Has Noah’s Ark, the legendary vessel of the Bible, been found?
Does it remain hidden?
Was there in fact a giant ship that guided humanity and animals through a 40-day flood, or is it all just ancient myth?
These questions have sparked countless debates for years, and several groups now are trying to settle the issue once and for all.
But while the parties have the same goal of confirming the existence and location of the ark, they seem to be worlds apart in what they believe.
Is this Noah’s Ark or just snow-covered rock on Mt. Ararat? (courtesy: DigitalGlobe)
One group is headed by Honolulu businessman Daniel McGivern, who received worldwide publicity in early spring when he announced he was planning a July expedition up Turkey’s Mt. Ararat to investigate what was spotted in high-resolution satellite images taken last year at the height of a record-warm summer.
“These new photos unequivocally show a man-made object,” McGivern, president of Shamrock – The Trinity Corporation, told reporters in April at the National Press Club in Washington. “I am convinced that the excavation of the object and the results of tests run on any collected samples will prove that it is Noah’s Ark.”
But that was then, and this is now.
McGivern’s planned expedition up Ararat has still not taken place for one simple reason – lack of permission.
“The government of Turkey did not issue a research visa, which is sad, but it’s their country,” McGivern told WorldNetDaily. “We haven’t totally given up, but it’s pretty obvious they’re not going to give us one.”
According to Space.com, the U.S. Air Force took the first photographs of the Mt. Ararat site in 1949. The images allegedly revealed what seemed to be a structure covered by ice, but were held for years in a confidential file labeled “Ararat Anomaly.”
The government released several of the images in 1997, but experts say they are inconclusive.
McGivern’s efforts follow an attempt in 2002 by Porcher Taylor, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Taylor used satellite imagery of the area, but photos taken in 2003 by DigitalGlobe’s Quick Bird satellite provide a unique view because last summer was Europe’s hottest since 1500.
Though McGivern is disappointed he hasn’t been given the green light, he hasn’t given up all hope.
“I’m in the seventh inning. It isn’t over ’til the snows come,” he said.
He admits, though, he’s not shooting for next summer should permission elude him this year.
“I’m not one of these men that has ‘ark fever.’ I’ll never do it again.”
Arking up the wrong tree?
Meanwhile, there are others who believe Noah’s Ark has already been found, and tourists can actually visit it on a mountain next to Ararat.
Some believe this is Noah’s Ark, already found on a mountain next to Mt. Ararat (courtesy: wyattmuseum.com)
Ross Patterson, a computer programmer from Whangarei, New Zealand, is among those who think that way, and he’s now preparing his own expedition there by October.
The 40-year-old Christian has twice been to the site located near Dogubayazit, Turkey.
“I believe this is Noah’s Ark,” Patterson tells WorldNetDaily.
Patterson looks to add weight to research by the likes of the late Ron Wyatt, whose Tennessee-based foundation, Wyatt Archaeological Research, purports the ark is indeed at Dogubayazit, some 12-15 miles from Ararat, noting the book of Genesis states the ark rested “upon the mountains of Ararat,” not mountain.
Is this a hair from a large cat aboard Noah’s Ark? (photo: Richard Rives, wyattmuseum.com)
Wyatt’s website is filled with on-location photographs and charts promoting its case with physical evidence including radar scans of bulkheads on the alleged vessel, deck timber and iron rivets, large “drogue” stones which are thought to have acted as types of anchors, and even some animal hair inside, possibly from a large cat like a lion or tiger.
Though he is not connected to Wyatt’s official foundation, Patterson looks to mount a small camera onto a pole, and insert into a cavity inside the formation.
“Hopefully we can capture on video some visual evidence of a man-made structure – bulkheads, deck planking, ribs – to show it’s more than just a pile of dirt,” he said. “If we find more evidence, a lot more people may wake up and say it’s serious.”
Patterson is hoping to work with Dr. Salih Bayraktutan, a geology expert at Turkey’s Ataturk University who has conducted previous research at the site.
He’s also invited biblical researcher Dr. Lennart Moller of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on his journey to Turkey. Moller is the author of “The Exodus Case,” and is among those who say there are chariot wheels and other human debris on an underwater land bridge in the Gulf of Aqaba portion of the Red Sea. The book of Exodus says the Red Sea is where God parted the water and drowned the army of ancient Egypt in pursuit of the Israelites.
A flood of doubt
Despite Patterson’s staunch belief about the ark being at Dogubayazit, there’s been no shortage of critics from both scientific and Christian circles who think the site is erroneous.
Lorence Collins, a retired geology professor from California State University, Northridge, joined the late David Fasold, a one-time proponent of the Wyatt site, in writing a scientific summary claiming the location is “bogus.”
“Evidence from microscopic studies and photo analyses demonstrates that the supposed Ark near Dogubayazit is a completely natural rock formation,” said the 1996 paper published in the Journal of Geoscience Education. “It cannot have been Noah’s Ark nor even a man-made model. It is understandable why early investigators falsely identified it.”
“They sold a bill of goods at the time,” adds McGivern in Hawaii, “but it has developed a cottage industry.”
The Answers in Genesis website provides an in-depth report attempting to debunk any validity the Dogubayazit site has, and concludes by stating:
“[A]s Christians we need to always exercise due care when claims are made, no matter who makes them, and any claims must always be subjected to the most rigorous scientific scrutiny. If that had happened here, and particularly if the scientific surveys conducted by highly qualified professionals using sophisticated instruments had been more widely publicized and their results taken note of, then these claims would never have received the widespread credence that they have.”
Officials with Wyatt Archaeological Research remain unfazed in the face of such criticism.
“The site … is actually something that you can look at. Not some made up story that no one is quite able to reach but something that is really there,” said president Richard Rives. “It is a ‘boat-shaped object’ composed of material containing organic carbon, which is what is found in petrified wood. …
“While there is more research that needs to be done at the site, there is a substantial amount of evidence that would indicate that the Wyatt site is not a natural object. …
“Today, everyone wants to tell us how to think. We, at Wyatt Archaeological Research, do not do that. We just present the evidence that we have and let each individual make his own decision.”
Patterson in New Zealand believes many would be less critical if only the location were different.
“If that had been found on Mt. Ararat, [the critics would be] jumping up and down for joy.”
Plus, he says, there have been hoaxes involving Mt. Ararat itself.
“There’s evidence that an expedition would take wood up Mt. Ararat, and then ‘find’ it the next year.
“We’ve got to be very careful. That’s why we’re telling people in advance so we can’t just go out in the backyard and ‘dig something up.’”
In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible speaks of Noah and the ark, and Jesus Christ and the apostles Paul and Peter all make reference to Noah’s flood as an actual historical event.
‘Noah’s Ark’ by Pennsylvania artist Edward Hicks, 1846
According to the book of Genesis, Noah was a righteous man who was instructed by God to construct a large vessel to hold his family and many species of animals, as a massive deluge was coming to purify the world which had become corrupt.
Genesis 6:5 states: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Noah was told by God to take aboard seven pairs of each of the “clean” animals – that is to say, those permissible to eat – and two each of the “unclean” variety. (Gen. 7:2)
Though the Bible says it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, it also mentions “the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.”
The ark then “rested” upon the mountains of Ararat, but it was still months before Noah and his family – his wife, his three sons and the sons’ wives – were able to leave the ark and begin replenishing the world.
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