Noah’s Ark Discovered Again?

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Excerpt The discovery of Noah’s Ark was announced last Sunday (4/24/10) by a Chinese organization from Hong Kong (Noah’s Ark Ministries, International). The problem with this is that it seems like the “discovery” of Noah’s Ark is getting to be almost an annual event. What in the world is going on? We think it’s a question that is easy to analyze... Continue reading

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The discovery of Noah’s Ark was announced last Sunday (4/24/10) by a Chinese organization from Hong Kong (Noah’s Ark Ministries, International).  The problem with this is that it seems like the “discovery” of Noah’s Ark is getting to be almost an annual event.  What in the world is going on?  We think it’s a question that is easy to analyze. 

Genesis 1-11 is the most attacked portion of Scripture for its historicity.  Finding an antediluvian artifact like Noah’s Ark could be the greatest archaeological discovery ever.  It evokes many wannabe Indiana Joneses to search for Noah’s Ark.  We see no problem with this quest, and would welcome such a discovery.  The problem is not in the finding of the Ark; but in its substantiation.  Amateur archaeologists can and do find things that turn out to be fantastic discoveries.  Witness the treasure hunter, Terry Herbert, in Staffordshire, England, who recently found a huge cache of Saxon gold artifacts that was reported in National Geographic.  However, to properly document a discovery, the proper scientific protocol must be followed.  Scientists are trained to gather and analyze evidence.  They then publish their research so that other scientists can test their results. These “Indiana Joneses” invariably do not do this.  They put the cart before the horse by holding a spectacular press conference declaring what they discovered rather than publishing their results in a scientific journal.  The news media, on the other hand, is all too eager to comply for what gets good ratings, and at the same time put evangelical Christians in a bad light.

This Hong Kong group claims they are 99.9 % sure that the wood they found belongs to the Ark of Noah.  Since we have spent a few thousand hours digging into the subject of the Noah’s Flood and the Ark, we have the following questions about the alleged discovery:

1. When archaeologists make a discovery they must be able to prove exactly where they took their specimen out of the ground.  How do we know this video showing the rooms was filmed where they said it was?

2. It is claimed that this discovery was found in an ice and rock cave on Agri Dagh, also known as Mt. Ararat.  It is a known fact among geologists that nearly all of the icecap on this mountain consists of moving ice, that is, glacier.  A glacier is a river of ice which flows down the mountain.  Any wooden structure inside this ice would be ground to bits from the glacial action.  In their news releases they have reported this site to be at 13,000 feet and in another report at around 14,000.  With these altitudes it would have to be on the ice cap or at the very edge.

3.  Most geologists believe this mountain was formed in relatively recent times, i.e., after the Flood.  It is a complex volcano with no clearly discernible layers of sedimentation that would have been laid down by flood waters. 

4.  The group claims they have had the wood carbon dated by a lab in Iran with the results being almost 5000 years old (with the Flood occurring about 3000 B.C.).  Why did they have the wood tested in Iran, we ask?   Will other scientists have access to the lab results?  Are there any good labs in Iran that can do this kind of testing?  Or, was the wood tested in Iran because the lab results might be harder to trace by other scientists?  Why wasn’t a lab in the United States or the United Kingdom used?  Just asking!

5.  Is this wood coated with pitch (bitumen)?  The Bible says God instructed Noah to treat the wood with pitch, either asphalt or pine pitch (Gen. 6:14).  At least some of this wood should test positive for this coating.  Also, has a botanist examined the wood to determine what kind of wood it is? 

6.  What about motives?  Only God knows their true motives, but it sure makes one nervous when these groups looking for the Ark are planning a documentary video so early in the project before any truth claims are established.  One of the members of this Chinese group just happens to be a filmmaker.  Most readers interested in this subject probably notice that about once a year a new docudrama about Noah’s Ark appears on one of the cable channels.  They would not keep doing this if they didn’t make money.  Hopefully, this group’s motives are other than financial.

7.  What are the plans to publish this material in scientific peer-reviewed archaeological and geological publications?  We would have hoped that this would have been primary to a news conference and videos.  True archaeology is not forwarded by this sequence, but we certainly understand their excitement and the desire to be the first to report such a discovery. 

In addition to the above questions, we have some reasons to question the integrity of this discovery for the following reasons:

1.  This group had a local guide who is a known for his deceit and fraud. It is this guide who initially informed the Chinese group that he knew the location of the Ark in 2008.  However, since then he has led them to more than one location.  The first location was a cave at a low altitude, a small cave with a tree growing in front!  Apparently the current cave is at the 13,000 or 14,000 foot level on the icecap.

