More than a year and a half since Christian explorers trumpeted their alleged discovery of Noah’s Ark atop Mount Ararat in Turkey, a war of words is escalating among fellow believers who call the claim an intentional deception that will disparage an actual find of the biblical vessel.
In this photo from Noah’s Ark Ministries International, an explorer is purported to be investigating a wooden structure on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey that it says may be the remnant of Noah’s Ark mentioned in the Bible.
“Every false report undermines the potential of a true discovery by bolstering the critical view that Noah’s Ark is a myth and therefore cannot be found,” says a new report issued by the Virginia-based World of the Bible Ministries.
“Every false report further diminishes the potential of a true discovery by constantly exciting the public consciousness with a sensational claim that fails to deliver. The ‘cry-wolf syndrome’ then takes effect in society so that no one really cares even when the real thing is finally found.”
In April 2009, WND reported that Chinese and Turkish explorers with Noah’s Ark Ministries International, or NAMI, said they were “99.9 percent sure” they found the remnants of the legendary biblical vessel high up on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.
The 15-member team said it recovered wooden specimens from a structure at an altitude of 13,000 feet and that carbon dating suggested it was 4,800 years old. Several compartments, some with wooden beams, were said to be inside and could have been used to house animals.
Some video has been posted on YouTube and can be seen here:
Within a day, some seasoned archaeologists who made numerous expeditions to Mount Ararat threw cold water on the claim.
Now, after further investigation on Mount Ararat, Randall Price, a Judaic studies expert at Liberty University, and geologist Don Patton have issued an in-depth critique on the matter, standing firm in their contention the evidence shown to international news media was actually material transported from the northeastern Turkish town of Trabzon near the Black Sea, and transplanted atop Ararat as part of a movie production about Noah’s Ark.
Kurdish guide Ahmet Ertugral, also known as Parasut (Parachute) for his trademark mustache.
The report places much of the blame for the scheme on Kurdish guide and former Price colleague Ahmet Ertugrul, nicknamed “Parasut” (pronounced parachute), for his large, parachute-like mustache:
According to one source some of the wood came from an old barn, however, other sources said the large wood came from an old ferryboat … The wood was carried by large trucks to 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) and then by horses to 3,700 meters (12,100 feet). Then each worker carried two pieces of wood until all of it was at the site. They started by putting the wood on the ground to make floors. Then they made sides and finally a roof. There is a ladder in one cave that leads down to the wood. The workers took ash and rubbed it on the wood to make it look old.
They piled up snow against the wood frame they built and let the rain, ice, and snow cover everything inside and out. Rocks and other things fell on the roof and one caved in.
Wood seen in this crevasse was transported to Mount Ararat from another region of Turkey, alleges archaeologist Randall Price and Don Patton.
The government may or may not have known about the transportation of the wood and the construction of the structures, but, as our source said, the government is only interested in furthering tourism since the economy is so poor, so they probably wouldn’t care or say even if they knew. The workers said they worked on the inside for one month from around November 1 to December.
Parasut took many old things to put into places in the structure like stone bowls, seeds, and a rock. The piece of old wood that the Chinese gave to be tested was just a single piece that came from Alamut, a 3,500-year-old castle located 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the city of Esfahan, Iran. Parasut also put straw and other things on the floors. When the people heard on the news that Parasut claimed to have found the ark many of them laughed, but others said they would keep quiet because it would be good to bring in the tourists. …
They were told they were building a “movie set” and that the movie people would arrive to film what they made. According to them, Parasut himself never actually went to the site, but continually asked them for details to be sure everything was looking good.
They only came forth to tell their story once they learned that the movie makers were claiming their “movie set” was the real thing! They did not want to be considered “a liar like Parasut.” They did not want to be thought of as “bad people.” However, because they live in close proximity to Parasut and continue to work on Mt. Ararat, they have asked that their identities not be revealed. This is a dangerous part of the world and there is a lot of money at stake and Parasut is not someone to be trifled with.
Noah’s Ark Ministries International is firing back at the report, stating, “We are very disappointed and enraged by some Christian scholars, who used partially factual, and plausible-yet-false materials, piled into an article looking like a scholarly report, with bold titles accusing NAMI of making a fraud. It severely maligned and hurt this organization and the exploration-team members. …
“Most of the materials in it are based on creating or speculating a story line, by connecting the fragments of facts publicized by this organization at different situations, and put into a made-up beginning and end, and compiled into a document that misleads readers.”
Is this a beam from Noah’s Ark? Explorers with Noah’s Ark Ministries International have released this photo of a wooden structure it says it has documented at an altitude of 13,000 feet on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.
This photo of what is alleged to be wood inside a possible site of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat reveals apparent cobwebs, which archaeologists and geologists are questioning.
Among the items in dispute is a photo of a “fossilized wood sample.” NAMI says Price’s suggestion it was a fraud is “absurd,” explaining, “Anyone with some knowledge of photography knows that the color of the objects in the picture can be influenced by the light setting and photographic techniques. If we were trying to commit a fraud, as they say, why would we display the actual object?”
