While some might suspect that a large rectangular wooden structure on the side of a mountain is probably, er, a shed, Noah’s Ark Ministries International knows better.
It’s discovered the Ark, of course, right where it expected to find it on Mount Ararat.
The Chinese-Turkish team found the thing at more than 4,000 metres above sea level, and says wood specimens have been dated as 4,800 years old. They’re already asking for it to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The team says it can’t be a sign of human habitation – because nobody’s ever found a sign of human habitation there before. But apparently the fact that nobody’s ever found a boat there before either doesn’t rule out the possibility of it being a boat.
The structure was explored late last year, and apparently consists of seven different areas. It’s built of eight-inch wide planks – not gopher wood, unfortunately, but cypress.
“The search team and I personally entered a wooden structure high on the mountain. The structure is partitioned into different spaces,” said team member Man-fai Yuen.
“We believe that the wooden structure we entered is the same structure recorded in historical accounts and the same ancient boat indicated by the locals.”
“A few wooden staircases were found inside the structure,” says Wing-Cheung Yeung. “Our team climbed one and found a door in the ceiling and concluded the wood structure has more than one floor. We tried to open it but failed.”
The team doesn’t seem bothered that the earliest versions of the great flood legend don’t mention Noah at all. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian god Ea warns Utnapishtim of an impending flood, but doesn’t seem too concerned about maintaining breeding populations of every species on earth. Instead, he just tells him to pack a boat with money and cattle.
Gerrit Aalten, a Dutch Ark researcher (why didn’t my school careers advisor tell me I could be one of those?) said he was convinced. “The significance of this find is that for the first time in history the discovery of Noah’s Ark is well documented and revealed to the worldwide community,” he said.