The Ark of
Noah----UPDATE: FOUND (Rediscovered)!!!!
Clip of Rooms Within Ark
Press Conference in Hong Kong
Introductory Quote from The
Revelations of Jesus Christ:
9 And thus he became the Prince of Peace
and behold the righteousness of the people became exceedingly great, for they
did hearken unto the words of Melchizedec, and they, even they, did attain unto
the righteousness of the City of Enoch, even Zion, as before the flood—for
Melchizedec did preach unto the inhabitants round about many years after the Ark
came to rest upon Mount Ararat, upon which mount it resteth to this day, saith
the Lord, being preserved by the ice and snow—which Zion, saith the Lord, was
built by Enoch and his brethren upon this the American continent.
10 And Enoch was the great-grandfather
of Noah, after the flesh.
(taken from explorer's website:
http://www.noahsarksearch.net/eng/): While searching for the remains
of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey, a Chinese-Turkish
exploration team successfully excavated and
ventured inside a large wooden structure at an elevation of more than 4,000m
above sea level. Wood specimens were dated as 4,800 years old. Officials of
Turkish government and Cultural Ministries highly regarded the finds and
jointly announced the discovery with the exploration team in Hong Kong. They planned
to submit an application for the wooden structure to be included on UNESCO’s
World Heritage List. A mutual agreement for further co-operation was signed
and the Hong Kong team members were recognized as
Honorable Citizens of Agri Province, Turkey.
In the press conference on April 25,
Consul General of Turkey, Mr. Mehmet Raif Karaca, was invited to come and
support the great achievements of the exploration team in the aspect of the search
for Noah’s Ark.
Historical accounts dating back more than 2,000 years maintain that ‘Noah’s
Ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat after the Great Flood’. The same
records can be found in the Bible and the Koran. In the local region, a
saying passed down through the generations goes: ‘There is an ancient boat
on the mountain’.
The weather is unmerciful in winter
The earliest record of Ark search by a Western scientist was German
naturalist Dr. Friedrich Parrot, who climbed the Mount Ararat in 1829.
Although he failed to find substantial evidence for the proof, he was the
forerunner in the field – in the following 200 years, many scientists and
explorers have been dedicated to search an ancient boat that matches the
historical records. However, the greatest result of Western research in two
centuries was the retrieval of wood fragments in glacier at an elevation of
above 4,000m on Mount Ararat. From an objective scientific point of view,
the discovery of wood on Mount Ararat is encouraging because scientists
maintain that high mountain altitudes are depleted of trees and no human
settlement has ever been found above an elevation of 3,000 metres. Wood
fragments discovered in the past may have come from the Ark.
The discovery of the wood structure
Noah’s Ark Ministries International achieves a breakthrough in the
search. The team first located a site on an
elevation of above 4,000m, excavated the glacier, found and ventured inside
the wood structure. Man-fai YUEN, a representative of NAMI said in the press
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.” Team members entered the wooden
structure and proceeded to conduct field studies, take measurements and
collect samples, with the entire process filmed. This is the first team in history ever to
visually document the interior of the wood structure on the mountain.
Ahmet Ertugrul, the search team leader, was the first to
get information on the location and then started the search. He explained,
“I got to know the secret location in June 2008. 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.”
Space 2 - Tenon contruction was found in the
structure witnessed by Panda Lee
The search extended for nearly two years. A milestone was marked by one
of the team members, Panda Lee, who
went for a pioneer climb to witness the existence of a wood structure high
above an altitude of 4,000m. He also surveyed the landscape, preparing for
further search. Panda Lee said, “In October 2008, I climbed the mountain
with the Turkish team. At an elevation of more
than 4,000 metres, I saw a structure built with plank-like timber. Each
plank was about 8 inches wide. I could see tenons, proof of ancient
construction predating the use of metal nails. We walked about 100 metres to
another site. I could see broken wood fragments embedded in a glacier, and
some 20 metres long. I surveyed the landscape and found that the wooden
structure was permanently covered by ice and volcanic rocks. Prior to my
expedition, the Turkish team had excavated the site to
expose the structure.”
