Arkwatch: The Mount Ararat Structure.

Time had a post yesterday with the title “Has Noah’s Ark Been Discovered in Turkey?“.

I hate titles like that, as they always make me want to just say “No, it probably hasn’t.” While I suspect history is far more interesting than we know, I’m not so up for evidence that has been rustled up with folks with the agenda of proving that our planet is less than ten thousand years old. I believe many wonderful things, and hope many others are true, but I have trouble with that one.

As it happens, I am considered one of the world’s leading experts on Arks of all kinds. OK, both kinds. The floaty type*, and the sort that blow things up and melt Nazis. I must be considered an expert on them because people from around the world are constantly coming to my website to seek my opinion on them, at least according to my site logs. Thus far they have been sorely disappointed, but today I shall grant their pleas, and I shall try to focus my deep understanding of Arkaeology upon this new discovery.

It is in the right place. Noah’s Ark was supposed to have come to rest in the mountains of Ararat, currently in Turkey, of which Mount Ararat is a part. This Ark has been found inside a glacier, and is apparently in quite good shape, considering. A glacier could help to preserve organic material, though glaciers, being ever in motion, are also rather good at grinding things apart into gravel.

The team, a collaboration between the Turkish Government and the China-based Noah’s Ark Ministries International Limited, won’t tell regular scientists exactly where the site is just yet, but they have provided some photos. Let’s take a look!

Noahs Ark Ararat 2010 499x267

That certainly is very well preserved. From what I can see, it is taken inside the ship, in a cabin perhaps. The raised platform could be a bed, or a bench. I’m particularly impressed at the freshness of the straw, presumably left over from feeding the animals, of which you will recall there were 2 of each kind, except for animals deemed to be clean, of which there were 7. I’ve often wondered how Noah got his hands on polar bears. Carefully, one would suppose. The straw could also be bedding, I guess.

I’m unsure exactly what the structure in the middle of the picture is. It might be some sort of odd chair, but it looks a bit too complex for that. Probably is a container. I want to call it a chest, given the shape. Perhaps Noah kept his precious booty within it.

The team reports that carbon dating has shown the wood to be 4800 years old; more or less what you would expect it to be if it were part of Noah’s Ark. Curiously, and with splendid irony, carbon dating has been thoroughly debunked by creationist scientists, who say that it will always make objects appear to be far older than they really are, if they are from before the biblical flood, as they believe there was much more carbon about pre-flood. As the wood used to build the Ark quite obviously grew and lived pre-flood, it is odd that they have suddenly forgotten this objection. If carbon dating is reliable, then it shows the world is far older than 10,000 years, and if it is not reliable, then why are they using it?

In another part of the structure they have found a massive chamber.

Noahs Ark Chamber 500x375

To give you a sense of scale, a diagram shows a human coming up to about halfway up one of those horizontal bands, with the picture being about 7 people high. That’s a big…something. I’m not too sure quite what to make of it. It looks like three bands of vertically aligned, um, planks? It’s not clear how those bands are joined together, or what is stopping it from collapsing. It seems a very odd way to build a sea-worthy vessel, especially if that banded wall is the outside of the ship.

It looks almost like those wicker or reed blinds you can get, if you bashed them around a bit, soaked them in tea, and covered them with mud, even down to markings that resemble where the strings would go. Of course, those blinds are much smaller, and the diagram clearly shows that this chamber is huge, even more so if you consider where the camera would have to be to take that picture.

Rattan Blinds

Also, what is going on with the floor? After 4800 years it still seems completely flat, but it has a weird texture to it. It doesn’t look like a ship’s floor. Almost like cobblestones. Even more like dungeon tiles.

I am, perhaps, being a little mean. While the pictures do look rather too good to be true, the involvement of Turkish governmental scientists does suggest this isn’t all just a hoax. Unless these governmental scientists happen to work for the Turkish Ministry of Tourism.

My Expert Arkaeologist opinion? Lets call it 3 doves out of 5. It’s a better effort than the rock that looked a bit like a ship that they found last time. If it is genuine, it might well be a find of great interest; an ancient building perhaps, but I’m betting against it being a ship.

*The Ark in my site’s title is supposed to, metaphorically, be of the floaty persuasion. A fine vessel with room for all in which I sail about in search of true things. I suspect certain of my readership might think it more as something which shoots gouts of flame.

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