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Stefanus
30th April 2010, 23:03
Noah's Ark Found in Turkey?

Noah's Ark Found on Mount Ararat in Turkey by Chinese and Turkish Evangelical Archaeologists

A group Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers lay claim to its discovery. The group of evangelical archaeologists ruled out an established human settlement on the grounds none have ever been found above 11,000ft in the vicinity, Yeung said.

Local Turkish officials will ask the central government in Ankara to apply for UNESCO World Heritage status so the site can be protected while a major archaeological dig is conducted.

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Near the top of Mount Ararat (seen from Armenia in a file photo) in Turkey,
explorers claim to have found Noah's ark.

A team of evangelical Christian explorers claim they've found the remains of Noah's ark beneath snow and volcanic debris on Turkey's Mount Ararat.
But some archaeologists and historians are taking the latest claim that Noah's ark has been found about as seriously as they have past ones—which is to say not very.


"I don't know of any expedition that ever went looking for the ark and didn't find it," said Paul Zimansky, an archaeologist specializing in the Middle East at Stony Brook University in New York State.

Turkish and Chinese explorers from a group called Noah's Ark Ministries International made the latest discovery claim Monday in Hong Kong, where the group is based.
"It's not 100 percent that it is Noah's ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it," Yeung Wing-cheung, a filmmaker accompanying the explorers, told The Daily Mail.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjpeQU7GIZc

Noah's Ark Location in Turkey a Secret

The team claims to have found in 2007 and 2008 seven large wooden compartments buried at 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level, near the peak of Mount Ararat. They returned to the site with a film crew in October 2009.

Many Christians believe the mountain in Turkey is the final resting place of Noah's ark, which the Bible says protected Noah, his family, and pairs of every animal species on Earth during a divine deluge that wiped out most of humanity.


"The structure is partitioned into different spaces," said Noah's Ark Ministries International team member Man-fai Yuen in a statement. "We believe that the wooden structure we entered is the same structure recorded in historical accounts. ... "

The team says radiocarbon-dated wood taken from the discovery site—whose location they're keeping secret for now—shows the purported ark is about 4,800 years old, which coincides roughly with the time of Noah's flood implied by the Bible.

"Noah's Ark" Wood "Way, Way, Way Too Young"

Skepticism of the new Noah's ark claim extends to at least one scholar who interprets the Bible literally.

Biologist Todd Wood is director of the Center for Origins Research at Bryan College in Tennessee, which pursues biology in a creationist framework.

As a creationist, Wood believes God created Earth and its various life-forms out of nothing roughly 6,000 years ago.

"If you accept a young chronology for the Earth ... then radiocarbon dating has to be reinterpreted," because the method often yields dates much older than 6,000 years, Wood said.

Radiocarbon dating estimates the ages of organic objects by measuring the radioisotope carbon 14, which is known to decay at a set rate over time. The method is generally thought to reach its limit with objects about 60,000 years old. Earth is generally thought to be about four and a half billion years old.

Across the board, radiocarbon dates need to be recalibrated, Wood believes, to reflect shorter time frames.

Given this perceived overestimation in radiocarbon dating, the wood the Noah's Ark Ministries International team found should have a "traditional" radiocarbon date of several tens of thousands of years if the wood is truly 4,800 years old, Wood said.

"I'm really, really skeptical that this could possibly be Noah's Ark," he added. The wood date is "way, way, way too young."

Wood thinks Noah's ark will never be found, because "it would have been prime timber after the flood," he said.

"If you just got off the ark, and there's no trees, what are you going to build your house out of? You've got a huge boat made of wood, so let's use that," he said. "So I think it got torn apart and scavenged for building material basically."

"Noah's Ark" Found in Right Country, on Wrong Mountain?

Another reason scholars are skeptical of the latest Noah's ark discovery claim is that Genesis—the first book of the Bible—never specifies which peak the vessel supposedly landed on in Turkey.