2.  The specimens taken from this first cave (at the lower altitude) were claimed to be petrified wood from the Ark. In actuality, they were nothing than volcanic tuff.

3. In one of the photos of the rooms, straw is seen on the floor and even a spider web in one of the corners.  Really!  Do spiders live at 13,000 or 14,000 feet?  Can they survive the freezing temperatures?

4. There is a real problem with evangelists (which is what they claim to be) who use this kind of discovery to prove the Bible, and hence convince non-believers of its authority, when in fact the truthfulness of the discovery had not been established.  I [Bill Crouse] know firsthand of one “Indiana Jones” who spoke eloquently and emotionally about his adventures, and when he gave an invitation at the end of his presentation, many in the audience stood up to commit their lives to Christ.  When the speaker was confronted about the truthfulness of some of the stories he told that night, he replied:  “But look how many stood up to receive Christ.”  This becomes very problematic when at some point the convert learns the real truth.  They often become very embittered about all things Christian, and understandably so.

5.  There seems to be more than the usual gullibility here in that the Hong Kong group was warned about this local guide who has led others astray.  We say usual gullibility, because it seems to be a characteristic of some ark-hunters as well, in that they tend to uncritically accept all the local lore.  While many of these ark-hunters mean well, it seems that they want to believe every report seemingly at all costs; putting everything through a rational grid often is avoided as being too skeptical.

At this point we are skeptical of these new claims but would rejoice in the end if they proved to be true.  If this someday is the case, we will be the first to apologize for our doubts. We would strongly urge the Hong Kong group to follow proper scholarly procedures and publish this material in scientific, peer-reviewed archaeological and geological publications so that the scholarly community can examine the material first hand and critique it in order to offer helpful, and constructive, criticism.  For the person in the pew, we caution you to not get too excited about something that is at best, unsubstantiated; and at worst, a fraud perpetrated by an enterprising local guide!

Note: The authors are both members of the Near East Archaeological Society and the Evangelical Theological Society.  We both believe that Noah was a real historical person and that the Flood was a literal event in space-time history.  In our own research we came to a different conclusion about the landing place of the Ark.  Nothing we have seen so far causes us to doubt or change our position.  If you care to read of our research it can be found here:

Read more at these ABR links:

 "The Search for Noah's Ark" by Gordon Franz

Noah's Ark Update by Rick Lanser

Has Anyone Discovered Noah's Ark? by Gary Byers

An Armenian Perspective on the Search for Noah's Ark by Rick Lanser

Did the BASE Institute Discover Noah’s Ark in Iran? by Gordon Franz

Noah's Ark in Iran?  by Rick Lanser

Mount Cudi: The True Mountain of Noah's Ark in the Fall 2006 Issue of Bible and Spade: View the PDF by Gordon Franz and Bill Crouse

The Case for Ararat in the Fall 2006 Issue of Bible and Spade: View the PDF by Rick Lanser

Other articles pertaining to Noah's Ark and the Genesis Flood 

Gordon Franz returns from Mount Cudi Expedition

Comments Comment RSS

5/3/2010 2:51 AM #

My questions are: 1. How can they prove that the wood actually came from the actual ark?  C-14 dating can only give age and there was a lot of wood lying around t the itme.
2. With what would they compare their find with to show they actually have a piece of the ark? The ark wasn't the only ancient structure that used compartments.
3. Will the discovery of the ark actually change lives today? Skeptics and unbelievers will find some way to dismiss the discovery if it, or any other discovery, were the real ark.

dr. david t. - 5/3/2010 2:51:41 AM

5/3/2010 8:24 AM #

I fear that archaeology, in the minds of many, has moved from a hermeneutical tool of interpretation to a "proof" of the Bible's validity. As you state, Bill, this is a problem. If you look for evidence hard enough, you will always find something (even if it isn't really there).

Although we haven't found the ark, our faith doesn't rest on such "evidences." Without the discovery of the ark, the Bible still stands tall (just like it did before the discovery of Hatti, etc.).

Thanks for this article. I have shared it on FB and will probably share it again in the next few days just to make sure it has circulated.

Justin Singleton - 5/3/2010 8:24:38 AM

5/3/2010 10:42 PM #


I read a lot of disbelief and hint of jealousy in this article. I find it wrong that my fellow brothers are to rebuke their Asian brothers others even liken them to misguided good doers. If they have done wrong or were deceived, then lets this be that. The truth comes out because the Lord wills it. Our father rebukes those he loves.

