What Did the Chinese Find on Ararat?

Image from: www.arkinsight.nl

Researchers around the world continue to search for one of the most mysterious relics – Noah’s Ark, although the fact of its existence from the point of view of official history is still considered not fully proven.

In 2009, a group of Chinese researcher-enthusiasts made a sensational announcement to the world that the real Noah’s Ark had finally been found – the very one in which the biblical Noah saved himself, his family, and all kinds of animals from the Global Flood. At a press conference in Hong Kong, Professor Oktay Belli, the director of the Institute of Eurasian Archaeology at Istanbul University, said: “The search group has made the greatest discovery in history. On Mount Ararat, human settlements never rose above 3500 meters. Mount Ararat is a holy place. Many people sought the Holy Ark on the mountain. This is a real discovery – the first serious expedition in which the team found a wooden structure under the ice”.

This was the first time in history when it was possible to document on video a large part of the wooden structure on the mountain, which was previously mentioned by other researchers. The remains of the legendary ship were found by Chinese seeker-filmmakers from a group called Noah’s Ark Ministries International (NAMI), which is based in Hong Kong. More about the find in 2010 was told by NAMI’s director Yeung Wing-Cheung.

“Of course, there is not one hundred percent certainty that the legendary ship was found, but it can be assumed with 99.9 percent certainty that this is it.”

It’s strange that believers, who found, as they claim, a large wooden ship on Ararat, do not have one hundred percent certainty that it is Noah’s Ark. So what is it then? Naturally, skeptics immediately had a big question, did the Chinese really find something worthy of attention or are they once again deceiving people about Ark finds, as happens many times each year, anywhere, even thousands of km from Ararat. But another member of the expedition, Man-Fai Yuen, said that the path to Noah’s Ark was shown to the researchers by the Kurds, who led them along secret trails on the slope of Mount Ararat in October 2009. The ship was located at an altitude of just over 4 thousand meters. The Chinese even filmed all their findings on video and posted them online so that everyone could see and be convinced. All materials are available on the official website of the research group.

We saw a frozen wooden platform with fragments of walls around the edges, all reminiscent of the remains of a huge wooden box. We even went inside and saw several compartments separated by wooden beams. Most likely, animals were housed there, as even remnants of hay were found.

However, skeptics did not accept the version that this was the very hay that Noah fed the animals, because there were no traces of animals at such heights, and large animals clearly could not pass through the very narrow corridors, as can be seen on the video. And hay, as is known, was used by primitive people in caves – they slept on it.

The Chinese broke off several pieces from one of the beams to take organic material for dating, and radiocarbon analysis showed that this wood is approximately 4800 years old. This date turned out to be close to that which was revealed by the Anglo-American archaeological expedition in 1922-1934 under the leadership of Charles Leonard Woolley during the excavation of the city of Ur on the Euphrates. Archaeologists found a layer of silt 3 meters thick, which was quite serious evidence that in these places in ancient times there was a local flood, though not global, but quite catastrophic, and it occurred about 5000 years ago.

In the first half of the 20th century, research in Mesopotamia showed that layers of clay lying beneath the ancient cities of Ur, Kish, Uruk, and Shuruppak have different ages and reflect the fact that there was not one flood or “deluge”, but several at different times. But none of them, as most scientists believe, could lead to Noah, or rather his real Sumerian-Akkadian prototype Utnapishtim, sailing to Ararat with his ark. Even in the case of a very powerful tsunami from the Indian Ocean, which during floods could well carry out the ships of the Sumerians through the gorges of rivers to the southern regions of the Armenian highlands bordering Mesopotamia, there would still be about 250 km to Ararat. The Qur’an calls the place of landing “Judi-dag”, which translates as “Mountain of Judgment Day” (modern Southeastern Turkey, south of Lake Van, in Armenian – gavar Korduk). The arguments of scientists are quite simple: the sources of the great rivers of Mesopotamia, the Tigris and Euphrates, though they are located in the Armenian highlands, are many hundreds of kilometers away from Ararat, so no tsunamis with sea waves could ever reach it even through the gorges.

So what was the wooden platform with corridors, walls, and rooms that the Chinese discovered? Few directly accuse them of falsification, but it is often implied that they could have filmed this somewhere else.

