Lynchburg man looking for Noah's Ark
Dr. Randall Price, Professor of Judaic Studies at Liberty University, looks through ancient Israeli artifacts in the university's Center for Judaic Studies.
By Christa Desrets
Published: January 31, 2009
It's one of the most familiar Bible stories.
Saddened by the wickedness of man, God directs the righteous Noah to build an ark for his family and two of each species of animal.
Together, they ride the ark through 40 days and 40 nights of torrential rains that God unleashes upon the Earth. And when the waters subside, Noah and the animals return to land.
"That seems almost like a fairy story," said archaeologist Randall Price, who is director of Liberty University's new Center for Judaic Studies. "But we believe it was an actual event."
This summer Price, 57, plans to continue on a journey to prove just that as he joins an expedition to Mount Ararat. His team believes that it is there, in Eastern Turkey, where Noah's Ark remains preserved underneath layers of rubble and ice.
There's a whole trail of history pointing to it (Mt. Ararat)," Price said. "But in our age, people tend to think it is more of a story like 'Jack and the Bean Stalk.' Our aim is to show that the Bible is good history."
Price has led dozens of expeditions in biblical archeology and has been to Israel on more than 90 separate occasions over the past 30 years. His expeditions there include the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, where he has led archeological digs. The trip to Mount Ararat will be his second to the hoped-for site of the ark.
He pointed to Genesis 8:4, which states, "and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat," in The New International Version of the Bible.
For centuries, expeditions have set out to find Noah's Ark but have been unable to find any concrete evidence, beyond that of an unwavering faith, to support its existence.
Richard Bright, 64, has visited Turkey more than 30 times over the past 25 years in search of the vessel. Bright, who currently is writing his third book on the search for the ark, will join Price on the expedition this summer.
"We've received many leads over the years, dating back into antiquity," he said in a recent phone interview. "We've had so many reports over the years, and they talk about the same mountain."
Last fall, a new tip peaked both his and Price's interest.
A Kurdish shepherd told them that he had seen the ark, and even climbed on top of it, when he was a boy.
The team hypothesizes that the ark is preserved in several pieces beneath a glacier on the mountain, and every so often the glacier recedes, exposing part of the vessel.
"That's when he saw it as a boy," Price said, adding that they had interviewed the shepherd and could find no reason to distrust him.
The shepherd asked for nothing in return, and agreed to lead Bright to the site where he said he had seen the ark.
Bright first climbed to the site in September. Then a team including Price, the shepherd, a mountaineer and several others made a follow-up ascent to 15,000 feet later the same month.
They found the spot, Price said, but it now is covered by an estimated 60-foot-deep pile of boulders. Price believes the landslide may have resulted from attacks against Kurdish rebels on the mountain, or perhaps from explosives that were set off to cover up the ark.
"It's a very delicate and almost clandestine environment," he said of the area, which is near the Turkish border to Iran and Armenia. "The danger level is high."
But his team has negotiated with government and military authorities and gained access to work at the site starting this spring, Price said.
That's when the team of archaeologists, geologists, explorers and other volunteers plan to start removing boulders.
By summertime, they hope to reach the glacier and use ice-melting equipment to access what they believe is preserved beneath. If a structure is found, they plan to take samples to have analyzed and dated.
But that may not be proof enough for some. Bright said people would have to make up their own minds.
"We intend to, God willing, find enough of it to at least show that we have an ancient structure," he said. "If we find a great big structure up there that fits the dimensions, and if there are compartments in there, and it's ancient - What else could it be, way up there, thousands of feet in the air?"
Work also must be done leading up to the expedition.
Price estimated that the team needs to raise about $60,000 to pay for permission to use the site, to buy the necessary machinery and to fund about two months of work on location.
Bright said a discovery would "mean so much to so many, many people worldwide."
"Keep your ear to the road, so to speak, this summer," he said. "Because there will be discovery. The only thing that's holding us back is to finance the machinery that we need."
A model of Noah's ark has been constructed on Turkey's Mount Ararat by the environmental group Greenpeace in an attempt to draw attention to the issue of climate change.
Activists held up banners that read "Save the climate now" and released doves Thursday for the unveiling of the wooden ark, which comes ahead of next week's Group of Eight summit in Germany.
Greenpeace activists hold a banner next to a model of Noah's ark, built by Greenpeace volunteers from Germany and Turkey on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.
A Greenpeace banner unfurled at the site reads: "G8: this is the point of no return. Save the climate now."
Climate change is expected to be a key discussion topic among the leaders of Germany, the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Japan when they meet for the summit, which runs from June 6-8.
"Our nations' leaders are at what could be a decisive moment in the future of the planet - either they agree on radical reductions in greenhouse gases, or this G8 summit will become a slap in the face to many people of the world," said Greenpeace energy campaigner Andree Bohling.
According to the Book of Genesis, God told Noah to build an ark and fill it with two of every species before he flooded the Earth because its people had become corrupt. After the flood, the ark came to rest in the mountains of eastern Turkey.