So why fear the outcome of this expedition? Let go of fear so that your love be perfected as required.

Has not the unbeliever already decided in his heart to disbelief the word of the living God? They will simply find some reason to dismiss the proof at hand or to bring about discredit. Why hand them the tools for persecution?

The many questions in this article does not contribute to solidarity in Christ, but brings about division. Be careful that you do not add weight to another's burden in his walk. For it is written, a righteous man will fall 7 times, and rise every time. The unrighteous falls and remains there.

It will be better if some Christians used caution to speak as required in James 1:19-28.

Gustaaf - 5/3/2010 10:42:38 PM

5/4/2010 2:05 AM #

"I fear that archaeology, in the minds of many, has moved from a hermeneutical tool of interpretation to a "proof" of the Bible's validity"

Too many people forget that 'interpretation' is not of God but truth is.  Those who use interpretation are not listening to the leadingof the Holy Spirit who, as Jesus said in John 16, will lead us to the truth.

Believers are not to use 'interpretation' for then they are not proclaiming  the truth but opinion and 'interpretation' leads to existentialism where any man gets tosay what a passage means to them and soon the truth is lost.

archaeology does prove the validity and accuracy of the Bible, it is a tool we can use to shore up weaker christian's faith and we must wrest that and other scientific fields from the hands and control of the secular world for they are not looking for the truth but alternatives to the Bible.

Remember Jesus said 'I am the Way, the TRUTH...' (not 'interpretation') and He said 'we shall know the truth...' (not interpretation)  If christians want to make an impact for Christ in these last days, then they must seek the truth and proclaim it, once it is confirmed as such.

Using interpretation only opens the door for false ideas and theories to be taught.

dr. david t. - 5/4/2010 2:05:55 AM

5/5/2010 2:24 AM #

In the end this may prove to be Noah's Ark.  I would certainly welcome this as much as anyone.  However, I do have grave doubts as I've written above with Gordon.  Some as wondered: "If it isn't the Ark what could it be at that altitude."  I can think of at least two things that are speculative but with some evidence:  There was a period of monasticism in the Armenian Orthodox church where the monks went into remote regions and dug caverns to meditate.  I have seen these in Armenia and I believe there is evdence of Armenian presence near the entrance to the Ahora Gorge.  Also, we know that the Turkish military took up positions on the mountain.  One was on the east side at about 13,000 feet.  There are still rotten timbers and shell castings found there.  The Turkish military likes to take high positions and attack from the top down.  We will just have to wait and see what the evidence produces.  I believe we will know more in just a few weeks.

Bill Crouse - 5/5/2010 2:24:43 AM

5/6/2010 12:12 AM #

"I read a lot of disbelief and hint of jealousy in this article. I find it wrong that my fellow brothers are to rebuke their Asian brothers others even liken them to misguided good doers." - Gustaaf

I read a lot of healthy skepticism, but definitely no jealousy.  The current problem many non-believers have with Christians is their refusing to investigate, when they can instead just push results before real research comes out.  I believe all the author is saying is we, as Christians, need to realize the weight of our words and make sure we know what we're talking about before spouting off at the mouth.  There is nothing wrong with being accurate and validating your claim before making bold claims like "We are 99.9% accurate".

If you had cancer and the doctor walked in the door, looked at you, said "Well you look fine, you must not have cancer. I'm 99.9% certain", would you feel comfortable with that or would you want him to investigate to make sure?  The result of impatient believers making massive claims, such as this, and then being wrong can be devastating to someones current faith or decision to accept that faith in the future.  We must watch our words and actions and conduct ourselves in the highest possible manner in order to show the rest of the world that we aren't willing to push potential false evidence just to convert a few gullible people.

Joel Gabriele - 5/6/2010 12:12:39 AM

5/6/2010 1:23 AM #

I believe we should be skeptical and wait for verification. However, I do have one point to make on this article...I viewed all pictures and have not seen any spider webs, however if there was a spider web could this not have been made by a spider during the time of the flood? I would assume that not only vertebrates were on board but also invertebrates as well.

Marc - 5/6/2010 1:23:25 AM

5/18/2010 9:10 PM #

A very conservative statement (from ABR) for an outrageous claim.  If a hoax or fraud, the alleged discoverers deserve to be widely exposed and humiliated.  Nothing rings true in the video they released.  I have found no outside source from any reputable person or institute that in any way endorses this "discovery."

