Biblical Paleoarcheology

Did the Ark land on the Kagizman Mountain Range?

Article #23
The search for Noah’s Ark has inspired many unsuccessful expeditions since the 1960’s. Mount Ararat in Turkey has been the main focus, because of numerous reported sightings over 150 years. Ron Wyatt generated a great deal of publicity in the 80’s for a formation 15 miles south of Mt. Ararat where he claimed to have found wood and bolts from the ark.(1) In 1987 and 1988, John Baumgardner did extensive geophysical investigations at the site and concluded that it was a natural formation and that Wyatt had fabricated the evidence.(2) In 2009, John Morris, who had led over a dozen expedition in search of Noah’s ark, publicly retired from field work. In 2019, Timothy Clarey, also with ICR, announced that they had probably been searching in the wrong place and that the Kagizman Range was the most likely location for the Ark.(3) These changes may indicate a shift from needing to find the Ark itself to finding the general area where the Ark landed.

Genesis 8:4 says that the Ark rested on “the mountains of Ararat”, but Ararat was not strongly identified until the time of the Assyrians. Ararat is another spelling of Urartu, which was a kingdom to the north of Assyria. At times, it stretched from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers almost to the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and Caucasus Mountains. Although the Kingdom of Urartu, or the Kingdom of Van, did not solidify until the time of the Assyrians, the same people always lived there, as far as we know.(4) Of the six possibilities for the landing place of the Ark, only Mount Ararat, Mount Cudi, and the Kagizman Range can be included in this region of Urartu or Ararat, and Mt. Ararat has been excluded because it is a recent volcano.

Relying upon his expertise in geology, Timothy Clarey explains that the Kagizman Range was formed “close to the end of the Cretaceous” period, placing it around day 150 of the Flood, according to creationist geology.(5) Be sure to check out his short video and article.(3) We also know, according to Genesis 8:4, that the Ark landed on the “mountains of Ararat” 150 days after the Flood began. Several of the peaks are over 10,000 feet above sea level. Not only is Kagizman the best choice according to the Bible, tradition, and geology, it also has the support of archeology and genetics. Some of the oldest remains and people groups come from this region.

The Ark location must answer the questions that secular archeology struggles to explain.

  • Where did the people come from who developed civilization in the Fertile Crescent?
  • Why did they start there (in the Fertile Crescent) and not somewhere else?
  • Why are the oldest skeletons in the Near East located far to the north, in the Caucasus region?
  • Why did farming begin in China so shortly after it developed in the Fertile Crescent?
  • Why is so much human genetics linked to the Near East?
  • Why did early settlements areas move east and west from the mountains of Ararat?

The answers that elude secular scholars are found in the Bible. I believe that the Bible leads us to one of the tall mountain crests of the Kagizman Range for the beginning of our post-Flood history. As shown on the map above, the tallest mountains are only a few miles away from the sources of rivers that lead all the way to the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. This would explain how people had early access to both the Upper Euphrates as well as the Zagros Mountains and Iranian plateau. They followed the rivers through the mountains both east and west.

Where did the eight people from the Ark live when they set foot on dry land and started their families? They could have lived on the mountain for a short time. A number of hamlets exist in the high mountains, so we know that life there is possible. Tools and food were in the Ark, so it was not necessary to plant crops at first.

Agri, a city of 100,000 inhabitants, at 5,350 feet altitude, is located 20 miles south of the mountain top (where the tributaries intersect on the map). The average monthly temperature varies between 13 and 70 degrees. The town of Kagizman, located 10 miles north of the crest, at an altitude of 4000 feet, has a population of 18,000 inhabitants. Both of these lower elevations would have been acceptable locations for the first years, as the four men explored the world around them for a more permanent home and their wives prepared the next generation.

If we can agree that the crest of the Kagizman Mountain Range is the most likely landing place for the Ark, then we can start looking at the paths our ancestors would have taken down the mountain to the Fertile Crescent and to Babel.

  • What did they do with the animals?
  • Did they follow the rivers?
  • Are early settlements found along these rivers?
  • Did the population grow quickly enough to account for historical events in a Biblical timescale?
  • What are the migration routes that link the Near East with the rest of the world?
  • Do DNA studies confirm a recent ancestry from a small group of people in the Near East?
  • Can languages and nations be explained by a supernatural division of people at Babel?

Does it help our faith to have answers to these questions?

I believe so.

References
(1) Special Report: Amazing “Ark” Exposé | Answers in Genesis
(2) Letter from John Baumgardner regarding Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat (tentmaker.org)
(3) The Ark Landed West of Mt. Ararat | The Institute for Creation Research (icr.org)
(4) Urartu – Wikipedia
(5) Carved in Stone by Timothy Clarey (2020)

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