Seeing definitely is believing for a group of 15 religious explorers who claim to have uncovered a jaw-dropping glimpse into biblical times.
And, following the discovery of seven large wooden compartments on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey, it’s being argued that the quest to find remnants of ancient history’s most famous ship could now be over.
Apparently, the legendary Ark that housed Noah, his family and a menagerie of creatures during a global flood some 4,800 years ago, has finally docked.
“It's not 100% that it is Noah's Ark — but we think it is 99.9% that this is it,” said Yeung Wing-cheung, a filmmaker working with the team of fundamentalist Christians exploring the mountainside.
They claim that wood taken from the site, which is more than 13,000ft above sea level, dates to 2,800BC — around the same time that Noah was believed to have built such a vessel.
And they stressed the structure they located in October on Ararat — the biblical resting place of the Ark — does have areas that would be perfect for housing animals.
If indeed it is the Ark, the discovery would undoubtedly be the greatest coup in the history of archaeology — not to mention an affirmation of one of the most famous stories in the Bible.
In Genesis, the first book in the Old Testament, God tells Noah to build a boat that would be longer than a modern-day football field and more than three stories high.
Animals were subsequently sent in, two by two, to seek shelter in the ship alongside Noah and his family and ride out the flood sent to punish sinners.
The story was widely regarded as fact until the 19th century, when scientists began to question the evidence for a worldwide flood. But during a press conference held yesterday to announce the Ark’s discovery, the team claimed it was the real deal.
A video shown by the explorers — who are keeping the exact location of the find secret — also revealed a structure with compartments, doors, staircases and nails.
Four years ago, after a decade of research, American national security analyst Porcher Taylor claimed a satellite image revealed a baffling ‘anomaly' on the mountain's north-west corner that he believed to be the remains of the Ark.
However, Mike Pitt, a British archaeologist, said the evangelical explorers had yet to produce compelling evidence.
“If there had been a flood capable of lifting a huge ship 4km up the side of a mountain 4,800 years ago, I think there would be substantial geological evidence for this flood around the world — and there isn't,” he said.
Nicholas Purcell, a lecturer in ancient history at Oxford University, said the claims were the ‘usual nonsense'. He added: “If floodwaters covered Eurasia 12,000ft deep in 2,800BC, how did the complex societies of Egypt and Mesopotamia, already many centuries old, keep right on regardless?”
The story of Noah's Ark appears in chapters six to nine of the Book of Genesis.
It tells how God, spurred by the wickedness and corruption of man, vows to send a great cleansing flood. Deeming Noah to be the only righteous man worth saving, God commands him to build a vast ship, the ark - for himself, his family and a representation of the world's animals.
When Noah has completed his task, and God has sent ‘two of every sort' of animal to the Ark, the flood waters rise until all life (except fish) is destroyed. When the flood subsides, God vows to never again send a flood to destroy man.
Source: Belfast Telegraph