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A new, high-resolution digital image of what has become known as the “Ararat Anomaly” is reigniting interest in the hunt for Noah’s Ark.
Satellite image of ‘Ararat Anomaly,’ taken by DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird Satellite in 2003 and now made public for the first time (courtesy: DigitalGlobe)
The location of the anomaly on the northwest corner of Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey has been under investigation from afar by ark hunters for years, but it has remained unexplored, with the government of Turkey not granting any scientific expedition permission to explore on site.
But the detail revealed by the new photo from DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird satellite has a man at the helm of the probe excited once again.
“I’ve got new found optimism … as far as my continuing push to have the intelligence community declassify some of the more definitive-type imagery,” Porcher Taylor, an associate professor in paralegal studies at the University of Richmond, told Space.com.
For more than three decades, Taylor has been a national security analyst, and has also served as a senior associate for five years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
“I’m calling this my satellite archaeology project,” Taylor said.
Space.com reports the project has been combining the photographic resources of QuickBird with GeoEye’s Ikonos spacecraft, Canada’s Radarsat 1, as well as declassified aerial and satellite images snapped by U.S. intelligence agencies.
While it’s quite possible the item of interest could simply be a natural ridge of rock, snow and ice, Taylor says there’s also a chance it could be something manmade.
“I had no preconceived notions or agendas when I began this in 1993 as to what I was looking for,” he said. “I maintain that if it is the remains of something manmade and potentially nautical, then it’s potentially something of biblical proportions.”
The anomaly remains ensconced in glacial ice at an altitude of 15,300 feet, and Taylor says the photos suggest its length-to-width ratio is close to 6:1, as indicated in the Book of Genesis.
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 new image was actually taken in 2003, but has never been revealed to the public until now.
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)
The late Ron Wyatt, whose Tennessee-based foundation, Wyatt Archaeological Research, purported the ark is located at Dogubayazit, Turkey, some 12-15 miles from Ararat, noting 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.
A flood of doubt
However, there’s been no shortage of critics from both scientific and Christian circles who think the Dogubayazit 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.”
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.”
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 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.