Most of us know the story surrounding Noah’s Ark. According to the Book of Genesis and Quran it is a vessel. As found in these narratives God instructed Noah to build a an ark to save himself, his family as well as all the world’s animals from the deluge of the Great Flood. Further the story says that when God saw wickedness of men he decided to cleanse the Earth. However, Noah was a righteous man and decided to spare him and his family along with many species of animals. Thus the ark was built. This narrative was considered to be a work of fiction in the earlier centuries. But research into the reality of Noah’s Ark started from late 1800s or early 1900s. Discovery of Noah’s Ark was considered one of history’s mysteries.
Recently a team of Turkish and Chinese explorers known as the Noah’s Ark Ministries International claimed to have found the remains of Noah’s Ark beneath snow and volcanic debris on Mount Ararat in Turkey. According to the team, they had found the seven large wooden compartments buried at 13,000 feet above sea level close to the peak of Mount Ararat. They returned back in 2009 to film a footage of their finding. Many Christians believe Mount Ararat to be the final resting place Noah’s Ark. It is mentioned in the Bible: “The ark rested . . . upon the mountains of Uratu” Genesis 8:4. Uratu is the Hebrew translation of Ararat. The structure discovered is partitioned into different spaces which are similar to the description of the Ark in Bible. Further, the radiocarbon dating of the wooden samples from the site suggests that the structure is about 4,800 years old, which would roughly coincide with the time frame of the Great Flood mentioned in the Bible.
Though the Noah’s Ark Ministries seem to be a confident bunch about their finding there are many sceptics too. Biologist Todd Wood feels that radiocarbon dating of wood reflect less time than the materials actual timeframe. “Radiocarbon dating estimates the ages of organic objects by measuring the radioisotope carbon 14, which is known to decay at a set rate over time. The method is generally thought to reach its limit with objects about 60,000 years old. Earth is generally thought to be about four and a half billion years old.” Thus the wood samples are way too young to match with the time of the Great Flood. Another scholar Jack Sasson feels that Noah’s Ark never landed on Mount Ararat as there is no geological evidence of the Great Flood in Turkey or near the foothills of Mount Ararat. So may be the researchers have spent their time in a wrong mountain in Turkey. Some even feel there was no truth in the Noah’s Ark at all and it was an allegory intended to refrain humans from performing wicked acts.
Whatever be the view of the sceptics the Turkish government has already applied to the UN to convert the spot into UNESCO World Heritage site. Such a designation is only given to places that have special cultural, historical or physical significance.