Search Revived for Noah's Ark
The San Francisco Chronicle
A mysterious boat-shaped formation nestled more than a mile up a
mountain in eastern Turkey has drawn attention away from the craggy
slopes of nearby Mount Ararat, where the Bible says Noah's Ark came
Several American explorers have said the formation, on a mountain
14 miles south of Mount Ararat near the Soviet border, could be the
legendary ark and should be dug out.
Explorers have long searched for the ark on the high slopes of
Mount Ararat, Turkey's tallest mountain at 17,820 feet, where the
biblical account of the Great Flood places it.
Then in 1957, Turkish air force pilots spotted the boat-shaped
formation in Agri province while flying overhead.
The government did not pursue the sighting, however. Then entire
area, including Mount Ararat, was off limits to foreigners because
of Soviet complaints that explorers included U.S. agents who spied
on Soviet border fortifications.
When the government lifted the ban in 1982, fundamentalist
Christians and mountain climbers rushed to the area.
In 1984, a team from International Expeditions, based in Los
Angeles, visited the area near the village of Uzengili where the
boat-shaped formation had been spotted.
Marvin Steffins, who led the expedition, said then that the team
found the ark. But the group did not return to substantiate the
Last year another team, led by Ron Wyatt of Madison,
Tenn., climbed to the spot, at the 6385-foot level, and made an
"The boat is there, it is only a matter of digging it up," Wyatt
said at the time.
David Fasold, a marine surveyor from Stuart, Fla., who was with
the Wyatt expedition, returned this year. He said in an interview
that he was awaiting Turkish permission to excavate the
That permission may never come. The governor of Agri province,
where both the boat-shaped formation and Mount Ararat are located,
has said only Turks will be allowed to excavate the area.
Governor Kutlu Aktas said he has invited Turkish geologists and
archeologists to study the formation and, if necessary, dig it out
to determine the truth.
Fasold said the object is shaped like a reed boat, stern up, and
is covered with hardened soil. He said it is nestled on the side of
a hill close to a large rock formation.
Fasold claims a metal detector indicated there was iron at
regular 16-inch intervals along the object, possibly showing nails
in the boat.
The book of Genesis says Noah's Ark washed up on the mountains of
Ararat after the great deluge. The Moslem holy book, the Koran, says
the boat came to rest on Judi, a Turkish mountain 200 miles
southeast of Ararat.
"As a marine surveyor, the first time I saw the formation I said
to myself, `that's a shipwreck,' " Fasold said.
He said the formation's measurements - 515 feet long and 137 feet
wide - also correspond roughly to those given in the Bible for the
The Bible says the ark was 300 cubits long and 50 cubits wide. A
cubit, an ancient form of measurement, is thought to have been 18 to
22 inches. That would make the ark at least 450 feet long.