Over the last two decades the search for Noah's Ark has received international attention. Dozens of expeditions to the Ararat region of eastern Turkey, mostly by American Christian groups, have led to numerous claims - but no proof.
According to the Bible, Noah's Ark was a large barge constructed of wood and sealed with bitumen. Its overall dimensions were at least 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high with three interior decks. A 'window' appeared to be constructed around the top (Genesis 6:14-16). Incidentally, the overall size of the Ark makes it the largest seagoing vessel known before the 20th century, and its proportions are amazingly similar to the large ocean liners of today.
Artist's conception of Noah's Ark based on biblical information and reported sightings on Mt. Ararat.
The Bible says Noah's boat came to rest on 'the mountains of Ararat' (Genesis 8:4). 'Ararat' probably designated a region (the ancient kingdom of Urartu) and not a specific mountain peak. After Noah and his family left the Ark on the mountain, the boat virtually disappeared from the pages of the Bible. Later Biblical writers never suggested they knew it could still be seen.
The mountain called Ararat today is more like a mountain range with twin peaks. Interestingly, there have been numerous reports throughout history of a large boat on a mountain in this region. Earliest references (beginning in the 3rd century B.C.) suggested it was common knowledge that the Ark could still be viewed on Mount Ararat.
Reports over the past century range from visits to the vessel, to recovery of wooden timber, to aerial photographs. It is generally believed that at least large part of the Ark is intact, not on the highest peak, but somewhere above the 10,000 foot level. Apparently encased in snow and ice for most of the year, only during certain warm summers can the structure be witnessed or accessed. Some have spoken of climbing onto the roof, others say they have walked inside.
In the 1980s, 'ark-eology' was given an air of respectability with the active participation of former NASA astronaut James Irwin in expeditions up the mountain. In addition, Ark investigation was also given a boost with the breakup of the former Soviet Union, because the mountain was right on the Turkey-Soviet border. Expeditions up the mountain had been considered a security threat by the Soviet government.
Editorial Note: ABR staff members Gordon Franz and Rick Lanser have spent considerable time and research with respect to Noah's Ark. There are two possible candidates ABR has identified within the region of Ararat. 1. Mount Cudi, a view held by Bill Crouse and ABR Staff Member Gordon Franz. 2. Mount Ararat, a view held by Rick Lanser, ABR Staff Member. Both views have significant merits, so we urge you to read the research and decide for yourself!
The Summer 2008 issue of Bible and Spade has an extensive article on the archaeological artifacts and data discovered in the region of Mt. Ararat in Turkey. To get this issue of Bible and Spade delivered to your door, click here: Summer 2008 Bible and Spade.
Read more at these ABR links:
- An Armenian Perspective on the Search for Noah's Ark
- Did the BASE Institute Discover Noah's Ark in Iran?
- Noah's Ark in Iran?
- Mount Cudi: The True Mountain of Noah's Ark in the Fall 2006 Issue of Bible and Spade: View the PDF
- The Case for Ararat in the Fall 2006 Issue of Bible and Spade: View the PDF
- Gordon Franz returns from Mount Cudi Expedition
Crouse, Bill. 1992. 'Noah's Ark: Its Final Birth,' Bible and Spade 5:3, pp. 66-77.
Livingston, David. 1993. 'The Date of Noah's Flood: Literary and Archaeological Evidence,' Bible and Spade 6/1: 13-17
Shea, William. 1988. 'Noah's Ark?' Bible and Spade 1/1: 6-14.