But it is necessary to remember that the discovery of various wooden fragments on Ararat has been taking place regularly since ancient times. Let’s look at the most interesting ones. The first mentions of the Ark after salvation date back to the beginning of the 3rd century BC. The Babylonian priest and historian Berosus (about 350 – 270 BC) wrote that in Armenia, remnants of a ship were preserved, the owner of which he calls by the Sumerian name in ancient Greek writing Xisuthros: “The place where they were located was in Armenia … It is said that to this day, a remainder of this ark is still preserved on Mount Cordy in Armenia and that some take resin from it, using it in most cases as a remedy against diseases”.

Other ancient scholars wrote about this too, for example, the ancient Greek historian and philosopher Nicholas of Damascus in his “World Chronicle” says: “Above the area of Miniada there is a high mountain in Armenia named Baris (Masis), on which, according to tradition, many people sought refuge and found salvation during the flood. It is also reported that someone in the ark stopped at its top and that for a long time the remains of this ship were preserved (here). Perhaps this is the very person about whom both Moses, the Jewish legislator, wrote”.

The ancient Jewish historian Josephus Flavius (about 37 – about 100) in his work “Jewish Antiquities” reported that the Armenians call the location of the “ark” “the place of landing” and show those who wish its remains. “A part of the ship can still be found today in the mountains of Armenia – there people collect resin to make amulets. The Armenians call this place where the ark was left to lie forever, a mooring and show its parts that have been preserved to this day”.

The Echmiadzin Relic

In Echmiadzin, in the residence of the Catholicos of the Armenians, there is a small piece of wood, which is one of the main relics of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Tradition claims that this is a fragment of Noah’s Ark, which the Lord gave in a dream to Saint Jacob Mtsbnetsi (Jacob of Nisibis, Armenian: Հակոբ Մծբնացի).

This piece of wood, framed in a gold casing and inlaid with gems, has been kept in the cathedral of the primordial Echmiadzin for over a thousand and a half years. A chipped piece can be seen at the bottom left. In 1766, a small part of the relic was given as a gift to the Russian Empress Catherine II by Catholicos Simeon I. According to a legend recorded by the Armenian historian Faustus of Byzantium (“History of Armenia”, book THREE, chapter X), the first search for the remains of the ark began in the 4th century, immediately after Christianity was declared the state religion of Armenia in 301. The saint – Bishop Jacob of Nisibis intended to climb to the top of Ararat for this purpose. However, feeling very tired along the way, the saint lay down to rest on the slope of the mountain. And God sent an Angel to him in a dream, who said that it was impossible to go further. This passage is described literally by Buzand as follows: “The Lord has heard your prayers and fulfilled your request; what lies at your head is a piece of the ark’s tree; I myself brought it for you; from there it is. You should not strive to see it any more; you won’t see another; the Lord wished so.” Waking up, Saint Jacob saw a small piece of petrified wood under his head, with which he returned full of joy, which can still be seen in Echmiadzin today. On the slopes of Masis, the Armenian monastery Surb Akop was soon founded in the village of Ahuri (Akori). In 1829, Friedrich Parrot and Khachatur Abovyan made an ascent to Ararat from this village.

However, surprisingly, Faustus of Byzantium himself, who told this story, calls the mountain that Saint Jacob climbed Sararad and, in complete agreement with modern scientists, places it in the very south of the Armenian Highlands in the gavar (district) of Korduk (Armenian: Կորդուք) of the ashkhar (province) of Korchayk (Corduene, Armenian: Կորճայք) of Greater Armenia. That is, it turns out to be the same mountain Jabal Judi, known as the mountain of Judgement Day in the Quran. Why is it called Sararad and not Ararat? According to the version of the outstanding Armenian philologist, linguist, and translator of works of ancient Armenian authors into modern Armenian, academician Stepan Malkhasyants (1857-1947), such a form came from the incorrect division of two words written together in Armenian “lerins ararata” (Mount Ararat), where the last letter of the first word “s” got into the second word as its first letter.

The Turkish government officially “closed” the slope of Ararat for searching for the remains of the ark back in 1974. But the Kurds continue to accompany those who wish to climb the sacred mountain for a fee.

American linguist, researcher, and author of numerous books on the mysteries of history, Charles Berlitz (1913-2003), in his 1987 book “The Lost Ship of Noah: In Search of the Ark at Ararat,” cites the testimony of Armenian Gevorg Akoian, who claimed that in 1905, as an 8-year-old boy, he climbed Mount Ararat with his grandfather. They found the Ark and went inside. On the upper deck, they saw many windows. The hull was immense and as hard as stone.

