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Noah's Ark Discovery


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In September 1960, 27 year-old Ron Wyatt, along with thousands of other people, read the following article in Life Magazine about a strange boat-shaped formation in the mountains of Ararat:

Noah's Ark? Boatlike form is seen near Ararat

Noah's Ark

While routinely examining aerial photos of his country, a Turkish army captain suddenly gasped at the picture shown above. There, on a mountain 20 miles south of Mt. Ararat, the biblical landfall of Noah's Ark, was a boat-shaped form about 500 feet long. The captain passed on the word. Soon an expedition including American scientists set out for the site.

At 7,000 feet, in the midst of crevasses and landslide debris, the explorers found a clear, grassy area shaped like a ship and rimmed with steep, packed-earth sides. Its dimensions are close to those given in Genesis: "The length of the ark shall be 300 cubits, the breadth of it 50 cubits, and the height of it 30 cubits"; that is, 450 x 75 x 45 feet. A quick two-day survey revealed no sign that the object was man-made. Yet a scientist in the group said, "Nothing in nature could create such a symmetrical shape. A thorough excavation may be made in another year to solve the mystery."

While in a library in Hawaii, Ron Wyatt began to read everything he could get his hands on concerning Noah's ark. As Ron pondered all the information over in his mind, there was one thing that seemed to be obvious to him: He knew that Moses had been the author of the Genesis account and therefore the flood story - and as such, Ron believed that the cubit Moses would have known would have been the Royal Egyptian Cubit, the most universal standard of measurement in the ancient world at that time.

There was no "Hebrew cubit" in existence during Moses' time, and to Ron, the 500 foot measurement given in the "Life" article was even more compelling evidence that the site needed thorough exploration. After all, 300 Royal Egyptian Cubits equals 515 feet, not the 450 feet commonly accepted (and based on the future Hebrew cubit).

Noah's Ark diagram

On August 9, 1977 (17 years after the original boat sighting), Ronald Wyatt and his two teenage sons Ronny and Danny arrived in Istanbul, Turkey. Things were a lot different then than they are today; they had to take a bus to Ankara and then a train to Erzurum. This consumed three valuable days and they were still not in Dogubeyazit, the little town near the site. In Erzurum, they took a taxi to Dogubeyazit and directed their driver to take them to a hotel there. However, Eastern Turkey is no thriving tourist area; it is remote and dangerous and very few people speak English.

Ron Wyatt had need of information as to where the ark was located. Many people may find Ron's method of getting information strange, but again he did the only thing he knew to do -- he prayed about it. He told the boys to say a prayer that the taxi would stall at the place where they were to begin looking. After all, their taxi driver spoke no English; they didn't know if anyone in the town would speak English, and even if they did, would anyone know where this boat-shaped object was? It had been seventeen years since the expedition had come there; perhaps the townspeople had forgotten all about it.

So, they all prayed -- not some great elaborate prayer, but just short, silent prayers for help. To Ron's way of thinking, if Noah's Ark was real, then the rest of the Bible was surely just as reliable, including everything said about prayer. And as they approached the town, the taxi stalled.

Full of excitement at seeing their prayers answered, all three climbed out of the taxi and piled a great number of rocks on the side of the road while the bewildered driver peered under his hood. When they all got back in the taxi, it started up and they continued on down the road.

Soon, it stalled again. With a little bit less enthusiasm, they again piled up rocks on the roadside. Again, the taxi started up when they all got back in. Finally, it stalled again, and thinking that perhaps they had just gotten a defective taxi, they each placed one rock in a pile on the side of the road. This done, they headed to the hotel.

It was late when they arrived and as soon as they checked into the Erzurum Hotel in Dogubeyazit, they all fell asleep, completely exhausted from their long journey.

The next morning, they got another taxi and headed back to the third and closest pile of rocks, where they began walking in a perpendicular line from the road.

They soon came to a small village where several very intimidating men approached them, one with a shotgun. Communicating in "sign language", Ron convinced the men that they were just tourists, and the villagers appointed themselves as their tour guides.

Walking over miles and miles of rugged terrain, one of the men motioned for Ron to take his photo by a very large standing rock. Only when he looked through the viewfinder did Ron realize that this "rock" was identical to the anchor stones found in the Mediterranean Sea that he had seen in archaeological books. That is except for one thing -- this "rock" was many, many times larger!

Noah's Ark anchor stone

When he examined it more closely, he saw that it had 8 crosses carved on it. When the villagers saw Ron's interest in this, they showed him several more in the area -- all exactly like other ancient anchor stones except many, many, times larger -- and all with crosses carved on them (all but one had eight crosses.)

