Recently, an ABR website visitor wrote the following question:
I am very keen to know where exactly Noah's ark was discovered. Can you elaborate more on the findings you conducted within the last couple of years? Please, I need more information.
ABR's Rick Lanser responds.
Thank you for your interest in the ministry of ABR, and for turning to us for help with this intriguing question. I have been studying this topic for over a decade, and think I can give you some reliable information.
To date, the Ark has not yet been found. Several locations for it have been proposed: Mount Ararat in northeastern Turkey; Mount Cudi (Judi) in southeastern Turkey; the so-called Durupinar site near Mount Ararat; and several mountains in northern Iran, including Damavand, Sabalon, and Suleiman.
The three latter mountains have no eyewitness attestation or historical documentation I know of, are geographically outside of the "mountains of Arartu" area (Genesis 8:4), and have revealed nothing of interest in aerial or satellite studies. They are thus discounted by nearly all researchers. Additional information about these sites can be found at http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2006/07/Noahs-Ark-in-Iran.aspx and http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/02/Did-the-BASE-Institute-Discover-Noahs-Ark-in-Iran.aspx .
The Durupinar site advocated primarily by the late Ron Wyatt and his followers has been examined by qualified geologists and identified as being an unusual but still natural geological feature, within which no wood remains have been located. Details are available at http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v14/i4/report.asp.
Of the remaining two locations, Mount Cudi has its advocates because there are historical records that appear to point to it; nothing solid has turned up on Mount Ararat; and it is within the Biblical area of Ararat/Urartu (although at the extreme southwestern limit). ABR staff member Gordon Franz and independent researcher Bill Crouse are among those favoring this site (their article is found in the online issue of Bible and Spade magazine, http://www.biblearchaeology.org/publications/BAS19_4.pdf).
However, from my own research (given in detail at http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/02/An-Armenian-Perspective-on-Noahs-Ark.aspx ), it appears all of the historical evidence for this location ultimately traces back to the Babylonian astrologer/historian Berossus, whose siting of the Ark in the Gordyaean Mountains (where Mount Cudi is) was based upon the local Babylonian flood myth centered around Xisuthros. The only field evidence so far adduced in support of it is some bitumen or charcoal, which may be from a number of possible sources. No clear eyewitness accounts of an Ark on this rather low (2089 meters - approximately 7000 feet) mountain directly to the north of Mesopotamia are known. Since Genesis 8:4-5 tells us that it took about 2 1/2 months for the tops of the mountains to become visible AFTER the Ark had come to rest, and there are much taller mountains than Mount Cudi in the region (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mountains_in_Turkey), it is difficult to reconcile this Scripture with the Mount Cudi location. Geological problems also exist for Mount Cudi, indicating it did not exist at the time of the Flood (see http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/08/An-Alternative-Interpretation-of-Benders-Wood.aspx ).
The last serious candidate for the location of the Ark is Mount Ararat. More than 30 alleged eyewitnesses claim to have seen the Ark on this mountain, far more than any other site, and many from the 20th century. It is located well within the biblical "mountains of Ararat" area. Historical documentation for this site is not as strong as for Mount Cudi, but this has been attributed to the early Armenian church father Gregory the Illuminator purging almost all records tracing back to Armenia's pagan era. The earliest extant historical documentation of the Ark being on Ararat (called Masis by the Armenians) traces back to the 11th century. It is alleged by some that the general geology of the area precludes Mount Ararat having existed at the time of the Flood, but this remains unproven due to the political difficulty in getting direct access to Ararat itself to do field geology. The last detailed geology work actually done on the mountain seems to be that of Clifford Burdick in the 1960s; he concluded there were evidences that the core of Ararat indicated greater age than the volcanic rocks extruded later, but his findings are controversial and cannot be given too much weight.
In my estimation, the best candidate for the location of the Ark is Mount Ararat. But if so, where on Ararat? There is a great deal of coherence between a number of the independent testimonies of alleged eyewitnesses, giving us to believe that the Ark is located in a stationary glacier within a small canyon, surrounded by a "horseshoe" of small peaks, around the 14,000-15,000 foot elevation, above the Ahora Gorge on the northeast side of Mount Ararat. The reports indicate the glacier cover only melts out sufficiently to partly expose the Ark once in 20 years or so. Efforts continue to this day, using satellite technology as well as climbing teams, to locate the elusive Ark.
That is where things stand at this time. We invite you to pray that God will remove the political and spiritual hindrances and reveal the Ark to the world soon!
In His service,
Recommended Resources for Further Study
Read more at these ABR links:
Gordon Franz returns from Mount Cudi Expedition
An Armenian Perspective on the Search for Noah's Ark
Did the BASE Institute Discover Noah’s Ark in Iran?
Noah's Ark in Iran?
Mount Cudi: The True Mountain of Noah's Ark in the Fall 2006 Issue of Bible and Spade: View the PDF
The Case for Ararat in the Fall 2006 Issue of Bible and Spade: View the PDF
Mount Ararat Archaeological Survey published in the Summer 2008 issue of Bible and Spade.
Other articles pertaining to Noah's Ark and the Genesis Flood
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