Biblical Paleoarcheology

Going East from the Ark

Article #25
When Timothy Clarey identified the Kagizman Mountain Range as the probable landing place for the Ark, it opened new doors of opportunity for research (1). That was 2019. Although Mt. Ararat would have been a good central location for migration, Kagizman is even better. The crest is only a few miles from both the Euphrates River and the Aras River. By the western route, Noah and his children could have reached the Fertile Crescent in as few as ten days. Now, we will examine the eastern descent by way of the Aras River, as shown by the yellow highlighting on the map below.

I’m sure that most people are as ignorant of this region of the world as I was when I began studying it recently. Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are three ancient countries between Russia to the north and Turkey and Iran to the south (see map below). These three countries south of the Greater Caucasus Mountains are referred to as Transcaucasia. The region of Russia just north of the Caucasus Mountains is referred to as Ciscaucasia. Armenia and Azerbaijan were recently in the news because they ended a long war over disputed land just last December. If you compare the maps, you will notice that the Aras River defines the southern boundaries of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The Aras River is 666 miles long, but only 400 miles from Kagizman to the Caspian Sea. If some of the children of Noah floated down the Aras River at 5 miles an hour for 10 hours a day, they would have reached the Caspian Sea in 8 days. This journey could have happened years after the Flood, but it could also have happened within the first year. Along the shore, near the delta of the Aras River, we find some of the oldest human remains. We also find the genetic origins for mankind. I had no idea. The more I learn about the Caucasus region, the more obvious it becomes that the Ark must have been at this farthest northern location, close to a river, to explain the extensive early populations in the Caucasus.

For the remainder of this article, I will try to summarize some of the key sites and migration routes. Mountains blocked most movement.

The Caucasus Mountains blocked travel except for narrow passages along the Seas. Populations eventually settled in the valleys of Georgia and Azerbaijan,  south of the Caucasus. Some of these people wandered north of the mountains and became nomads in the steppe region further to the north. The first migration, however, seems to have been south to Lake Urmia, the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, and the Zagros Mountains, as detailed in articles 5 through 9.

Gobustan
6,000 prehistoric rock carvings can be found in the state reserve at Gobustan, making it obviously very early. The site is located at the northern edge of the Aras delta. Carving were made over a period of time, and they help us understand the local people. People are shown hunting and dancing. Local animals included bulls, horses, deer, goats, wolves, tigers, foxes, jackals, and elephants. Of particular interest are depictions of large reed boats. The boats were obviously used to explore the Caspian Sea, since the carvings are along its shoreline.

Similar rock drawings have been found in the wadis in Egypt between the Red Sea and the Nile, as I explained in article 9. Notice how the shape of the boats and the artistic style are very close, even though they are separated by a journey of over 4000 miles. This adds credence to the theory that Ham and his descendants migrated from Gobustan to Egypt by way of the Zagros Mountains and Mesopotamia. It also explains why the Bible says that they came to Babel from the East (see article 6).

The Kura-Araz Culture,
or the Early Transcaucasian Culture, enveloped a vast area eventually extending into Iran, Turkey, and Syria. The culture began on the Ararat Plain, just 40 miles from Kagizman. This is another confirmation for the Ark landing on the Kagizman Mountain Range. The Kura-Araz culture then expanded along the Aras and Kura Rivers, for which it was named. Shengavit, on the Ararat Plain (see top map), is the type site that best defines the culture.

Obsidian mines
The Kars and Yaglica mines are located 25 and 15 miles from Kagizman respectively. The Erzerum mine is 100 miles east of Kagizman, but following the Aras River upstream. The Bayezid and Tendurek mines are on a tributary of the Aras River. The Suphan Dag and Nemrut Dag mines are north of Lake Van and more easily reached by the western descent. The mining of resources to replace tools would have been one of the first priorities after the Flood. It’s interesting to see how close the mines were to the river descent routes.

Dmanisi
Homo Georgicus was found at Dmanisi, while Neanderthal remains have been discovered nearby.

Ciscaucasia
As the Transcaucasia population grew, it spread north of the Caucasus Mountains around the northern shore of the Black Sea and to Crimea. About 3000 megaliths, dolmens, and stone labyrinths reflect pre-history building activity. Also, DNA places this area as the origin of the G and J haplogroups that expanded into Europe, Asia, Arabia, and Egypt. Chechnya is one small circaucasian region that we have heard about that is very proud of its ancient heritage.

Darband Cave
The earliest cave occupation in Iran, located in mountains along a river that flows into the Caspian Sea. Dated to the Middle Pleistocene (after the Flood). The cave contains stone artifacts and the remains of large numbers of cave bear and brown bear. There is no evidence of permanent habitation.

The Belt Cave
Six skeletons were found in two caves, the Hotu and Kamarband Caves . It cannot be determined if the skulls are modern human, Neanderthal, or in between, but their DNA belongs to Haplogroup J. They could have arrived by ship from Gobustan. According to the lowest level, they ate seals, which would not have been destroyed by the Flood. In the next level, they ate vole or field mice. They had dogs and later hunted walrus and deer.

Dalma Tepe
Mostly pottery that showed a migrating people that extended through the Zagros Mountains. (See article #6)

Shanidar Cave
Located 70 miles west of Lake Urmia, accessible through the Kel-I Shin or Gawre Shinke pass. Ten Neanderthal skeletons were found in a strata containing Mousterian-style stone tools.

Conclusion
While the western descent from Kagizman led to the Fertile Crescent and farming, the eastern descent leads us to cave men, hunters, and explorers. Shem and Japheth are more likely to have traveled west, while Ham may have traveled east. Exciting research is being done in genetics to better understand how the world was populated.

Next
How fast did the population of eight people grow to “fill the earth”? What was the population at the time of Babel? How did Neanderthals fit in and when did they live? Where did the animals go when they left the Ark? How could people have found animals to hunt if there weren’t very many?

References
(1) The Ark Landed West of Mt. Ararat | The Institute for Creation Research (icr.org) 
All sites mentioned should have sufficient general information available in Wikipedia by searching on the name.

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