– by Lourieke Haller

Because Noah’s Ark is of such great importance to Christianity, people have searched for it over the centuries, from the time of Eusebius – a Christian historian and father of church history (AD 263-339) – to this day. Where early church fathers and scientists of the 18th century believed in a global flood and the ark, we find ourselves in an era where not only scientists, but even Christians dismiss it as a myth.

Can’t dispute facts
Would it not silence unbelievers forever if reliable evidence of the existence of the ark where to be found? This might explain why people have been trying to find the ark for so many centuries. Are the remnants of the ark perhaps lying in the Ararat Mountains on the Durupinar site, the most credible of the five locations that have been pointed out in the past as the final resting place of Noah’s ark?

A boat-shaped formation in the mountains
During the Cold War in 1957, military aerial photographs of eastern Turkey, taken to locate Soviet missile bases, revealed a strange boat-shaped formation. The so-called “Ararat anomaly”, 24 km south of the volcanic Mount Ararat and 3 km north of Iran’s border, was observed in the mountains about 1920 m above sea level. 

Further exploration
Life Magazine published a story in 1960 about the American expedition that visited the site. The members of the team concluded that there was nothing there of archaeological interest, but Ron Wyatt, former nurse anaesthetist and adventurer, read the article and was convinced that the site needed further exploration.

What was the true length of the ark?
Ron noted the Biblical account of the location of the ark in Genesis 8:4 as the mountains of Ararat. Urartu, the Biblical Ararat, is a region in eastern Turkey. This location was certainly feasible, but the one fact that really captured Ron’s interest was that the length given in the Life Magazine article – 500 feet (152.4 m). Most people were looking for something of 437 feet (133.2 m), based on the Biblical dimensions given for Noah’s ark (300 cubits), but Ron knew that Acts 7:22 says Moses was learned in the wisdom of the Egyptians. Moses, the author of the Genesis account of the flood, would have been familiar with the cubit of the Egyptians, which is longer than the Hebrew cubit. The Encyclopaedia Britannica stated: “The Egyptian cubit is generally recognised as having been the most ubiquitous universal standard of linear measurement in the very ancient world. The royal cubit = 20.62 inches or 524 mm.”

The boat shape is exactly the length of the ark as indicated in the Bible in Genesis, and the other dimensions also are correct for it to be the ark

Help from an earthquake
Wyatt eventually arrived in Turkey 17 years after the article in Life Magazine was published. The boat-shaped object still looked like it did in 1960. He needed to obtain permission for excavations to investigate the sides of the boat-shaped formation, but learnt at the end of 1978 that there was an earthquake in the area, and in August 1979 he was overwhelmed by what he saw. The earthquake had dropped the soil around the object. This gave him the opportunity for further investigation. He could see what looked to him like the remains of decayed rib timbers along the now exposed sides.

Evidence of a shipwreck
Ron carefully combed the area looking for evidence that it was a shipwreck. He saw what he believed were petrified structures of an ancient ship, whose deck had collapsed. He saw what looked like deck joists and deck support timbers. Of particular interest was that the ship seemed to be impaled on a large outcropping of limestone. He concluded that the ship had slid into the rock from another location.

The fossilised timber that was excavated. The pitch that oozed out, is clearly visible

Did the boat land somewhere else?
Wyatt noted that the wreck was located in a place where a lahar (volcanic mud flow) had previously occurred. He decided to examine the area above the boat-shaped formation and followed the pathway of the lahar up the mountainside to where it started, about 2.4 km further up the mountain. On the ridge he found an ancient cairn, which depicted the boat shape, the mountain range, and 8 faces within the boat shape. For him it was a clear reference to Noah’s ark and its 8 survivors.

Ancient volcano that erupted
One of the taller mountain peaks on the cairn was no longer to be seen. Wyatt concluded that it was an ancient volcano that erupted long after Noah’s ark had landed and that the lahar swept the ship down the mountainside to where it got impaled on the outcropping. The ship was covered by the muddy mixture and, over time, water seeped in and allowed the remains to be fossilised by the process of mineral replacement.

The Durupinar site where the boat-shaped formation is located is 3 km north of Iran’s border.

An interesting hypothesis
Ron examined the area and found a large section (36.5 x 12 m) of what appeared to be fossilised wood in the ground. He believed this to be the bottom of the ship. His hypothesis is that the ark sank into the muddy earth, which kept it upright. When the earth dried out, the keel of the ship that sank into the mud was firmly embedded. Many years later when the mud flow carried the ship down the mountain, the main body of the ship was ripped loose – only this section remained in the original location.

2 stone towers
Kent Hovind, a well-known Young Earth Creationist and founder of Creation Science Evangelism, also describes the foundations of two stone towers that were discovered at this landing site, where people of antiquity probably came to look at the ark from the towers. He also mentions that the village of Arzep, formerly known as the Village of Eight, is an ancient Armenian name. Today the Turks call it Siglaksulu. 

Metal lead to new evidence
In 1984, Wyatt returned with a metal detector to determine if there was metal present at the boat formation. All along the length of the boat he picked up metal readings, but found no readings outside the boat-shaped formation. Some of these metal samples were sent to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, America, where the geophysicist, Dr. John Baumgardner, performed the analysis. The results sparked his interest and he returned to the site with Wyatt to scan it with three different types of metal detectors. They placed rocks at each metal reading and attached tape to demarcate the lines. The completed shape resembled that of a huge ship, the length and width of Noah’s ark as described in the Bible.

Scan readouts indicated a man-made structure and not geological formations

The only remaining question was the depth of the formation
By determining the depth of the hull, they could determine if the boat-shaped object had the cargo capacity of the Biblical ark. They used heavy duty sub surface radar equipment for further investigation. The initial scans were impressive. It revealed an internal structure consisting of bulkheads and rooms, but to ensure that they interpreted the information correctly, they took the scan printouts to the Geophysical Survey Systems (GSS) company in New Hampshire, USA, the developer and manufacturer of radar systems. The late sales and marketing vice president of GSS, Joe Rosetta, unequivocally states on Wyatt’s video that the data on the printouts occur at such precise intervals that it cannot represent natural geological formations. He confirmed that the data represented a man-made structure. The scans pointed to a ship that, although damaged and collapsed, is indicative of a highly intelligent and modern design.

A fossilised timber
In late 1986, the governor of the area decided to recognise the formation as Noah’s ark. During the ceremony in June 1987, the governor asked Wyatt to demonstrate the radar on site to journalists and military officials. When Wyatt showed them a reading indicating something that looked like a timber, the governor instructed a soldier to dig it up – what emerged was a section of fossilised hand-wrought timber. Sectioning showed it to be laminated wood – five layers of timber glued together with pitch. The pitch clearly oozed from the end.

The picture on the cairn depicting the ark and eight people

A sign of God’s grace
Whatever your conclusion about the location of the ark; the flood and the ark is a sign to mankind that God punishes sin and that mankind needed to be redeemed. In Jesus Christ, God has provided the sacrifice so that we may be reconciled to Him. Every person has a choice to make: Do I accept God’s salvation plan – like Noah – or do I live as if there will never be a Judgement Day?

Matthew 24: 37, 39, 42
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” – Matthew 24: 37, 39, 42.

Article source: JOY! Magazine (April 2019)

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