Ex-colleague: Noah’s Ark discovery a hoax
That 4,800-year-old straw looks remarkably fresh!
A former colleague of the expedition claiming to have discovered an intact Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat has decried the “discovery” as a hoax. He offers damning testimony.
Earlier this week, members of a team of “evangelical archaeologists” claimed to have discovered Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey. While the idea of a single boat carrying two (or seven) of every species of animal on earth for 14 months (40 days and nights of rain, but then months waiting for water to subside) is hard enough to believe, we and many others found it even more difficult to suspend disbelief long enough to think it true that a 4,800-year-old boat with fresh straw in it had been discovered on a mountainside. Others agreed.
The team insisted they’d known of the ark since 2008. As Fox News reports,
Yeung Wing-Cheung, from the Noah’s Ark Ministries International research team that made the discovery, said: “It’s not 100 percent that it is Noah’s Ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it.”
During the press conference, team member Panda Lee described visiting the site. “In October 2008, I climbed the mountain with the Turkish team. At an elevation of more than 4,000 meters, I saw a structure built with plank-like timber. Each plank was about 8 inches wide. I could see tenons, proof of ancient construction predating the use of metal nails.”
“We walked about 100 meters to another site. I could see broken wood fragments embedded in a glacier, and some 20 meters long. I surveyed the landscape and found that the wooden structure was permanently covered by ice and volcanic rocks.”
Randall Price was working with that team in 2008. He has a slightly different story to tell.
In a leaked e-mail that had made the rounds on the Web, Price, a longtime ark-hunter who directs the Center for Judaic Studies at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., says that in the summer of 2008, a group of Kurdish laborers, hired by a local guide working with the Chinese expedition, removed several large wooden beams from an old structure near the Black Sea, then hauled them to a cave near the peak of Ararat, long thought by believers to have been the spot where Noah’s Ark washed up.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the same email contained even more damning testimony, and linked directly to a copy of the email which Price confirmed to the CS Monitor that he had written:
I was the archaeologist with the Chinese expedition in the summer of 2008 and was given photos of what they now are reporting to be the inside of the Ark. I and my partners invested $100,000 in this expedition (described below) which they have retained, despite their promise and our requests to return it, since it was not used for the expedition. The information given below is my opinion based on what I have seen and heard (from others who claim to have been eyewitnesses or know the exact details).
To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake. The photos were reputed to have been taken off site near the Black Sea, but the film footage the Chinese now have was shot on location on Mt. Ararat. In the late summer of 2008 ten Kurdish workers hired by Parasut, the guide used by the Chinese, are said to have planted large wood beams taken from an old structure in the Black Sea area (where the photos were originally taken) at the Mt. Ararat site. In the winter of 2008 a Chinese climber taken by Parasut’s men to the site saw the wood, but couldn’t get inside because of the severe weather conditions. During the summer of 2009 more wood was planted inside a cave at the site. The Chinese team went in the late summer of 2009 (I was there at the time and knew about the hoax) and was shown the cave with the wood and made their film. As I said, I have the photos of the inside of the so-called Ark (that show cobwebs in the corners of rafters – something just not possible in these conditions) and our Kurdish partner in Dogubabyazit (the village at the foot of Mt. Ararat) has all of the facts about the location, the men who planted the wood, and even the truck that transported it.
A colleague booted and now jealous that his old teammates found the Ark instead of him? Or an honest whistleblower? If the latter, why did he wait until the team made its announcement? Why let donors continue to waste money on what he knew to be a hoax?
This wouldn’t be the first Ark hoax to capture the imaginations of followers of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam).
In 2006, for example, a national security analyst reported a “new and significant development” in the quest for the ark: a high-resolution satellite image of the northwest corner of Mount Ararat, where ark hunters had long been intrigued by a large, ice-submerged “anomaly” whose proportions seemed to match almost perfectly the Bible’s description of Noah’s Ark.
In 1993, CBS aired a documentary hailing the discovery of Noah’s Ark, also on Ararat. It turned out that “The Incredible Discovery of Noah’s Ark” was predicated largely on evidence provided by an actor who later acknowledged having made the whole thing up.
And in a story with strong parallels to the latest hoax, a French explorer named Fernand Navarra claimed to have found a wooden beam from the ark on Ararat in 1955. Navarra’s guide, however, later said the explorer had hauled the 5-foot-long plank up the mountain with him.
One of the most well-known “ark discoveries” is that made by Ron Wyatt in 1987. The Turkish government made the area a national park, and a website extolling the “genuine ark” still exists on the web. Unlike this latest “discovery”, Wyatt’s claims to have “high-tech metal alloy fittings” made of aluminum and titanium. Yes, that certainly convinces me Wyatt found something crafted by Bronze Age builders . . .