Has the real Noah’s Ark spoken of in the Bible truly been found?

At least two seasoned archaeologists who have made numerous expeditions to Mount Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark are throwing cold water on this week’s claim the Old Testament vessel has finally been discovered, saying it’s a hoax involving wood hauled in from the Black Sea region.

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.

“To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake,” said Randall Price, director of Judaic Studies at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

“This is not Noah’s Ark,” adds Bob Cornuke of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute. “This is a fake. It’s a fraud and it’s of the highest caliber according to what I can assess from the evidence and talking to eyewitnesses and people from Turkey.”

WND reported yesterday that Chinese and Turkish explorers with Noah’s Ark Ministries International 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 claims 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.

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Several compartments, some with wooden beams, are said to be inside and could have been used to house animals, the group indicated.

“The search team has made the greatest discovery in history,” declared Prof. Oktay Belli, an archaeologist at Istanbul University. “This
finding is very important and the greatest up to now.”

Some video has been posted on YouTube and can be seen here:

But Dr. Price, who is spearheading efforts to explore two competing locations for Noah’s Ark, sent an e-mail dispatch to supporters with his personal take on the alleged find, asserting the structure is a hoax perpetrated by a Kurdish guide and his partners to extort money from Chinese evangelical Christians.

“I was the archaeologist with the Chinese expedition in the summer of 2008 and was given photos of what they now are reporting to be the inside of the Ark,” he wrote in his message dated April 26.

The photos were reputed to have been taken off site near the Black Sea, but the film footage the Chinese now have was shot on location on Mt. Ararat. In the late summer of 2008 ten Kurdish workers hired by Parasut, the guide used by the Chinese, are said to have planted large wood beams taken from an old structure in the Black Sea area (where the photos were originally taken) at the Mt. Ararat site. In the winter of 2008 a Chinese climber taken by Parasut’s men to the site saw the wood, but couldn’t get inside because of the severe weather conditions.

During the summer of 2009 more wood was planted inside a cave at the site. The Chinese team went in the late summer of 2009 (I was there at the time and knew about the hoax) and was shown the cave with the wood and made their film. As I said, I have the photos of the inside of the so-called Ark (that show cobwebs in the corners of rafters – something just not possible in these conditions) and our Kurdish partner in Dogubayazit (the village at the foot of Mt. Ararat) has all of the facts about the location, the men who planted the wood, and even the truck that transported it.

To my knowledge, the Chinese took no professional archaeologist or geologist who could verify or document the wood or the structure.

In the wake of the e-mail’s circulation online, a subsequent statement was issued tonight, which stated, “While Dr. Price does not retract his statements, he wants the public to understand that these only represent his opinion as informed by his experience with the Kurdish guide and the Chinese and other sources in eastern Turkey.”

It went on to say Price “urges the Chinese-Turkish team to make their collected samples from the structure available to scientists and scholars for comparative analysis.While he has reservations about the nature and procedure of the Chinese-Turkish expedition and the artifacts related to it, he believes that a decision concerning this matter must wait until independent examinations of the site and the structure can be made and published.”

Another ark-hunter, Richard Rives of Tennessee-based Wyatt Archaeological Research, said while he’s skeptical of the new alleged find, he’s not completely ruling it out it just yet.

“Just because Randall Price says something doesn’t make it so,” Rives told WND. “We don’t know what it is until we get a little more information. It is something of interest. I can’t wait to find out to find out the real truth.”

Rives noted one thing that seemed strange was the wood reportedly discovered appeared in excellent condition.

“The wood’s in too good a shape to be that old,” he said.

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.

Regarding some of the photos published online, Cornuke told American Family Radio, “There are cobwebs up in the beams. You’re not going to have wood at
14,000 feet in a glacier to have cobwebs in it. It’s impossible to have
that situation.”

This photo of what is alleged to be wood inside a possible site of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat reveals apparent cobwebs, which archaeologist Bob Cornuke says would be impossible in a glacier at high altitude (photo: Noah’s Ark Ministries International).

He agrees with Price about wood being transported up Ararat, saying “a lot of the beams that you see were actually imported into the mountain probably in 2008.”

Cornell archaeologist Peter Ian Kuniholm, who has focused on Turkey for decades, called the alleged discovery a “crock.”

“There’s not enough H2O in the world to get an ark that high up a mountain,” Kuniholm said.

Archaeologist Paul Zimansky of Stony Brook University in New York said he’d welcome learning more about the site. “It would be nice to know what they have found – if there’s a scientific publication in the offing,” he told MSNBC.com. “Press releases are not the way archaeology advances.”

He added: “It’s not inconceivable to me that they’ve found pieces of wood at that level, but that doesn’t mean they’ve found an ark.”

If the latest proclaimed find of Noah’s Ark does indeed turn out to be false, it certainly would not be the first time phony claims have been floated.

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.

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.”

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 railroad tracks in sauce to create “sacred wood” he claimed he had retrieved from the biblical vessel on Mount Ararat.

With attention refocused on the vessel mentioned in the Book of Genesis, Rives says there are several key points about a well-known alternate site he has explored some 15 miles from Mount Ararat, featuring an object that resembles a boat on a smaller mountain in Dogubayazit, Turkey.

Many believe this might be Noah’s Ark, already found on a mountain next to 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. Rives 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.”

Today’s interactive WND poll focused on the purported discovery, and 32 percent of respondents said, “I don’t know if this is the Ark, but I have no doubt Noah and his flood are reality, as all civilizations tell a similar story.”

Another 26 percent indicated, “It may be that in this increasingly faithless age, God is unearthing some bits of faith-enhancing evidence.”

Some reader comments about the issue include:

  • “To be realistic, it was a boat made of wood. It was abandoned, almost certainly exposed to the elements, before the rise of Egypt [some] 5,000 years ago or more. If that was the case, it would almost certainly have rotted away to nothing, probably before Christ.”
  • “I don’t need tangible evidence that Noah’s Ark existed. I have 100% faith in God and the Bible. If God said it happened, it happened. God does not lie.”
  • “I’m a dummy, so somebody has to tell me how kangaroos and Tasmanian devils made it to the Ark and back at just the right time.”

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 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 (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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