Search for Noah's Lost Ark: History of the Search Part 2

About the search for Noah's Ark the ship from the Bible that saved man from the flood, history and background.

The Continuing Search for. . . Noah's Ark

THE SEARCH: With such sporadic, unverified reports about the ark's location, people were apparently content until the 19th century. Perhaps interest dwindled because there seemed to be no way of making certain that the stories were true; perhaps the difficulty in ascending the over 3-mi.-high Ararat was too great an obstacle. At any rate, the 1st modern ascent was made in 1829 by a German explorer, Dr. Friedrich Parrot. He discovered nothing belonging to an ark.

In 1896 at the World's Parliament of Religions, the exploit of an Indian archdeacon of the Nestorian Christian Church in Malabar, South India, was reported. "He said he had made 3 attempts to scale Mount Ararat before he succeeded. At last his toil was rewarded and he stood overwhelmed and awed as he saw the old ark there wedged in the rocks and half filled with snow and ice." The speaker added that the Indian "sincerely believed he had seen the ark and almost convinced others he had." The whole matter was greeted with some skepticism by men of the cloth, who asked jocularly if the Indian had seen "Mrs. Noah's corset hanging up in her bedroom."

Another wildly exaggerated and widely reported expedition was later discredited. It supposedly was made by a band of White Russian soldiers on the eve of the Russian Revolution; they claimed to have located the exact position of the ark. In 1930 a New Zealand archaeologist and mountain climber, Hardwicke Knight, did find some "soggy and dark" pieces of timber 9" to a foot in width at an elevation well above that of any known man-made structure and far above the timberline. Unfortunately these samples of wood did not survive the descent from their glacial protection, except as unidentifiable splinters.

In 1952, during late summer when the snows were at their thinnest, petroleum and mining engineer George Greene reconnoitered the area from a helicopter. He saw and photographed a "huge structure protruding from the ice" on a platform bordering a crevasse to the north and west of the summit at an altitude of around 16,000'. These photographs were eventually lost, and Greene, despite his enthusiasm for launching an expedition, abandoned his hopes for an official project in the face of the doubts and accusations he encountered from friends, family, and fellow scientists. However, in 1974, photographs taken by an earth-orbiting Skylab mission some 450 mi. above Ararat pinpointed a precise location for Noah's ark. The formation is at an elevation of around 14,000', in a crevasse covered with transparent ice, in the northeast quadrant of the mountain. Materials there, as revealed by the photograph and described by the Skylab crew, are "clearly foreign to anything else on the mountain and about the right size and shape to be an ark."

These 2 sets of photographs, taken in 1952 and 1974, constitute the most convincing modern evidence of the ark's existence. A French explorer, Fernand Navarra, brought back pieces of hand-tooled wood from near the summit of Mount Ararat. The samples were tested and analyzed in Bordeaux and Madrid laboratories, and validated as being no less than 3,000 years old. Navarra's book I Found Noah's Ark created a worldwide stir when it appeared in 1956.

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