2:22 am Eastern
By Joe Kovacs
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
A new claim is being made for the discovery of Noah's Ark, as evangelical explorers from China and Turkey believe they may have found the remnants of the legendary biblical vessel.
Is this a beam from Noah's Ark? Explorers with Noah's Ark Ministries International have released this photo of a wooden structure it says it has documented at an altitude of 13,000 feet on Mount Ararat in Turkey.
"It's not 100 percent that it is Noah's Ark but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it," Yeung Wing-cheung, a Hong Kong documentary filmmaker and member of the 15-person team from Noah's Ark Ministries International, told Agence France-Presse.
The team says it recovered wooden specimens from a structure on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey at an altitude of 13,000 feet and that carbon dating suggested it was 4,800 years old.
Several compartments, some with wooden beams, are said to be inside and could have been used to house animals, the group indicated.
Another NAMI explorer, Yuen Manfai, said at the Hong Kong news conference: "The search team and I personally entered a wooden structure high on the mountain. The structure is partitioned into different spaces. We believe that the wooden structure we entered is the same structure recorded in historical accounts and the same ancient boat indicated by the locals."
In this photo from Noah's Ark Ministries International, an explorer is investigating a wooden structure on Mount Ararat in Turkey that may be the remnant of Noah's Ark mentioned in the Bible.
The group of archaeologists ruled out an established human settlement, explaining one had never been found above 11,500 feet in the vicinity.
"The search team has made the greatest discovery in history," said Prof. Oktay Belli, an archaeologist at Istanbul University. "This finding is very important and the greatest up to now."
The structure reportedly found on Mount Ararat is surrounded by rock and ice (courtesy: Noah's Ark Ministries International).
Ahmet Ertugrul, leader of the search team, was first to get information on the location before commencing the hunt.
"I got to know the secret location in June 2008," he said. "The source told me that this is Noah's Ark. I took a team there for the search around the region and found a wooden structure. I took some photographs of the interior structure. Since I have worked closely with NAMI for some years, I informed them of the discovery."
Some video of the find has already been posted on YouTube and can be seen here:
The team also said local officials would ask the national government in Ankara to apply for United Nations World Heritage status so the site can be protected during an archaeological dig.
As WND has reported, after centuries of scouring the Earth for Noah's Ark, numerous claims have been flooding in over the past few years regarding possible discoveries of the Old Testament ship.
In June 2006, a 14-man crew that included evangelical apologist Josh McDowell said it returned from a trek to a mountain in Iran with possible evidence of the ark's remains.
The group, led by explorer Bob Cornuke, found an unusual object perched on a slope 13,120 feet above sea level.
They said some of the wood-like rocks they tested proved to be petrified wood.
Meanwhile, another ark hunter is the late Edward Crawford, a former draftsman illustrator for the U.S. military who taught Christian theology at Evergreen Bible Presbyterian Church in the Seattle area.
Crawford made numerous climbs up Ararat and said in 1990, he discovered a large, rectangular structure buried in the ice at an elevation of 14,765 feet.
"I don't have any doubt about it at all, and the Turks don't either," he told WND.
He said the structure sits under snow and ice, which he called "ridiculously hard stuff."
Crawford put much of his discovery online at a website called Project von Bora, where photographs and diagrams are available, and he believed the structure has 90-degree angles.
Edward Crawford believed a rectangular Noah's Ark lies at this location on Mount Ararat (courtesy Edward Crawford).
"Those don't happen in nature," he said. "If you think someone went up there to build that, it would take a greater miracle than the Flood [of Noah] itself."
Not far from Crawford's "structure" on Mount Ararat is something which made headlines in March 2006 with the release of a new, high-resolution digital image of what has become known as the "Ararat Anomaly."
Satellite image of 'Ararat Anomaly,' taken by DigitalGlobe's QuickBird Satellite in 2003 (courtesy: DigitalGlobe).
The location of the anomaly on the mountain's northwest corner has been under investigation from afar by ark hunters for years, but it has remained unexplored, with the government of Turkey not granting any scientific expedition permission to explore on-site.