"The whole notion is odd, because the Bible tells you the ark landed somewhere in Urartu,"—an ancient kingdom in eastern Turkey—"but it's only later that people identified Mount Ararat with Urartu," said Jack Sasson, a professor of Jewish and biblical studies at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Stony Brook's Zimansky agreed. "Nobody associated that mountain with the ark" until the tenth century B.C., he said, adding that there's no geologic evidence for a mass flood in Turkey around 4,000 years ago. (See "'Noah's Flood' Not Rooted in Reality, After All?")

The Noah's Ark Ministries International explorers are "playing in a very different ballpark than the rest of us," Zimansky said. "They're playing without any concern for" the archaeological, historical, and geological records.

Better Explanations for "Noah's Ark" Structure?

Even if the Noah's Ark Ministries International team did find a wooden structure or even a boat on Mount Ararat, there are other explanations for what the structure might be.

For example, it could be a shrine constructed by early Christians to commemorate the site where they believed Noah's Ark should be, Zimansky said.

Even in that speculative case, it wouldn't be 4,000 years old. "The Bible hadn't even been written yet," he said.

Bible scholar Sasson said he thinks biblical writers intended the story of Noah's ark to be allegorical, not a true recounting of historical events. By presenting a scenario in which humanity is punished for its wickedness, "they were trying to draw us to the notion of a God who asks us to be acceptable," Sasson said.

UN to Consider "Noah's Ark"?

On its Web site, Noah's Ark Ministries International says the Turkish government plans to apply to the United Nations to put the Noah's ark discovery site on the UNESCO World Heritage list, a designation given to places of special cultural or physical significance.

But the agency hasn't received any official requests from Turkey for "the inscription of 'Noah's ark'" into the list, UNESCO spokesperson Roni Amelan said in an email.

Such a move would take time, Amelan added. "This cannot be done overnight."

Stefanus
30th April 2010, 23:47
Doubt cast on Noah's ark found in Turkey

A group of Chinese and Turkish explorers announced this week they are '99.9 percent' sure of their discovery on Mt. Ararat. While Noah's ark found in Turkey would bolster Bible literalists, an American ark-hunter says the latest discovery could be a hoax.

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This NASA International Space Station file image obtained 28 April, 2004
shows Mount Ararat, the supposed site where Noah's ark ran aground.

A longtime ark-hunter has serious doubts about this week’s announcement that Noah’s ark was found in eastern Turkey.

A Chinese-Turkish team from Noah's Ark Ministries International held a press conference April 25 in Hong Kong to present their findings and say they were “99 percent sure” that pieces of wood found at above 12,000-feet elevation and dated as 4,800 years old were from the biblical Noah’s ark.

Such a finding would provide evidence for a literal interpretation of the Bible and boost the evangelical Christian worldview in a relatively young Earth that was formed in seven days by a wrathful God that punishes the wicked.

But Dr. Randall Price, an evangelical Christian and former member of the Chinese-led team that announced this week’s finding, says the latest purported finding may not withstand closer scrutiny.

"If the world wants to think this is a wonderful discovery, that’s fine. My problem is that, in the end, proper analysis may show this to be a hoax and negatively reflect how gullible Christians can be," he says.'Difficulties with a number of issues'

Dr. Price, who is director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the conservative Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., was the archaeologist on the Chinese-led team in 2008 when this alleged discovery was first made. He says he has “difficulties with a number of issues related to the evidence at hand.”

Price declined to elaborate. However, a leaked email from Price – which he confirms that he wrote – shows that he has reason to believe that a group of local Kurdish men trucked wood up to the mountain and staged an elaborate hoax for the Chinese team.

A group of Kurdish workers “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. … 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,” Price writes in the email.

Price is a longtime searcher himself for the ark. As a member of Noah’s Ark Search LLC, he had gone on a number of expeditions to Mount Ararat.

Price was not the only member to withdraw from the Chinese-led team over questions about their purported finding.

Not good evidence

Dr. John D. Morris, who is president for Dallas’ Institute for Creation Research and has been a consultant to the team since 2005, says he declined an invitation to be a part of this week's press conference in Hong Kong.