This sample is alleged to have been doctored to appear as if it were wood, according to U.S. archaeologist Randall Price.
Price responded, “It is not possible to produce in a photo such complete saturation in a brown color from an almost pure white original object. There is no question that the photo was presented in this manner so as to look like wood rather than rock in their publication, and therefore is an intentional deception.”
Photographs from 2008 showing cobwebs, straw and clumps of vegetation. Archaeologist Randall Price and geologist Don Patton cast doubt on the claims of the Kurdish guide “Parasut” since the cave in which they were found is subject to annual flooding and refreezing in an active, moving glacier.
NAMI also complained about a photo showing Patton holding a piece of wood claimed to be from the NAMI site.
American geologist Don Patton holds a piece of wood he claims has been manipulated to deceive people into thinking Noah’s Ark has been found.
“We have no way to verify the origin of the wood, but we have reason to suspect that the wood is an intentionally created false evidence for the purpose of maligning us,” NAMI said.
In a dispute of biblical proportions such as this, money often becomes a factor, and Price and Patton are complaining the publicity over NAMI’s alleged discovery is having a ripple effect on churches, Christian schools and Creation ministries in the U.S. and China: “We have letters from church pastors, seminary presidents, and missionaries in China who are opposed to NAMI raising large sums of money from Christians through their film and testimony without providing the evidence necessary to prove their claim.”
Price actually thinks Noah’s Ark might be at another location he’s been personally investigating at an elevation of 16,800 feet on Mount Ararat.
“A ground-penetrating radar survey has successfully located a large man-made structure we believe to be wood at the 16,800 elevation,” said the Price and Patton report. “We mention this in closing simply to remove the frequent accusation that we are jealous of the NAMI team for having made a discovery. Our motive has only been to set the record straight with respect to the private knowledge we possessed concerning Parasut and the NAMI research so that the Christian faith may not be tarnished as the result of a fraudulent scheme.”
Hoaxes are nothing new when it comes to searches for Noah’s Ark.
Among the best-known scams is one from 1993, when California actor
George Jammal deliberately duped CBS Television and the filmmakers of “The Incredible Discovery of Noah’s Ark” into believing he saw and touched the vessel on Mount Ararat.
The Press-Telegram of Long Beach, Calif., was among those documenting a Noah’s Ark hoax perpetrated by Southern California actor George Jammal in 1993. Jammal admitted cooking wood from railroad tracks in sauce to create “sacred wood” he claimed he had retrieved from the biblical vessel on Mount Ararat.
According to the Internet Movie Database,
Jammal “made the hoax as blatant as possible, making up persons with
names such as ‘the Armenian friend, Mr. Allis Buls Hitian’ or ‘my dear
Polish companion Vladimir Sobitchsky,’ and cooking a piece of pine in
sauce to present it as ‘a piece of the ark’ – and yet his story was
presented as the real thing and shown as the key testimony in the
video; after some time, humiliating its makers, Jammal publicly
revealed the details of his hoax.”
Meanwhile, there are those who suspect Noah’s Ark is not on Mount Ararat itself, but on another peak some 15 miles away, where a boat-shaped object sits on a mountain in Dogubayazit, Turkey.
Many believe this might be Noah’s Ark, already found on a mountain near Mount Ararat (courtesy: wyattmuseum.com).
It was first
photographed in 1959 by a Turkish air-force pilot on a NATO mapping mission, and gained worldwide attention after its image was published in a 1960 issue of Life Magazine. Ark-hunter Richard Rives of Tennessee-based Wyatt Archaeological Research summarized evidence for the possibility that site could be the resting place of the ship, indicating:
- A boat-shaped object 300 cubits in length can plainly be seen in the mountains of Ararat or Urartu. Visible, equable, and symmetrical features can be examined. Subsurface interface radar scans reveal buried features which, once again, are equable and symmetrical.
- Much of the material found at the site is fossilized and contains organic carbon, demonstrating that it was once associated with living matter. The presence of organic carbon has been verified by multiple scientific laboratories. Plant and animal fibers have also been found within the object and have been documented by way of forensic testing.
- In addition, metal artifacts found at the site are composed of a combination of metals such as modern day sophisticated alloys – once again, verified by metallurgical laboratories.
His museum’s website features on-location photographs and charts, making its case with
physical evidence including radar scans of bulkheads on the alleged vessel, deck timber and iron rivets and large “drogue” stones, which may have acted as types of
However, there’s been no shortage of critics
from both scientific and Christian circles who think the Dogubayazit site is
Lorence Collins, a retired geology professor
from California State University, Northridge, joined the late David Fasold, a
one-time proponent of that site, in writing a scientific summary claiming the location is
“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.”
In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible speaks of Noah’s Ark, and
Jesus Christ and the apostles Paul and Peter all make reference to Noah’s flood
as an actual historical event.
According to Genesis, Noah was a righteous man who was instructed by God to
construct a large vessel to hold his family and many kinds 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 (Genesis 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.”
Genesis 8:4 does not say the ark rested on “Mount Ararat,” but rather the “mountains of Ararat,” and 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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