"I've got newfound optimism ... as far as my continuing push to have the intelligence community declassify some of the more definitive-type imagery," Porcher Taylor, an associate professor in paralegal studies at the University of Richmond, said at the time.
For more than three decades, Taylor has been a national security analyst, and has also served as a senior associate for five years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
"I had no preconceived notions or agendas when I began this in 1993 as to what I was looking for," he said. "I maintain that if it is the remains of something man-made and potentially nautical, then it's potentially something of biblical proportions."
The anomaly remains ensconced in glacial ice at an altitude of 15,300 feet, and Taylor says the photos suggest its length-to-width ratio is close to 6:1, as indicated in the Book of Genesis.
The mountains of Ararat
Some 15 miles from Mount Ararat is perhaps the most well-known candidate vying for the title of Noah's Ark.
Many believe this is Noah's Ark, already found on a mountain next to Mt. Ararat (courtesy: wyattmuseum.com).
A boat-shaped object thought by many to be the fossilized remnants of the the vessel sits in Dogubayazit, Turkey, and was first photographed in 1959 by a Turkish air-force pilot on a NATO mapping mission.
It gained worldwide attention after its photo was published in a 1960 issue of Life Magazine.
The man most responsible for promoting this location as the ark's actual resting place from the Bible was Ron Wyatt, who died of cancer in 1999 after years of searching for biblical antiquities, who also claimed to have found the remains of Pharaoh's chariots that chased Moses through the Red Sea and the "true" location of Mount Sinai in Arabia.
In 2004, Wyatt's widow, Mary Nell Wyatt Lee, published a history of the discovery in a book titled, "The Boat-Shaped Object on Doomsday Mountain."
She writes that on Dec. 12, 1987, "it was the official decision of members of [Turkey's] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of Internal Affairs, and researchers from Ataturk University, among others, that the boat-shaped formation did indeed contain the remains of Noah's Ark!"
An Associated Press story from that month read:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A group of Turkish researchers has decided that a boat-shaped formation found in 1977 on a hill in eastern Turkey is the remains of Noah's Ark, a Turkish tourism official says.
Mary Nell's Cornersville, Tenn.-based foundation, Wyatt Archaeological Research, is filled with on-location photographs and charts promoting its case with physical evidence including radar scans of bulkheads on the alleged vessel, deck timber and iron rivets and large "drogue" stones, which are thought to have acted as types of anchors.
However, there's been no shortage of critics from both scientific and Christian circles who think the Dogubayazit site is erroneous.
Lorence Collins, a retired geology professor from California State University, Northridge, joined the late David Fasold, a one-time proponent of the Wyatt site, in writing a scientific summary claiming the location is "bogus."
"Evidence from microscopic studies and photo analyses demonstrates that the supposed Ark near Dogubayazit is a completely natural rock formation," said the 1996 paper published in the Journal of Geoscience Education. "It cannot have been Noah's Ark nor even a man-made model. It is understandable why early investigators falsely identified it."
In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible speaks of Noah and the ark, and Jesus Christ and the apostles Paul and Peter all make reference to Noah's flood as an actual historical event.
According to Genesis, Noah was a righteous man who was instructed by God to construct a large vessel to hold his family and many species of animals, as a massive deluge was coming to purify the world which had become corrupt.
Genesis 6:5 states: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Noah was told by God to take aboard seven pairs of each of the "clean" animals – that is to say, those permissible to eat – and two each of the "unclean" variety (Genesis 7:2).
Though the Bible says it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, it also mentions "the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days."
Genesis 8:4 does not say the ark rested on "Mount Ararat," but rather the "mountains of Ararat," and it was still months before Noah and his family – his wife, his three sons and the sons' wives – were able to leave the ark and begin replenishing the world.
Radio alert: Joe Kovacs is slated to discuss this story on Coast to Coast AM radio on the overnight tonight, appearing in the first hour of the show with host George Noory, at 1:05 a.m. Eastern Time.
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