Noah's Ark
© n/aThe alleged Noah's Ark discovery
A year ago, the world was a buzz with stories that Noah's ark was found in 2010 - a research expedition claimed to have actually found Noah's Ark.

According to a team of evangelical Christian explorers from Noah's Ark Ministries International (NAMI), they discovered the biblical boat in 2007.

They also claimed to have filmed portions of their find before they went public. That was in April 2010. Now, more than a year later, very little can be found on the "discovery" beyond the initial announcement.

Is it because the location and the find is being kept secret to protect the artifacts or is it because it was an elaborate hoax that fizzled out before it even took off?

Was Noah's Ark Found in 2010?

The NAMI explorers made some fantastic claims concerning the archaeological find. They claimed to have found wooden compartments near the peak of Mount Ararat; roughly 13,000 feet above seal level. A team member also describes the scene in great detail:
In October 2008, I climbed the mountain with the Turkish team. At an elevation of more than 4,000 meters, I saw a structure built with plank-like timber. Each plank was about 8 inches wide. I could see tenons, proof of ancient construction predating the use of metal nails.

We walked about 100 meters to another site. I could see broken wood fragments embedded in a glacier, and some 20 meters long. I surveyed the landscape and found that the wooden structure was permanently covered by ice and volcanic rocks.
At the time of the announcement, the explorers were quite sure of themselves. Though they were not 100% certain, they stated they were "99.9%" certain of their find.

The group even went as far as to get Ark researcher Gerrit Aalten to back up their claims.

In a press conference, he stated, "The significance of this find is that for the first time in history the discovery of Noah's Ark is well documented and revealed to the worldwide community." He even went on to say, "There's a tremendous amount of solid evidence that the structure found on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey is the legendary Ark of Noah."

So, with all of this solid evidence why is the find virtually unheard of?

Critics Poke Holes in the Discovery

The find of the biblical Noah's Ark just did not hold water for many people who heard the announcement. Historians, Archaeologists, and even Theologians began to poke holes in NAMI's story from the start.

Biologist Todd Wood
© n/aBiologist Todd Wood
Biologist Todd Wood, Director of the Center for Origins Research at Bryan College in Tennessee, believes that the explorers missed the mark because of various evidence concerning the wood of the structure.

Though many scientists do not agree on his theory around radiocarbon dating, he made a pretty solid point about finding any wood at all. A great flood, such as the one described in Genesis, would have washed the trees away.
"If you just got off the ark, and there's no trees, what are you going to build your house out of? You've got a huge boat made of wood, so let's use that," he said. "So I think it got torn apart and scavenged for building material basically."
Wood's theory is plausible because this type nautical recycling occurred all of the time in the maritime world. Other scientists believe the crew were in the wrong location entirely, others say there is not enough evidence to either confirm nor deny the claim. Then, there are the ones who believe the find is simply a hoax.

Was the Noah's Ark Discovery a Hoax?

Dr. Randall Price, head of Judaic Studies at Liberty University and once an associate of NAMI who later pulled out before the "find" was made, believed it is highly possible it was a hoax.

Yet, not a hoax perpetrated by the NAMI explorers. Dr. John Morris, lead archaeologist at the Institute for Creation Research, does not have high hopes either. He stated:
"I think we can't rule out the possibility that this is a hoax, because a lot of the things that happen in that region of the world, and especially with the Kurdish guides that are involved, are designed to try to extract money from gullible people. At best, it is an elaborate deception."
Turns out the hoax idea is gaining some steam. Earlier this year (January 2011), Dr. Price claimed he has gone to the site to witness the find for himself, and what he found was a far cry from anything truly archaeological.

By investigating the site and talking to local guides it seems that Price discovered that the thing was recently built by many of the locals. According to Price, the local man (who wished to remain anonymous) chronicled the spectacle quite vividly.

The anonymous local told Price that himself and several other locals were told they were being hired to build a movie set so that the Chinese could come and make a film about Noah's Ark. The local man stated that neither himself nor anyone else building the set had any idea that the construction would be used in a hoax.

Price stated the organizer of the construction project was also the lead guide on the NAMI expedition. Price contends it is this particular guide, who already has a less than stellar reputation, that is the true perpetrator of the hoax.

Nevertheless, NAMI stands by their guide and their find. Claiming that Price is only trying to discredit them to spark interest in his own Ark research project. However, it seems that Price may be on to something. No outside experts were able to evaluate any data from the NAMI expedition and no one has heard from them in over a year.

It is nearly impossible to get in touch with the organization for comment or follow-up. All of these issues point to the fact that the NAMI find was most certainly a hoax.

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