search for its remains.

As expressed above, aside from the holy books, the event of the Flood is also referred to in Sumerian, Babylonian, Greek, Hindu, Gaul, Scandinavian and Chinese legends, with many interesting similarities, and with one of the distinctions being that the name of Noah is different (Bratton 1995: 35–36; Kramer 1999: 173–74). Many cultural histories around the world illustrate consistent Flood themes, including a global nature for the Flood, a favored family, survival due to a boat, that the Flood was caused by the wrongdoings of men, that there was a remnant who were forewarned, that animals were also saved by a boat, that survivors landed on a mountain, that survivors sent out birds, and that the survivors offered sacrifices after escaping the Flood (LaHaye and Morris 1976).

One of the most common views presented is that Mesopotamia could be the area where the Flood of Noah might have occurred. Archaeological research in the region has produced some data regarding the possibility of the Flood having taken place in Mesopotamia (Willcocks and Rassam 1910: 459–60; Frazer 1916: 232; Bright 1942: 56). The discoveries from archaeological research done in Mesopotamia’s important cities of Ur, Uruk, Kish and Shuruppak suggest that destructive local floods took place in that region of the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys (Woolley 1930 and 1938; Mallowan 1970: 238).

Others contend that Mount Judi, which overlooks the Mesopotamian plain and the Tigris River Valley may be a good location for the Ark’s landing site. Mount Judi has support from local traditions (Rich 1836: 123–24; Bell 1910; Bailey 1989), a 1952 wood discovery and later radiocarbon dating (Bender 1956), and literature from antiquity (Crouse and Franz 2006).


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