On April 25, a Hong Kong-based Chinese evangelical ministry held a press conference in Hong Kong, disclosing the possible discovery of the remains of Noah’s Ark by their Hong Kong and Turkish-led expedition team at 4,000 meters above sea level on Mount Ararat in Turkey.
A wood sample of the finding was taken to Iran for carbon-dating, and the test result dated the specimen to be 4,800 years of age – a figure that would go back to the time of Noah, based on a literal reading of the Bible.
During the press conference, Noah’s Ark Ministry International (NAMI) said they are 99 percent sure that their finding is the remains of Noah’s Ark.
“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,” said NAMI representative Man-fai Yuen, who was backed by Turkish government officials and his group’s own set of experts.
Immediately after the announcement, the news spread through all major media outlets but was quickly met with doubts and skepticisms from many who are waiting for the results of more independent and comprehensive probing.
Meanwhile, accusations were made by a few scientists and archaeologists, among which was a Christian archaeologist who claimed to have visited Mount Ararat with the Chinese and Turkish expedition team
Dr. Randall Price, president for World of the Bible Ministries and executive director and distinguished professor of Judaic Studies at Liberty University, says he has more reason to believe that the “discovery” is fake than the team has proof that it’s real, according to the Christian Post.
Among them are photos that he has of the inside of the “so-called Ark” that show cobwebs in the corners of the rafters – “something just not possible in these conditions.”
“To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake,” he reported in an e-mail to his ministry’s supporters following the Ark announcement.
Price says he was informed by a local partner in the village at the foot of Mount Ararat that ten Kurdish workers were hired by the expedition team’s guide in the last summer of 2008 to transport and plant large wood beams at the Mount Ararat site from an old structure in the Black Sea area.
That same guide had shown the team a cave in 2006 that was thought to contain wood but, upon inspection by Price and a team of geologists, actually contained volcanic rock. Price had planned to check out the latest site in 2008 but did not get to.
“During that expedition, the guide … who claimed to have found the Ark, was constantly drunk and after one month sitting in a hotel waiting, the expedition never happened,” he informed ministry supporters.
In response to Price’s accusations and letter, NAMI released a statement stating their regret for Price’s comments that were based on rumors provided by some Kurds and his failure to provide any solid evidence to support his argument.
They are not sure what kind of evidence he has because he had never been in the location of the wooden structure they’ve identified. In addition, they had terminated cooperation with him in early October 2008 and didn’t give him any updates in late October 2008 or for any of their later expeditions.
Wing-Cheung Yeung, the member of the Hong Kong expedition team, clarified that the so-called cooperation that they’ve had with Price was only a short period of meeting in Turkey. Price first approached their team, expressing his interest in the expedition up Mount Ararat, which would be his first climb ever.
At that time, the local expedition team has suggested postponing the climb, because of bad weather conditions that may jeopardize the safety of the team. Price had an argument with the Turkish expedition team leader regarding the postponement, which led to the termination of their cooperation. Hong Kong team tried to reconcile the two parties but did not succeed; finally, neither team climbed Mount Ararat at that time.
In reply to an archaeologist’s query on the authenticity of the wooden structure, Panda Lee, a member of the Hong Kong expedition team, confirmed his first-hand account of the huge wooden structure at the elevation of 4,000 meters on Mount Ararat. He said that a large wood fragment of 20 meters long in ice at a depth of 6 meters was embedded, and such kind of huge structure cannot be planted.
In the official statement in response to Price’s leaked email, NAMI stated that anyone who has ever climbed Mount Ararat would know that it is impossible to carry anything more than a backpack up the rugged terrain above 3,800 meters.
Furthermore, Lee said that it is impossible to transport the structure onto the icy mountain with typical large-scale trucks, but possible with military helicopters; however, they’ve also sought the opinion of Muhsin Bulut, director of Cultural Ministries of Agri Province, where Mount Ararat is located, about the possibility of transporting large amount of timber and planting a large wooden structure at the altitude of 4,000 meters. Bulut assured NAMI that the mountain is restricted area and strictly monitored; therefore, such an act was impossible.
He (Lee) said that because of the environment makeup of the discovery site, it cannot be a man-made artificial setup made in a short period of time. The structure has been frozen in ice and buried under a large amount of volcanic rocks. To form the ice layers require a massive amount of water and to form the layers of volcanic rocks, unceasing pouring of mountainous rocks is needed. Such large scale situation requires years and months to form.
Though many have concluded from Price’s leaked e-mail that the Christian archaeologist believes the Kurdish guide and his partners were merely extorting money from the Chinese evangelical Christians belonging to NAMI, the ministry leader stopped short of affirming the conclusion, saying only that he believes that the greater the claim, the greater the evidence needs to be to support it, according to the Christian Post.
“While he (Price) has reservations about the nature and procedure of the Chinese-Turkish expedition and the artifacts related to it, he believes that a decision concerning this matter must wait until independent examinations of the site and the structure can be made and published,” Price’s ministry stated early this month.
Besides Price’s allegations, some archaeologists questioned that if there was a flood in that region 4,800 years ago, then there must be corresponding geological evidence, but the problem is that there isn’t any up until now.
According to AFP, Turkey’s culture minister has ordered a probe into how the wood samples of the finding were taken from Turkey to China and how Turkish officials attended the press conference in Hong Kong without permission.
The biblical story of Noah's Ark says God decided to flood the earth after seeing how corrupt it had become and told Noah to build an ark and fill it with two of every animal species. After the flood waters receded, the Bible says, the ark came to rest on a mountain.
Many believe that Mount Ararat, the highest point in the region, is where the ark and its inhabitants came aground as the Bible and various historical accounts have documented.
For more information of the finding, visit NoahsArkSearch.net (Note: link no longer available).