In 1940, an interview with a former pilot of the Tsarist army, Lieutenant Vladimir Roskovitsky, appeared in the American magazine “New Eden.” He claimed that he discovered the Ark in 1916 during a reconnaissance flight over the mountain. Nicholas II received a report about this from the squadron captain and ordered an expedition of 150 people to be outfitted. They soon reached the location and were able to see the discovery.

According to Roskovitsky, the ship looked like a gigantic barge and a freight car at the same time. Inside, there were many rooms – large and small.

“We were very puzzled by the unusual size of the object: upon close examination, it seemed as long as a whole block of houses, and it could easily be compared to a battleship. It was ‘moored’ to the shore of the lake and was half underwater.

One side at the very bow was disassembled, and on the other side were large gates measuring about six square meters with only one door. We were very surprised by the large area of the gates, as it is very unusual for a ship…”, was how the pilot’s description was quoted in the 1940 article.

Unfortunately, the expedition reports and photos disappeared during the revolution. Shortly after publication, it turned out that most of the descriptions were invented by the publisher to increase the volume of the article and its appeal. However, the fact of the find by the Russian military was not a fabrication. A few years later, American researcher Violet Cummings managed to find new witness accounts of the 1916 expedition, which she writes about in her book “Noah’s Ark and the Dead Sea Scrolls.” This story is so fascinating that it deserves a separate and detailed telling, but at another time.

In 1955, French explorer Fernand Navarra, along with his 15-year-old son Gabriel, climbed Mount Ararat. They managed to discover a ship 150 meters long and even saw off a piece of the ship’s frame about 15 centimeters long. A year later, F. Navarra released a book about his ascent on Ararat with numerous photographs of the area, frame drawings, radiocarbon analysis data, and other materials. In 1969, he conducted another expedition and took several boards from the ship.

So what’s the result? A large wooden object on Ararat, which according to Roskovitsky looks like a gigantic barge or a freight car, and described by so many witnesses, obviously exists. The Chinese seem to have found this place, thereby confirming with their photos and videos the truth of all previous testimonies about it. But why haven’t they announced the exact coordinates yet, and they don’t have a hundred percent confidence that this is Noah’s Ark? It is clear to everyone that if you have made such a great discovery, then make the last step, let the world science convince itself and confirm that Noah’s Ark has finally been found, and all skeptics will have to admit and come to terms. But for the past 12 years, the whole Internet has been discussing why they haven’t done it yet. Different answers were given, but the most convincing was quite simple. Archaeologists saw the photos and videos of the find, but categorically refused to recognize it as Noah’s Ark. It’s understandable, for them a wooden structure is just a wooden structure. One of the Turkish archaeologists interpreted it as a temple from the times of Urartu. To prove that it’s exactly Noah’s Ark is another task. The findings of hay remnants, like the wooden walls themselves, are not evidence in themselves. Therefore, it is quite logical that the discovery was announced to the whole world, but precise coordinates were not given to avoid refutation. However, the situation has changed recently.

In November 2020, it was announced that NAMI and the ArkInsight Foundation were closing down. It was also stated that this archaeological monument was now under the protection of Turkish authorities, who had enlisted the help of senior scientists to study it. No new announcements regarding the investigation of the find have been made. Recent news showed that in early August, ice on Ararat began to melt intensively and flow downwards. This could be the start of an eruption, which have occurred in the past. Ararat consists of two dormant volcanic cones fused at their bases: Greater Ararat and Lesser Ararat.

They erupted in the third millennium BC; artifacts from the early Bronze Age and human remains were found beneath the hardened pyroclastic flows.

The last eruption of Ararat took place on July 2, 1840; it was accompanied by a strong earthquake. As a result of an avalanche, the St. James Monastery and the Armenian village of Ahuri, located on the northern slopes of the mountain, were destroyed. Two thousand people died from water and mud flows pouring down from above. Today, the village is called Yenidoğan and is inhabited by Kurds.

If the unique find is swept away by a melting glacier, it will simply be destroyed. Then it will become even more difficult to prove anything. And the viewpoint that no sea waves through Mesopotamia could reach Ararat under any cataclysms will become definitively dominant. Although… In reality, the sea lapped at the very foot of Ararat relatively recently even by historical standards. But that’s another page of the prehistoric history of Armenia, which we’ll talk about sometime later.

by Armen Petrosyan

Translated by Vigen Avetisyan

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