They were all extremely excited by what they had seen, but the boat-shaped object was no where in sight. As they continued to walk, they showed Ron and the boys a very ancient graveyard containing strange "monuments" which looked like simple representations of a three story boat. Were these things connected to Noah's Ark? Ron believed they were. So, he photographed and filmed everything with his 8mm movie camera (there were no video cameras back then!), and they decided to head back to the hotel for the night.

The next morning, they returned to the second pile of rocks and began to walk perpendicular to the road again. This pile wasn't too far from the first and they soon found themselves looking at the walls of a very, very old stone house whose floor seemed to be set about four feet into the ground. The roof was gone and it was apparent that no one had lived here for a great number of years.

Was this Noah's house? Well, the thick walls and the vast pattern of stone fences were pretty compelling evidence.

The Bible gives reference to Noah being as being a "husbandman." Genesis 9:20 says: "And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent." This passage tells us that Noah was in a tent, not a house such as Ron had found; but Ron learned that the inhabitants of this region, as in other pastoral societies, still live in tents in the summer and in thick stoned houses in the winter. This seems perfectly consistent with the mention of a vineyard, which would have yielded its fruits in the warmer season.

"Husbandry" is defined as "farming, as of livestock" (Random House Dictionary). After the flood, it makes perfect sense that Noah bred the animals and cared for them until the point in time that their numbers were sufficient enough to eliminate the likelihood of their becoming extinct; for there was just two of every unclean animal.

The extremely large pattern of stone fences radiating out from the house and extending on for a good distance seemed consistent with this type of activity. The depth below the present ground level of the house and fences showed their great antiquity. Over the years, windblown dust and dirt raised the ground level and buried or partially buried ancient surface structures.

The house was located in an incredibly beautiful plain which runs east/west. To the north and south are mountains. Unlike our country, everything was rock in this region - especially in this isolated area, except for the village where the anchor stones were located. All that could be seen were rocks, rocks, and more rocks. However, when Ron and the boys looked behind the house to the north, they saw a very beautiful mountain ridge.

This ridge had two small hills which met and formed a valley in between them, and right in the middle of this mountainside valley, Ron saw an extremely large squarish rock which looked as if it had been purposely set in its location. Behind this large rock, the valley formed a natural amphitheater. On the side of this very large rock was a complex of small fenced-in areas.

If this was really Noah's house, this certainly looked like a very large altar with room for a large number of people to sit behind it as the sacrifices were being made.

Genesis 8:20 states" "And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar."

The altar itself measured 12' x 12' x 12', and it had one step. When we stood upon it, it was obvious that whoever stood upon this altar was quite a bit taller than we were, for the step was about three feet high! The complex of pens adjacent to the altar also indicated that whoever arranged the rocks in this pattern was extremely strong, because today many of these large rocks could not possibly be moved by humans without mechanical assistance. At one spot, a very large boulder was balanced upon several upright stones, forming a covered area that a six foot tall man could walk under without stooping.

Also in this complex were two very large stones which displayed features which indicated that they were used for the slaughter and bleeding of animals (Genesis. 9:4). One was consistent with the size of smaller animals like sheep and goats; the other, much larger, was consistent with the size of larger animals, such as bullocks. They both had a series of chiselled-out indentions leading from the ground to the flattened, slightly angled top.

These "indentions" were the size that is consistent with animal hooves; perhaps the animals were led up the side of these rocks to the tops, which also contained chiselled out basins with drains that are consistent with areas for bleeding the animals prior to offering them on the large altar stone. According to the Biblical account, specific parts of the animal were offered as sacrifice, then other parts were cooked and eaten "before the Lord" (see Leviticus, chapters 1-9).

Radiating out from the house was a very large pattern of stone fences which seemed to go on for miles. These, too, seemed to be covered by several feet of dirt with only their top few feet extending above the earth.

But the most interesting feature of this site was what was in the front yard; there were two large stones, one sitting upright and one lying flat on the ground. Carved on these stones was a most exciting picture. Across the top of each was an arc shape; below this was a curly cue which looked like an ocean wave, and on top of it was a very simple boat shape. Walking away from this boat and wave were eight people -- the first and largest was a man; next and second largest was a woman; the next three were all the same size and all smaller than the largest woman, and they were men; and the smallest last three were three women.

It seemed quite obvious to Ron that these were iconographic representations of the 8 survivors of the flood, all walking away from the ship with a rainbow overhead. But what did it all mean?