“I’m a scientist. I need to have good evidence,” says Dr. Morris. “As of right now, there is not.”Morris, who is also a fundamentalist Christian, led 13 expeditions to Mount Ararat between 1971 and 1990 as he searched for the ark. He has been in contact with the Chinese-led team for the past decade.

He says their finding is inconclusive and calls for more research. Video available on the team's web site shows the team exploring inside a wooden structure embedded in a sort of ice cave. The wooden walls of one compartment are smooth and curved. Morris says it is almost unfathomable that such heavy materials could be hauled up to 12,000 feet and lodged in the mountain ice without a major operation using heavy machinery.

“I think it would be highly unlikely that anybody could carry wood up. I can’t comprehend that. I don’t think there’s fraud involved. But that is a possibility. And only serious scientific work on-site can resolve that,” Morris said in a telephone interview from Dallas.The Noah's Ark Ministries International has no contact information on their web site, and the Monitor was unable to track down team members today for further comment. But in the press conference, they appeared to be aware that skeptics may question the findings.

"We are not saying that we are 100 percent certain that what we found is Noah's Ark. No one has ever seen the ark, no one knows what it looks like," said team member Yeung Wing-cheung. "We are only 99 percent certain that it is Noah's Ark based on historical accounts, including the Bible and local beliefs of the people in the area, as well as carbon dating."Yeung would not reveal the location of the site because he says the team is waiting for the Turkish government to set up an official preservation area to continue their work.

Wood dated 4,800 years old

Morris, Price, and the Chinese-led team are a few of the many who have gone in search of the biblical boat. In the Book of Genesis, God commands Noah to built the massive vessel and bring “every sort [of animal]...male and female ... everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life.” Then a 40-day flood hits.

A 2004 ABC News poll showed that 60 percent of Americans read the story of Noah’s Ark as literally true.

Within that group of believers is a large subsection who believe not in a worldwide flood but rather a regional flood as is mentioned in alternative texts such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. However, a mere regional flood would not send Noah’s ark up 12,000 feet on Mount Ararat.

Yeung told the South China Morning Post that a piece of wood obtained from the site was dated as 4,800 years old by a carbon-dating method in Iran. This matches with the range of years stated in the Bible, suggesting when the vessel was built.

Reinforcing a fundamentalist view

The discovery of Noah’s ark would reinforce a literal interpretation of the Bible, says Claude Mariottini, an Old Testament professor at Northern Baptist Seminary outside Chicago.

“People want to prove the Bible is true. If they can find the ark on Mount Ararat, it proves there was a Noah and a universal flood and it’s all true,” he says.“If God is a God of truth then what the Bible says must be truth. If the story of Noah is not real, then for many people it puts their faith into question,” says Dr. Mariottini, who believes the story is an allegory for how God is sovereign over creation and punishes sin.

The debate over evolution and creationism has increasingly called for hard evidence and empirical proof. And Christians have responded.

“Modern science has challenged the Biblical narrative. For people who want to take the Bible literally, it drives them to look for this empirical evidence,” says Carlos M. N. Eire, a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University, in New Haven, Conn.

“It’s not just about Christians, it’s about human nature,” adds Dr. Eire. “It’s a very deep human instinct to search for truth in whatever you believe in and having physical contact with that.”

Finding the ark 'would not prove anything'

If this is Noah's ark, it's not likely to drastically alter the perspectives of theists or atheists, says Eire. Fundamentalists would remain committed to a literal interpretation of the Bible while non-believers would continue to demand more evidence. Christians believe out of faith, not evidence, says Dr. Morris of the Institute for Creation Research.

“It would not prove anything to me,” says Morris. “My faith is not in Noah’s ark. But it would be an obvious physical confirmation based on what I believe.”

The finding could divide Christians themselves, he adds, and provide fodder for evangelicals who believe that God flooded the entire world and, except Noah's family, killed off all humans because of their evilness. “To recognize that God judges sin and that God will judge their sin is something [some Christians] would just as soon not believe in.”

