Searches for Noah's Ark

Mount Ararat (39°42′N, 44°17′E), satellite image – a stratovolcano, 5,137 metres (16,854 ft) above sea level, prominence 3,611 metres (11,847 ft), believed to have erupted within the last 10,000 years. The main peak is at the centre of the image.

Searches for Noah's Ark, sometimes referred to as arkeology,[1] have been made from at least the time of Eusebius (c.275–339 CE) to the present day. Despite many expeditions, no scientific evidence of the ark has been found.[2][3] The practice is regarded as pseudoscience and pseudoarchaeology.[4][5][6]


Modern organized searches for the ark tend to originate in American evangelical circles. According to Larry Eskridge,

An interesting phenomenon that has arisen within twentieth-century conservative American evangelism – the widespread conviction that the ancient Ark of Noah is embedded in ice high atop Mount Ararat, waiting to be found. It is a story that has combined earnest faith with the lure of adventure, questionable evidence with startling claims. The hunt for the ark, like evangelism itself, is a complex blend of the rational and the supernatural, the modern and the premodern. While it acknowledges a debt to pure faith in a literal reading of the Scriptures and centuries of legend, the conviction that the Ark literally lies on Ararat is a recent one, backed by a largely twentieth-century canon of evidence that includes stories of shadowy eyewitnesses, tales of mysterious missing photographs, rumors of atheistic conspiracy, and pieces of questionable "ark wood" from the mountain. (...) Moreover, it skirts the domain of pop pseudoscience and the paranormal, making the attempt to find the ark the evangelical equivalent of the search for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. In all these ways, it reveals much about evangelical's distrust of mainstream science and the motivations and modus operandi of the scientific elite.[7]

Ark-seeker Richard Carl Bright considers the search for the ark a religious quest, dependent on God's blessing for its success. Bright is also confident that there is a multinational government conspiracy to hide the "truth" about the ark:

I firmly believe that the governments of Turkey, Russia, and the United States know exactly where the ark sits. They suppress the information, but (...) God is in charge. The structure will be revealed in its time. We climb the mountain and search, hoping it is, in fact, God's time as we climb. Use us, O Lord, is our prayer.[8]


According to Genesis 8:4, the Ark came to rest "on the mountains of Ararat." Early commentators such as Josephus, and authorities quoted by him, Berossus, Hieronymus the Egyptian, Mnaseas, and Nicolaus of Damascus, record the tradition that these "mountains of Ararat" are to be found in the region then known as Armenia, roughly corresponding to Eastern Anatolia.

Syrian tradition of the early centuries CE had a tradition of the ark landing at Mount Judi, where according to Josephus the remains of the ark were still shown in the 1st century CE. The location of the "Place of Descent" (αποβατηριον, i.e., Nakhchivan) described by Josephus was some 100 km to the southeast of the peak now known as Mount Ararat, in what is today Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to Jewish Rabbinic tradition, the Ark was looted in antiquity, the remains being used for idol worship, as related in the Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin by Sennacherib circa 705 – 681 BCE,[9] and as related in the Midrash anthology Yalkut Shimoni by Haman circa 486–465 BCE.[10]

Middle Ages and early modern period

Main article: Mountains of Ararat

Marco Polo (1254–1324) wrote in his book, The Travels of Marco Polo:

In the heart of the Armenian mountain range, the mountain's peak is shaped like a cube (or cup), on which Noah's ark is said to have rested, whence it is called the Mountain of Noah's Ark. It [the mountain] is so broad and long that it takes more than two days to go around it. On the summit the snow lies so deep all the year round that no one can ever climb it; this snow never entirely melts, but new snow is for ever falling on the old, so that the level rises.

Sir Walter Raleigh, writing c. 1616, made a laborious argument taking up several whole chapters of his History of the World, that the term "Mountains of Ararat" originally encompassed all the adjoining and taller ranges of Asia, and that Noah's Ark could only have landed in the Orient – especially since Armenia is not technically east of the plain of Shinar (or Mesopotamia), but more northwest.

19th century

The structure claimed to be Noah's Ark in Durupınar site, Agri, Turkey

Modern searches (1949 to present)

Searches since the mid-20th century have been largely supported by evangelical, millenarian churches along with local farmers and sustained by ongoing popular interest, faith-based magazines and lecture tours, videos, occasional television specials and more recently the Internet which have all been stated by historians and archaeologist to be red herrings.

Unsubstantiated claims

See also


  1. Rickard, Bob; Michell, John (2000). "Arkeology". Unexplained Phenomena: A Rough Guide Special. London: Rough Guides. pp. 179–183. ISBN 1858285895.
  2. 1 2 Mayell, Hillary (27 April 2004). "Noah's Ark Found? Turkey Expedition Planned for Summer". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  3. Noah's Ark Quest Dead in Water – National Geographic
  4. Fagan, Brian M.; Beck, Charlotte (1996). The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195076184. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  5. Cline, Eric H. (2009). Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199741077. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  6. Feder, Kenneth L. (2010). Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 031337919X. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  7. Eskridge, Larry (1999). "A Sign for an Unbelieving Age: Evangelicals and the Search for Noah's Ark". In David N. Livingstone. Evangelicals and Science in Historical Perspective. D. G. Hart, Mark A. Noll. Oxford UP. ISBN 9780195353969.
  8. Bright, Richard Carl (2001). "Do the Locals Know?". Quest for Discovery: One Man's Epic Search for Noah's Ark. New Leaf. ISBN 9781614582045.
  9. English translation of Sanhedrin folio 96a
  10. ילקוט שמעוני פרשת בשלח, רמז רנ"ו
  11. Dr Friedrich Parrott
  12. James Bryce
  13. British Prophetic Messenger and the Turkish Commissioners
  14. Russia: Suspicion On The Mountain, Time Magazine, 25 April 1949
  15. James Irwin, from Arlington National Cemetery website
  16. bogus ark
  17. Wyatt Archeological Research
  18. McGivern expedition cancelled
  19. Has Noah's Ark Been Found?
  20. 1 2 "Noah's Ark? For Real". 2006-06-16.
  21. Texans Part Of Possible Noah's Ark Discovery
  22. Dialup and broadband video footage from BASE
  23. Ten Logical Reasons for The Ark of Noah Being in Iran
  26. NoahsArkSearch - YouTube
  27. Kelly, Cathal (2010-04-27). "Noah's Ark found, researchers claim". Toronto Star. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  28. Tigay, Chanan (29 April 2010). "Ex-Colleague: Expedition Faked Noah's Ark Find". AOL News. AOL. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  30. Chinese explorers stand by claim of Noah's Ark find in Turkey, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 May 2010
  31. Weather hits search for Noah's Ark man Donald Mackenzie, BBC News, accessed 24 September 2013.
  32. 1 2 Ancient High Technology – Evidence of Noah's Flood?
  33. April's Fools
  35. Evangelicals and Science in Historical Perspective, edited by David N. Livingstone et al., Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 250
  36. TalkOrigins "Navarra's Wood"
  37. The Ararat Report, ed. Bill Crouse, February 1990 (, retrieved June 2014)
  38. CH505.4: Hagopian and the Ark
  39. Hagopian, however, claims that he visited during drought period and that only the mountain's peak was covered in snow
  40. Noah's Ark Search – Mount Ararat
  41. Mount Ararat Photo Album
  42. Jammal, George. "Hoaxing The Hoaxers: or, The Incredible (phony) Discovery of Noah's Ark". Atheist Alliance International. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2012.

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 39°42′N 44°17′E / 39.700°N 44.283°E / 39.700; 44.283

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