Robin E. Simmons - 5/18/2010 9:10:56 PM

5/18/2010 9:46 PM #

If the world-wide flood had a significant effect on the C14/C12 ratio in the earth's atmosphere, as creationists usually assume, then it seems to me that any antediluvian wood from the ark should have an infinite C14 age rather than a C14 age of about 5000 years BP.

Bob Helm - 5/18/2010 9:46:27 PM

5/19/2010 12:14 AM #

I can appreciate the skepticism, it's 'wise as a serpent' to make sure we don't carelessly bring disrepute upon our evangelical Biblio-centric world-view. I agree with the radio-active dating conundrum when it comes to wood from the antediluvian period. It was certainly a different world in every way possible! (I hold the same type of view point on dating the Shroud. IF it were hit by a burst of (Resurrection) radiation wouldn't it reset all the radio-active clocks?)

As for question #5: I hold the very unpopular view that Noah didn't 'pitch' the inside of the ship, but that he put pitch between the layers of a triple-planked hull...triple-planked on the bias. I've repaired boats my whole adult life here on Long Island, and never found the sense of waterproofing the inside of an unexposed area. In fact, the bit of rain water and urine that reached the wood on the inside of the Ark would have tightened-up the seams. Oh well..that's all I have to saySmile

Joseph F. Gambino - 5/19/2010 12:14:05 AM

5/19/2010 1:33 PM #

"3. In one of the photos of the rooms, straw is seen on the floor and even a spider web in one of the corners.  Really!  Do spiders live at 13,000 or 14,000 feet?  Can they survive the freezing temperatures?"

I have not seen this spider web, plus they may be hard to see in the dimly-lit space, especially so in a corner. However, even if there is a spider web, you would have to prove that there is a living spider on the web in order for your accusation to have any merit.
But first, it would be good to point out this claimed intact spider web in the photograph. That would have been very helpful.

Personally, their ark "discovery" presentation is the most extensive I have ever seen.

JimS - 5/19/2010 1:33:16 PM

5/20/2010 4:57 AM #

the answer to Mr. Gambino is found here: 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress [c] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out (Gen. 6)

and here

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
(Gen. 6)

So it is safe to conclude he waterproofed inside as well as out.

dr. david t. - 5/20/2010 4:57:01 AM

5/21/2010 8:48 AM #

An important proof would be to obtain an actual small piece of the wood claimed to actually be from the Ark. Then isotope studies could be done to determine the climatic environmental conditions which existed during pre-flood in which these presumably old growth cypress trees (resinous wood trees) grew. The impotance of determining the oxygen isotope values with each other is because if they were of a pre-flood clamtic environment, then the wood would be completely devoid of any Oxygen-18 (heavier isotope originating off oceans) and strictly Oxygen-16 (originating from springs, lakes, streams, etc). This has already been proven to be the case regarding mummified wood preserved at the poles, hence the biblical account of Genesis in relation to a minerotrophic hydrological system as opposed to the way we understand weather patterns today originating from storms off the world's oceans.

Eocene - 5/21/2010 8:48:11 AM

5/21/2010 10:37 PM #

Woah!  I think that everyone is missing the most remarkable element of this whole operation.  If this would be the actual ark, it should be revered and held as the most important find of modern man.  I don't care who finds it, if they are not going to put this up for the entire world to know that it is real and treat the artifacts with the care and dignity demanded, then they do not even know what they found.  Frankly, how dare someone claim to have the ark, something to which all people of the earth would trace their ancestry!  It would not just be a Christian find, but a find for every man and woman descendent on the planet.  I really have to think that only a Bozo would make such a claim without concrete evidence.  I surely hope they did not find it by destroying the evidence in the process.

Glen N - 5/21/2010 10:37:59 PM

3/12/2011 4:33 AM #

People will never be convinced by biblical 'proofs'. If "weaker Christians", as one of the commentators here has put it, are made more sure in their faith by such discoveries, they have never met the risen Jesus in the first place. Such discoveries as a piece of the Ark may make those who have embraced the "cause" of Christianity more committed to that cause, but it will not cause make them to exhibit the traits and behaviours of Jesus. One can be no more 'Christian' than to have received God's Spirit, and to be walking daily in response to that event. Such intimacy with God is what Jesus died to make possible for us, and once one has known this, no amount of unearthing the ark's remains, including Noah's logbook, will add to that intimacy. Eternal Life, is to know God..... as Jesus put it.

Don - 3/12/2011 4:33:01 AM

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