Previous expeditions have also come back from Mount Ararat with evidence of Noah’s ark. French explorer Fernand Navarra found a five-foot section of the ark that was originally dated at 5,000 years old, though later shown to be only 500 to 750 years old.

“This has happened before,” says Eire. “It will probably keep happening again.”

Stefanus
1st May 2010, 00:06
'We've found Noah's Ark!'... claim evangelical explorers
on mission to snow-capped Ararat
(but British scientists say 'show us your evidence')



As believers in the literal truth of the Bible, they knew it was there.

Even so, the explorers who say they found seven large wooden compartments beneath snow and volcanic debris near the peak of Mount Ararat can be forgiven their excitement.

'It's not 100 per cent that it is Noah's Ark, but we think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it,' said Yeung Wing-cheung, a filmmaker working with the 15-strong team of fundamentalist Christians exploring the Turkish mountain.

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This picture released by the evangelical group claims to show one of the explorers
examining part of a structure which they claim might prove the existence of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat.
There are no external images of the site and the Hong Kong-based group refuse to say precisely where
they made their discovery until the Turkish government designate it an archaeological site

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The snow-capped peak of Mt. Ararat. The discovery is said to have been
made 12,000ft up the mountain which lies in eastern Turkey

They said wood taken from the site, which is more than 13,000ft above sea level, dates to 2,800BC. If it is the ark, the discovery would be the greatest in the history of archaeology and bear out one of the most famous stories in the Bible.

The team of Turks and Chinese researchers from Noah's Ark Ministries International in Hong Kong say they made the discovery on Ararat - the biblical resting place of the ark - in October

At a press conference yesterday to announce the discovery, another team member, Panda Lee, said: 'I saw a structure built with plank-like timber.

'Each plank was about eight inches wide. I could see tenons, proof of ancient construction predating the use of metal nails.'

'We walked about 100 metres to another site. I could see broken wood fragments embedded in a glacier, and some 20 metres long.'

The structure had several compartments, some with wooden beams, the team said.

The wooden walls of one compartment were smooth and curved while the video shown by the explorers revealed doors, staircases and nails.

The team said the wood appeared to be cypress although, according to the Bible, the ark was built from gopher.

The group ruled out identifying the find as a human settlement, saying none had been found so high up in that area. They are keeping the exact location secret.

Four years ago and following a decade of research, U.S. national security analyst Porcher Taylor claimed a satellite image revealed a baffling 'anomaly' on the mountain's north-west corner that he believed to be the remains of the Ark.

But Mike Pitt, a British archaeologist, said the evangelical explorers had yet to produce compelling evidence.

He added: 'If there had been a flood capable of lifting a huge ship 4km up the side of a mountain 4,800 years ago, I think there would be substantial geological evidence for this flood around the world. And there isn't.'

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Nicholas Purcell, a lecturer in ancient history at Oxford University, said the claims were the 'usual nonsense'. He added: 'If floodwaters covered Eurasia 12,000ft deep in 2,800BC, how did the complex societies of Egypt and Mesopotamia, already many centuries old, keep right on regardless?'

According to Genesis, the first book in the Old Testament, Noah was told to build the ark by God, who wanted to flood the world to punish sinners.

The story was widely seen as fact until the 19th century, when scientists began to question the evidence for a worldwide flood.

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This photo, also put out by the evangelical group, is said to show part of a wall inside the
structure found by the explorers. One of the team said: 'It's not 100 per cent that it is
Noah's Ark but we think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it'

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In 2006, U.S. national security analyst Porcher Taylor claimed this satellite image revealed a
baffling 'anomaly' on the mountain's north-west corner that he believed to be the remains of the Ark

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Wooden beams which the explorers said they found at the site. The search for the physical
remains of Noah's Ark has held a fascination for Christians, Jews and Muslims for hundreds
of years. But despite various claims no scientific evidence has ever been found

Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1269165/Noahs-Ark-remains-discovered-mountain-Turkey.html)