Biblical Paleoarcheology

Where Did the Ark Land?

Article #21

Civilization began in the Near East, in the Fertile Crescent. This is the point that I have been making so far. Everyone agrees with this. Many would place Neanderthals and scattered human fossils earlier in time, but these remains represent migrating groups and not civilization. Let’s not debate so-called pre-civilization fossils at this time, and just understand that their placement in history is tenuous. Civilization, on the other hand, is well-documented by site excavations, stratigraphy, cemeteries, agriculture, animal husbandry, pottery, monumental construction, inscriptions, and many exciting scientific disciplines that have arisen lately. We know a great deal about the origins of civilization, much of it from recent discoveries.

It is worth noting that my methodology is to begin with what is most certain and then proceed to the theoretical. Science is based on skepticism and the ability to wisely weigh the evidence and accept or reject theories. Archeology allows us to work with concrete artifacts and advance theories about the people who used them. Artifacts are certain, while interpretations and theories can always be questioned. With that in mind, we can proceed.

Christians love to find artifacts that prove their faith. Sometimes they are too quick to interpret an artifact as proof. Leonard Woolley claimed that he had found evidence of Noah’s flood in excavations at Ur, but it was only a river that flooded. Many people cite the ziggurat at Babylon, called Etemenanki, as the tower of Babel, but it was built at least seven centuries after the time of Babel. Ron Wyatt claimed to have discovered Noah’s ark near Mount Ararat, but it was later shown to be only a rock formation. No one has found Noah’s Ark, and many locations for the Ark are still under discussion. More important than finding the actual Ark may be identifying the location of the mountain range.

At least six prime locations for the Ark have support today. These are shown on the map above, between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea at the top and the Persian Gulf at the bottom. The Caucasus Mountains are between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The Zagros Mountains run from Mt. Ararat southeast into Iran. The Fertile Crescent is indicated in a blue outline. Noah’s children would have migrated from the Ark to Eridu, the most probable location of Babel, within the first century after the Flood. What is the most likely route from the Ark to Babel?

Four of the six sites are based on local traditions. Mount Ararat (Agri Dagh) is the traditional landing site according to the Armenians. Armenians claim to be the oldest nation, as the same people have lived there for millennia. The land of Armenia was formerly known as the kingdom of Urartu. Many sighting and expeditions have centered on Mt. Ararat, but without any unquestionable evidence to date. Most ark-hunters today understand that Mount Ararat was really created after the Flood by volcanic activity and therefore could not be the landing place of Noah’s Ark.

Mount Cudi, or Cudi Dagh, is the location named in the Koran. (Cudi is pronounced “Judi”). The archeologist David Rohl supports this view, but he also denies a global flood, which makes his statements contradictory. A local flood would not have risen to 7000 feet above sea level. Unlike Mt. Ararat, Mt. Cudi has not had ark sightings or discoveries. Rohl’s only argument is that the traditions for Mt. Cudi are older than the traditions for Mt. Ararat. Even the Armenian tradition is supposed to have supported Mt. Cudi before it later supported Mt. Ararat. It’s location within the Fertile Crescent makes it interesting enough that I want to examine it more closely in my next blog article.

Mount Nisir is mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh as the landing place of the Ark, which makes it perhaps the oldest recorded location. No later tradition supported this site. A formation was examined in 1985 by Fasold, Wyatt, and Baumgartner, but the evidence for the ark is questionable, so this remains an unlikely choice.

Mount Suleiman is supported by Dr. Bob Cornuke of Texas. In 2006, fourteen men, including Josh McDowell and Frank Turek, climbed this mountain in Iran, on the southern edge of the Caspian Sea, as part of a certain BASE Institute. The mountain is over 15,000 feet high. They were investigating a rumor concerning a 19th century British explorer and stories about King Solomon having visited the mountain. Nothing of consequence was found.

Dr. Russell Humphreys wrote an article in 2011 in which he suggested Zard Kuh, a mountain in the Southern Zagros Mountains of Iran. He merely reasons that only a generation transpired between the first base camp settlement and the city of Babel in Sumer (Shinar), so they must have been close together. Although his migration path from the Zagros Mountains to Sumer is highly probable, he underestimates population growth and ignores the hundreds of settlements that existed before Babel. The solution for the Ark and Babel must agree with archeology.

I believe that the best choice was advanced in 2019 by the Institute for Creation Research’s Column Project, evaluated by geologist Timothy Clarey. According to Clarey, the Ark landed in the “Mountains of Ararat”, as the Bible says, but 50 miles west of the volcano Mt. Ararat itself. He places the Ark on the Kagizman Range. This is my personal choice for reasons that I will elaborate in my blog two weeks from now.

Should we be disappointed that no one has located the Ark? Honestly, wood does not last for 4000 years, and the chance for it to become petrified is low. On the other hand, archeology can show us how people migrated in the earliest days of civilization. How did they get from the Ark to the Fertile Crescent and to Babel? To me, this is much more exciting and more evidential than searching for wood remains from the Ark. So let’s match archeology to the Bible and see which of the six locations fits the best. To be continued.

Reference Links
After Discovering 2,000-Year-Old Remains Of Noah’s Ark, Scientists Have All The Answers (ninjajournalist.com) (2019) a newsy overview
A Debate – The Site of Noah’s Ark: At Uzengili (Nisir) (creationism.org) (1995) supports Nisir.
Ark location – creation.com (2011) Dr. Humphreys supports Zard Kuh
Caution about ‘Ark’ discovery – creation.com (2006) skeptical about Mt. Suleiman
MOUNT SULEIMAN, KING SOLOMON, AND NOAH’S ARK | Life and Land (2013) skeptical about Mt. Suleiman
j16_2_59-61.pdf (creation.com) (2002) arguments for and against Mt. Cudi
j16_2_58-59.pdf (creation.com) (2002) arguments against Mt. Cudi and for Mt. Ararat
The Ark Landed West of Mt. Ararat | The Institute for Creation Research (icr.org) (2019) support for Kagizman Range

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