Noah's Ark sightings
|Rescued from the|
|Twelve of the clean kind|
“”In terms of archaeology, no indisputable evidence for a worldwide flood has yet been uncovered by archaeologists. Similarly, no remains of Noah's Ark have yet been found by a credible professional archaeologist. And yet, claims are made almost every year that another "expedition" has found the Ark.
|—Eric H. Cline, Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction|
Noah's Ark sightings occur when people think they have finally found Noah's Ark.
People who want to take the Bible literally might be advised that the Bible does not say that the Ark landed on Mount Ararat. It says "in the mountains of Ararat". That is, in the mountain region which was called "Ararat" in Biblical times. It doesn't designate a specific mountain. And, anyway, what we call today "Mount Ararat" only acquired that name after the Bible was written. So if an ark is found on Mount Ararat, either that proves that the Bible was wrong, or somebody else built an ark.
In 2010 a Chinese team claimed to have found the Ark on the upper elevations of Mount Ararat. The highly scientifically literate news network Fox News grabbed the story and ran with it immediately. There was muted excitement among creationists, but the finding was declared a hoax in September 2010.
Some creationists claim that the Turkish government has officially recognized the structure near Dogubayazit as Noah's Ark. It has made the area a national park and is building a visitor center and a highway to it, adding additional credibility to the claim that Noah's Ark has been found.
- None of the tourists or government officials have bothered to take pictures of the site in question.
- If this is true, then why hasn't the Turkish government even drawn a map of the site?
- Governments have political reasons to recognize "sites", such as income from tourism, that may not be related to its being genuine.
- The Turkish government isn't an archaeological authority; in fact, the Turkish government did no independent investigation of the site.
Even CreationWiki doesn't accept this claim.
1916: Haji Yearam
Many creationists claim that one local Armenian, Haji Yearam, was present as a boy when his father led three atheistic scientists to the location of Noah's Ark in the mid-1850s. They were there to disprove the existence of the Ark and were enraged to discover that they were wrong. They took an oath never to reveal to the world what they had found, and threatened to kill Yearam and his father if they ever breathed a word about this to anyone. Nevertheless, after moving to the US the aging Yearam spilled the beans to an Adventist pastor shortly before his death. Supposedly this pastor later saw a newspaper article indicating that one of the vile atheist scientists had on his deathbed told the same story as Yearam. This whole story is patently ridiculous, for reasons that should be obvious. No one has ever been able to trace even the newspaper article supposedly seen by the Adventist pastor, much less rediscover the Ark itself.
Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration (BASE) Institute
Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology Eric H. Cline, author of Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (published by Oxford University Press and winner of the 2011 Biblical Archaeology Society's "Best Popular Book on Archaeology"), relates the story of a particularly cranky Ark sighting;
A prime example [of a pseudoarcheologist] is Bob Cornuke, founder of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration (BASE) Institute in Colorado. Cornuke is a self-described former police investigator and SWAT team member turned biblical investigator, international explorer, and best-selling author.
In 2006 Cornuke led an expedition searching for Noah's Ark. Some media reports announced that Cornuke's team had discovered boat-shaped rocks at an altitude of 13,000 feet on Mont Suleiman in Iran's Elburz mountain range. Cornuke said the rocks look "uncannily like wood... We have had [cut] thin sections of the rock made, and we can see [wood] cell structures."
But peer review by professional geologists quickly debunked these findings. Kevin Pickering, geologist at University College London who specializes in sedimentary rocks, said, "The photos appear to show iron-stained sedimentary rocks, probably thin beds of silicified sandstones and shales, which were most likely laid down in a marine environment a long time ago."
Despite the grandstanding by Cornuke, there was no archaeological - or geological - evidence that the Ark had been located.
Noah's Ark was pseudoarchaeologist nut Ron Wyatt's first "find". On noticing a formation shaped like a boat, Wyatt declared it to be the landing site of Noah's Ark. There are a number of problems with Wyatt's claims:
- There are multiple boat-shaped formations. Either these are natural formations or Noah had an armada of arks.
- The boat-shaped formation is consistent with a natural geological formation known as a syncline.
- The dimensions of the formation are inconsistent with the biblical account, particularly the breadth of the ship.
- The Drogue stones (heavy stones hung from ships to stablise them) allegedly found in the area are made of stone native to the area, and could not have originated in Mesopotamia, the area postulated as the origin of the ark.
- Iron located at the site has been analyzed and found to be inconsistent with the iron that would have been produced during Noah's time period, the presence of impurities suggesting a natural origin.
Setting these reasons aside, the sheer lack of evidence for a global flood makes it highly improbable that some guy named Noah bobbed around in a boat while God smote all life on Earth. Also, one would expect Answers in Genesis to leap eagerly at such a discovery, yet they provide a pretty detailed dismissal of his findings.
- Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (2009), ISBN 0-19-534263-1, page 74.
- Wyatt, R. E.,1989. Discovered - Noah's Ark. Nashville, TN: World Bible Society.
- Collins, L. G. & Fasold, D. F., 1996. Bogus "Noah's Ark" from Turkey exposed as a common geologic structure. Journal of Geological Education 44(4): 439-444. 
- Dr. Eric Cline Wins 2011 Biblical Archaeology Society Publication Award - Best Popular Book on Archaeology
- Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (2009), ISBN 0-19-534263-1, page 72-73.
- Wyatt Museum article documenting the evidence of Wyatt's discovery of Noah's Ark
- Answers in Genesis: Noah's Armada
- Talk Origins article discussing the syncline formation
- Analysis of the drogue stones The stones are more commonly interpreted as being of pagan origin, with similar examples being found in Armenia
- Answers in Genesis on the discovery of the ark