Built by German and Turkish carpenters, the boat measures 10 metres by four metres and took a month to build.
Greenpeace plans to leave the ark on the mountain to be used as a shelter for mountaineers.
Entrepreneur to fund Ark search
By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A Roman Catholic entrepreneur from Honolulu is funding a $900,000 expedition to find Noah's Ark this summer, after a record heat wave last year revealed what could be a large man-made object on the northeastern slopes of Turkey's Mount Ararat.
Daniel P. McGivern, 64, told reporters yesterday he was sending a team of 30 American and Turkish scientists, forensic specialists and archaeologists to the site, revealed in recent satellite photographs, in the hopes of fostering belief in God and a worldwide religious revival.
"The discovery of Noah's Ark [would be] the single greatest event since the resurrection of Jesus Christ," Mr. McGivern said, "and it I know will change the way science currently thinks about the Earth," in reference to the Bible's account of a global flood.
Mr. McGivern said he is interviewing potential team members for the expedition, which will be from July 15 to Aug. 15.
The northeastern slopes of the 16,854-foot mountain are treacherous and steep. The location of what the U.S. Air Force used to call the "Ararat anomaly" also contains 11 glaciers, hundreds of feet thick. The spot where Mr. McGivern said the ark may be is on a 45-degree slope.
Last summer's heat wave in Europe thought to be the most extreme in 500 years caused a record "melt back" of ice covering the object. Mr. McGivern asked Digital Globe, a Longmont, Colo., company that specializes in satellite imaging, to photograph the area in August and September.
The result, he said, are photos that show a definite dark patch in the middle of a glacier on the edge of the 800-foot-deep Ahora Gorge. A close-up of the patch shows what looks like three beams and a cross beam.
The leader of this summer's expedition, Ahmet Ali Arslan, who grew up in a village 12 miles from the summit, said he has climbed as close as 660 feet to the object, which until last summer was encased in an ice cap.
Mr. Arslan, a college professor at Selcuk University in Konya, Turkey, and a former correspondent for Voice of America, said he has climbed the mountain 50 times in 40 years.
According to biblical records, Noah's Ark would measure about 75 feet wide, 450 feet long and 45 feet high. Mr. McGivern estimates the boat had three decks, "and we expect that we'll find compartments and cages."
The object on the satellite image is at least 50 feet by 70 feet, he said. There is some speculation that the object, if it is the biblical ark, has broken into three pieces.
The account of the ark, which is in Genesis 6:9, places its construction about 6,000 years ago.
Tuluy Tanc, a spokesman for the Turkish Embassy, confirmed that Mr. McGivern's group met yesterday with Osman Faruk Logolu, the Turkish ambassador, who invited them to apply for permits to make the climb.
"If it's a serious excursion, I can't see much problem in getting them," he said.
Mr. McGivern, who headed the Hawaii Christian Coalition in 1998, owns a Honolulu-based marketing firm and said he has incorporated Shamrock the Trinity Corp. in Delaware to fund projects such as this.
Noah's Ark Found? Company Claims Commercial Satellite Has Picture Proof
Satellite photos of Mount Aratat, Turkey taken by commercial imaging satellite company Digital Globe released today are said to contain proof of the existence of the biblical Noah's Ark.
The images, revealed at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. (see right), are said to reveal a man-made structure at the site where the Bible states the vessel came to rest.
The claim was made by Daniel P. McGivern, president of Shamrock -- The Trinity Corporation, who according to a press release has been searching for the Ark for several years.
The first pictures of the site were taken by the U.S. Air Force in 1949. The images allegedly revealed what seemed to be a structure covered by ice, but were held in a confidential file labeled Ararat Anomaly for years. In 1997, the government released several of these images, but experts deemed them inconclusive.
McGovern's is not the first satellite search for the Ark. In 2002, Porcher Taylor, a senior associate (nonresident) at the prominent think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., also requested satellite imagery of the area to see if the mythical vessel truly existed.
The summer of 2003 provided a great opportunity to take a new series of photographs, according to the release, because it was the hottest summer in Europe since 1500. This caused a massive meltdown on Mount Ararat. McGivern used DigitalGlobes Quick Bird satellite to collect a new set of satellite images.
Click to view close-up of alleged proof of Noah's Ark
According to the press release, McGivern has put together a team of scientists, archaeologists and forensic experts to excavate the object and collect samples beginning in August of this year.
These new photos unequivocally show a man made object, McGivern is quoted as saying. I am convinced that the excavation of the object and the results of tests run on any collected samples will prove that it is Noahs Ark.
The field manager for the excavation will be Dr. Ahmet Ali Arslan, a native of Turkey who has traveled up Mount Ararat 50 times in 40 years and formerly worked in the Turkey Prime Ministers office. According to the release, Arslan plans to discuss the details of the excavation with the Prime Minister next week.