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Archaeologist Responds: Do Prehistoric Sites on Mount Ararat Represent Noah's Ark?

Archaeologist discusses the association between recently discovered prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat and the account of Noah’s Ark in the Torah (Old Testament) and Quran.

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Miami, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/18/2013 -- Beginning in 2010, Dr. Joel Klenck, Harvard University educated archaeologist and president of the archaeological contract firm PRC, Inc., surveyed prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat in eastern Anatolia and analyzed their material assemblages. These sites are associated with the Biblical and Quranic accounts of Noah’s Ark by several religious organizations. Here, the archaeologist discusses if the prehistoric sites represent the remains of the legendary Noah’s Ark.

Klenck states, “In essence, the association between the prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat and Noah’s Ark involves two questions. The first question is whether the archaeological features on Mount Ararat correlate with aspects of the various accounts of Noah’s Ark in the Torah (Old Testament), Quran, and other sightings in history? My answer to this question: Yes. The monumental wood structure and its artifacts correlate nicely with Ark stories and comprise a three-story structure, made of mostly cypress wood, with an array of botanical remains including wild grains and legumes. The site possesses an archaeological assemblage of great antiquity with architectural features exhibiting coats of pitch, walls angling outward, mortise-and-tenon features, cross-beams at all levels of construction, with animal dung in the interior of the edifice. The origins of the site are from the Late Epipaleolithic (13,100 to 9,600 B.C.) / Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (9,600-8,500 B.C.) transition or the change from the Stone Age to the beginning of agricultural communities. Modern science had determined that this period associates with a transition from the Younger Dryas, a cool and dry period, to a very wet ‘pluvial’ period where sea levels increased throughout the world, several land masses such as Doggerland were covered with water, and deserts such as the Sahara and Atacama exhibited rivers and lakes.”

The archaeologist comments: “As most secular scholars believe the Torah was written between the twelfth and fifth centuries B.C. and the Quran during the seventh century, historians from these periods cannot be maligned for believing the monumental wood structure on Mount Ararat was a maritime construction. Having been inside the edifice, it is understandable that past visitors believed this site to be an ancient barge. Mortise-and-tenon features, cypress wood, angled walls, cross beams at different elevations, and coats of pitch or bitumen are familiar traits in early maritime constructions.”

The archaeologist notes, “The second question, is more expansive: Did Noah’s Ark actually occur—with the worldwide flood covering the highest mountains, doves and a raven, pairs of every animal, and only Noah and his family surviving a global deluge?”

Here, Klenck is more guarded: “This is a very incendiary question. If I answer ‘yes’, nearly every secular scientist and most of my colleagues will be upset because they believe the legend of Noah’s Ark has no historical efficacy and will be predisposed to ignore these archaeological sites. If I answer ‘no’, then many adherents of the world’s three major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will be upset because they believe in the veracity of Noah’s Ark. My answer: Render to science what is science’s and to G-d what is G-d’s. The archaeological artifacts and features from the prehistoric sites on Ararat should be conserved and analyzed according to the best scientific methodologies because of their preservation, antiquity, and importance to understanding the Epipaleolithic / Neolithic transition—or change from the Stone Age to the advent of farming. Conversely, religious communities should be apprised of the scientific analyses from the sites because these prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat are important to the beliefs of many peoples. The scientific community should be careful to analyze the remains on Mount Ararat as free from prejudice as possible.”

The archaeologist concludes, “The prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat fulfill a dual role: they comprise a search for scientific knowledge and a foundation for religious beliefs. The two communities—of science and faith—should work together to maximize the understanding of these wonderful archaeological sites.”

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Founded in 2007, PRC, Inc. provides comprehensive worldwide archaeological services including surveys, excavations, and research.