The hunt for Noah’s Ark has led dozens of expeditions to the Ararat region of eastern Turkey — and even into Iran. Have any of these missions yielded concrete evidence that the ark still exists? Some say ‘yes,’ some say ‘maybe’ — most say ‘no!’
In 2006, a group of Texas adventurers announced that they had found the remains of Noah’s Ark on the slopes of a rugged mountain in Iran. The fourteen-man expedition, led by explorer and speaker Dr. Bob Cornuke, returned with video and photographic evidence of a black object 400 feet long and 13,120 feet above sea level, as well as samples of what he described as ‘wooden beams’.
The Web report by Brannon Howse reads, “The arkish object is about 400 feet long and consists of rocks that look remarkably like blackened wood beams while other rock in the area is distinctively brown. And one visible piece is “cut” at a 90-degree angle. Even more intriguing, some of the wood-like rocks were tested just this week and actually proved to be petrified wood, and it is noteworthy that Scripture recounts Noah sealed his ark with pitch—a decidedly black substance. Upon being cut open, one of these “rocks” also divulged a marine fossil that could have only originated undersea.”
But Dr. Tas Walker of the Creation Institute urged caution regarding the discovery. “If the black object is the petrified remains of the wooden Ark, how was it petrified? To petrify, the timber would need to be surrounded by a mineral-rich solution and absorb it into its pore structure. It is difficult to conceive of how that could happen for a timber structure sitting on the side of the mountain. If the Ark still existed high in a mountain somewhere, it is more likely its timber would be exposed to rain and snow which would not contain the minerals to petrify it. Superficially, the ‘beams’ appear more likely to be rock, hardened at depth and uplifted toward the end of the Flood.”
Another recent claim said that satellite pictures may have pinpointed the vessel’s final resting place. The object in the photo is located on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey, the area where the Bible says Noah survived a monstrous flood that covered the earth.
Porcher Taylor has spent 13 years on a quest to find out exactly what that satellite picture mystery object might be. Taylor is an Assistant. Professor at the University of Richmond, in Virginia. He teaches National Security Law. He told CBN News, “I see, for a 1015 feet in length, a ship-like object that has almost unbroken symmetry.”
That’s bigger than the generally-accepted Biblical description. But Taylor says the object has the same length-to-width ratio as the Ark described in Genesis.
Over the years, many have searched this area for evidence of Noah’s voyage. Bruce Feiler is the author of Walking The Bible . Feiler said, “Czar Nicholas sent an expedition in the early 20th century. U2 spy planes were [camera] shooting this mountain in the 1950s, even Jimmy Carter when he was on his way to Iran was said to be looking down to see if he could see Noah’s Ark.”
Though believers faithfully view the Bible’s account as fact, skeptics say someone will have to examine the actual object. That satellite images alone aren’t proof – and proof is what the investigators want. Professor Taylor said, “Currently I’m working with a naval architecture team and they’re trying to determine whether 1,000 foot long ship, a wooden boat this size, could actually float.”
Taylor hopes he can one day lead the expedition that provides the world with proof that Noah and his ‘two by two’ voyage was indeed real.
Discovered by a local Kurdish farmer following an earthquake in May, 1948, the world’s attention was drawn to a streamlined boat-shape by the publication of an aerial photograph, taken by a Turkish Air Force pilot, in Australian Pix magazine on July 9, 1960. It was re-published by LIFE
magazine on September 5, 1960. Another earthquake in December, 1978 is said to have enhanced the relief between the boat-shaped formation and the surrounding terrain, although erosion has since modified it.
But according to Andrew Snelling of Answers in Genesis, this particular boat-shaped rock formation is far from unique. The Turkish Air Force released another photograph several years ago showing three similar boat-shapes in the mudflow material on the footslopes of nearby Lesser Mount Ararat. Snelling points out that “if it wasn’t for the fact that this particular boat-shape is the approximate length of the biblical Noah’s Ark then little attention would have been paid to it, even though it lies within the region the Bible describes as the mountains of Ararat ( Genesis 8:4).
This particular formation is much wider than the Ark, but proponents of the site say that this is because the outside walls have been ‘splayed out’ by the weight of mud. The site is properly known as the Durupinar site, named after the Turkish Army Captain who first saw the boat-shape on the aerial photograph, and who was involved in the first expedition in 1960. More recently some have called it the Akyayla site, after the region in which it is located.
The site has been vigorously promoted by Ron Wyatt, an anesthesiologist from Madison, Tennessee, and a self-styled ‘biblical archaeologist’, since 1977, when he first visited Turkey and began investigations. Over the years, particularly in the mid-1980s, Wyatt repeatedly tried to interest other people in the site, such as former U.S. astronaut Colonel James Irwin, and ICR scientist Dr. John Morris. Neither of these men was convinced after on-site inspections.
According to Snelling, in 1985 Wyatt was joined by former merchant marine officer David Fasold and geophysicist Dr. John Baumgardner. Both men have since parted company with Wyatt, Fasold disagreeing with him over details, and Baumgardner, while originally being cautiously enthusiastic, is now adamant the site does not contain Noah’s Ark.
Australian Dr. Allen Roberts first visited the site in 1990 and thereafter initiated the organization Ark Search in order to raise funds to work with Wyatt on an archaeological dig. Their efforts came to world media attention when they were kidnapped (with three others) and held captive by Kurdish guerrillas for three weeks in September, 1991. Both Wyatt and Roberts continue to actively promote the site as the probable remains of Noah’s Ark.
Photos of the site show walls that seem to define the outline of the boat shape. Wyatt claims that this is evidence of a former ship’s ribs, presumably the timbers that formed part of the original keel structure and hull (‘a few beams protruding out’).
But Snelling explains, “These walls, in places standing 20-30 feet (69 meters) sheer above the immediately surrounding terrain, certainly give the impression of the outer hull of a boat. However, that is where all similarity ends. These walls are simply hardened mud, containing boulders of the various local rock types. They contain no petrified wood holding in the mud in any way reminiscent of the outer planking of a wooden hulled vessel.”
So the search continues. Will we ever find Noah’s actual ark? God only knows.