Noah's Ark Discovery? Some Skeptical

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Has Noah's Ark been found?

Explorers in Turkey claim they have discovered the wreckage of history's most famous ship. But it's not the first time claims like this have been made.

Noah's Ark Ministries International claims to have found and explored Noah's Ark high on Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey.

Video provided by NAMI shows team members making their way through ice caves containing frozen wood, cut beams, rope, and other items.

The team rappelled down into some intertior spaces, collected samples, and took numerous measurements.

Web Extra:  See video of the NAMI team when they first see a wooden structure on Mount Ararat.

The Hong Kong-based team says the structure shows some evidence of ancient ship building techniques. NAMI says wood samples from the site have been carbon dated to 4,800 years old, which would coincide with the Biblical account of the flood.

The team claims to have explored seven separate areas of the structure.

The Christian Science Monitor and a number other organizations are already calling the find a hoax. The Monitor quotes Dr. Randall Price, an Ark researcher and professor at Liberty University. He says he was with the team in a 2008 expedition to the site. Price claims in a leaked e-mail that a group of Kurdish men transported ancient wood beams to the site and planted them there.

However, Dr. John Morris, the president of Dallas' Institute for Creation Research, disagrees. He led 13 expeditions to Mt. Ararat between 1970 and 1990.

"I think it would be highly unlikely that anybody could carry wood up.… I don't think there's fraud involved. But that is a possibility," Morris told the Monitor.

Morris says one alternative is that the site is a post-flood settlement. The site is located at an elevation of 13,000 feet on the barren mountain. No evidence of human settlement has been found on Mt. Ararat higher than 10,000 feet.

All researchers agree closer study of the site is needed before any definitive conclusions can be made.

NAMI and the Turkish government have applied to UNESCO to list the area as a world heritage site. They plan to conduct a full archaeological excavation at the site in the near future.

*Originally published April 30, 2010. 

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