Noah's Ark discovery could be hoax, critic says

05 04 2010 ararat NASA's satellite image of Mt. Ararat.

The Christian Science Monitor published an article last week which cast doubt on the recent alleged discovery of Noah's Ark by a Turkish – Chinese expedition, quoting one critic who warned that the team may be victims of an elaborate “hoax.”

In a press conference in Hong Kong on April 25, members of Noah's Ark Ministries International (NAMI) claimed that they discovered a wooden structure in the Turkish mountains, whose fragments allegedly date back 4,800 years. According to the Bible, after the earth was flooded and the waters receded, Noah's ark ran aground on a mountain, which many believe to be Mt. Ararat – the highest point in the region.

On April 28, however, the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reported that Dr. Randall Price, a former member of the NAMI expedition, said that the recent discovery may not withstand closer observation.

“If the world wants to think this is a wonderful discovery, that’s fine,” Dr. Price said. “My problem is that, in the end, proper analysis may show this to be a hoax and negatively reflect how gullible Christians can be.”

Dr. Price, who currently heads the Center for Judaic Studies at Liberty University, said that he was an archeologist on the team in 2008 when the initial discovery was made. He told the Christian Science Monitor that he had “difficulties with a number of issues related to the evidence at hand” yet refrained from elaborating.

In leaked email from Dr. Price, CSM discovered that he had reason to believe that a group of local Kurdish men hauled the wood to the discovery site, staging a hoax for the NAMI team.

According to the doctor, the Kurdish workers “planted large wood beams taken from an old structure in the Black Sea area (where the photos were originally taken) at the Mt. Ararat site ...”

“During the summer of 2009 more wood was planted inside a cave at the site,” wrote the former team member in his email. “The Chinese team went in the late summer of 2009 (I was there at the time and knew about the hoax) and was shown the cave with the wood and made their film. As I said, I have the photos of the inside of the so-called Ark (that show cobwebs in the corners of rafters – something just not possible in these conditions)...”

Dr. Price, who confirmed that he wrote the email, has himself been a longtime searcher of Noah's Ark and had gone several expeditions to Mt. Ararat.

CSM reported last week that he was not the only one who withdrew from the NAMI team.

Current president for Dallas’ Institute for Creation Research, Dr. John D. Morris, has been a consultant for the team since 2005 but said that he declined to be at the NAMI press conference on April 25.

“I’m a scientist. I need to have good evidence,” he told CSM. “As of right now, there is not.” Although he doubts that Kurdish workers would have been able haul the wood to the site, he said the evidence remains inconclusive.

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