When he studied these two large monuments more closely, he noted that on the one lying on the ground, the largest woman (the one representing Noah's wife) had her eyes closed and her head tilted downward. On the larger one which was still standing, he saw that both the first woman and the first man (Noah) had their eyes closed and heads tilted downward. Since these were in front of the house, he believed they were the actual tombstones of Noah and his wife.

The iconography showed that Noah's wife died first, and on her stone, only her eyes were closed. When Noah died, both of them were represented as dead.

What Ron and the boys had found these first two days were extremely important, Ron felt. While they didn't prove anything about the boat-shaped object, they were clear indications that a family of eight people had lived in this exact area at some very remote time in antiquity. The eight-cross design on the anchor stones showed that someone during the Christian era had identified these huge rocks with the ark and its eight passengers.

Ron filmed and photographed everything. There is actually much more than we have listed here, but these are the most important items. At the end of Day Two, they had seen more than enough to make the trip worthwhile. The next day would be their last.

Arising the next morning, the boys were tired and stayed in the room. They had traversed across a great number of miles in the previous two days and Ron knew they needed a break. So he got a taxi and returned to the first pile of rocks. They had worked their way backwards from the third pile to the first. And this one was quite a distance from the others.

This time, Ron had the taxi drive as far as he could go in the direction that was perpendicular to this rock-pile. They travelled up into the mountain range to the south, as far as there was a dirt road. When it ended, Ron began to walk. With mountains everywhere, he wondered if he would ever be able to spot the boat-shaped object if he looked right at it; but soon, he saw it. And what he saw convinced him more than ever that this object was the remains of a ship. But, what he saw also convinced him that there was only one way to explore its true nature, and that was by an excavation to remove the soil which covered it.

Ron returned to their room and packed. He checked out that night so they could leave early in the morning, but that proved to be a big mistake. In 1977, there weren't any tourists to speak of in this region. It is desolate and very foreboding. The Kurdish villagers had been watching Ron and the boys, waiting to make their move. As long as they were staying in the hotel, spending money, and paying taxis and guides they were ok. However, these bandits wanted it all, and as soon as they realized they were about to leave, they attacked.

It's a long story, but to summarize it, Ron and the boys heard them coming up the steps banging pipes and making a lot of noise. Shoving the furniture in front of the door, they tied the bed sheets together and climbed out their third story window onto a roof below. There, they climbed back into the second floor window which led into the kitchen, and they ran through the hotel and out the door.

In the commotion, they lost almost all of their film. However, Ron did manage to hang on to some of the movie film. Once they were safely out of town and arrived home, they realized how truly dangerous that region was. The boys would never go there again, and after all they went through, they would never see the "boat shaped object" in person.

Ron had gone to Turkey for one reason -- his own personal curiosity. What he saw fueled his resolve to investigate the site more thoroughly, but as a private individual, he had no idea where to start. He knew the site needed to be excavated, but how could someone like himself get permission to do so and how could he interest important scholars and archaeologists in the site when most people believed that if the ark existed at all, it had to be on Mount Ararat?

In 1978, someone told Ron about another man who was interested in the boat shaped object -- a man who was an MD and an archaeologist. This man was Dr. Bill Shea of the Biblical Research Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland.

In November 1978, Ron finally made contact with Dr. Shea who had written an article about the site in September 1976. He believed that the site should be thoroughly investigated, and when comparing the boat-shaped object to the current thought that the ark had to have landed on Mount Ararat, wrote:
"To conclude, one might put these two sites in perspective by reflecting upon what would have happened had this formation been found on Agri Dagh (Mt. Ararat). I may be wrong, but I suspect that news of it (the boat shaped formation) probably would have been heralded far and wide as the discovery of the site where the Ark had rested. What a difference a mountain makes."

Creation Research Society Quarterly
Volume 13, September 1976.
"The Ark-Shaped Formation in the Tendurek Mountains of Eastern Turkey," by Dr. William H. Shea.
Dr. Shea also mentioned that he too believed that the Royal Egyptian Cubit was used in giving the measurements of the ark:

"Assuming a Mosaic authorship for these measurements probably would indicate that they were given in terms of the Egyptian cubit of 20.6 inches rather than the shorter Mesopotamian cubit."
After Ron and Dr. Shea communicated and Ron shared his information from the August 1977 trip with him, Dr. Shea began to apply for permission to excavate. The reply was negative. As far as Ron was concerned; there was nothing else he could dos so he waited, but he didn't know for what.

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This information was written by Mary Nell Wyatt. To find out more detail please visit Anchor Stones: Wyatt Archaeological Research