Following Panda’s confirmation, although search activities were
interrupted by unmerciful weather and tense situation, the quest was
relentlessly conducted for a whole year. Finally, in October 2009, a film
crew accompanied the search team to document the
expedition. Six Hong Kong team members entered the wooden
structure, with Fiona Leung the sole female member. She says, “The
expedition was difficult. We stayed a few days in base camp at 2,800 metres
above sea level in order to acclimatize. All of us suffered various symptoms
of mountain sickness. The weather on Mount Ararat was unpredictable. Fine
sunny weather would be overwhelmed by heavy fog in an instant. The
difference in day and night temperatures was as large as 30 degrees Celsius.
At night, temperatures dropped below minus 20 degrees C and one night it
even snowed. The last section of the route leading to the site was very
rugged. We negotiated steep terrain of 60 degrees and could see rock basalts
rolling towards us: the sunshine caused melting snow to loosen, which rolled
down. Some of the rock basalts were as large
as a head and could seriously have injured anyone hit”
Seven spaces revealed
The wood structure discovered by the team is broken, so members
entered the structure through various openings. Up to now, the team has discovered seven
spaces. One of the team members, Wing-cheung YEUNG
explains during the press conference (please refer to the DVD):“
One of the spaces discovered is frozen by ice. Under ice is wood
with wood beam above. There is tenon construction on the wall and it is
obvious artificial structure.
The space witnessed by Panda Lee is L-shaped. This is the first
discovered space. It’s L-shaped and its features match well with some
spaces discovered later, like tenon construction. We concluded that it
was originally a box-shaped room and heavily decomposed.
This space stands at more than 5 metres high. Team members had to get through
a broken opening and abseil down to get inside. All walls are wood and
the space is not box-shaped. Strictly speaking, the walls are not vertical but rather curved and
inclined. The small door on one side, of dimensions one meter high and
half meter width, presumably leads to another space but our team did not risk going further
due to the lack of oxygen.
This room is box-shaped, having a dimension of height, width and
length of more than two metres. There is a wooden beam with wooden nails
on one side of the wall. It is believed that a rope was hooked on these
nails to keep animals in place. On another side of the wall, there are
A very small tunnel-like space connects two spaces.
A few wooden staircases were found inside the structure, which
seemingly craved by tree logs. Our team climbed one and found a
door in the ceiling and concluded the wood structure has more than one
floor. We tried to open it but failed. Since we did not want to destroy
the structure, we will try again with appropriate equipment in the
The team has not entered this
space. They viewed and took shots from a small opening above. The height
and width are estimated to be 5 metres and 12 metres respectively. ”
Attending experts and government officials agreed that the discovery is
of great significance. In light of historical records, they believe that the
most probable explanation is Noah’s Ark and subsequent scientific studies
should be undertaken. Mr. Gerrit Aalten, renowned Dutch Ark researcher said,
“The significance of this find is that for the first time in history the
discovery of Noah’s Ark is well documented and revealed to the worldwide
community.” With more than 30 years experience in collecting information,
Mr. Aalten believes that detailed eyewitness accounts made the Ark puzzle
complete because they all together mentioned the same significant details
that exactly match this astonishing find on the mountain. He continued,
“Just a few of the many details that are matching this find: …the height
it’s found on, which is above “the 4000 meters level”;
another detail is, the way the Ark is situatedon the
mountain which is: “slightly tilted”; …that it has a
” reddish/brown wood appearance”, …the end of the Ark
“is decayed and broken and has a hole” through which one can enter;
…it is most partly “embedded in the ice and rock debris”;…and
that the Ark is “very solid and of high quality”; …and
”very dark, long and rectangular”. In conclusion, Mr.
Aalten said , “there’s a tremendous amount of solid evidence that
the structure found on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey, is the legendary Ark
An archaeologist, Professor Oktay Belli said, “The search team has made the greatest
discovery in history. This finding is very important and the greatest up to
now. On Mount Ararat, human settlement has never reached up to 3,500 m.
Mount Ararat is a holy place and has rich historical accounts about Noah’s
Ark on the mountain. Many people have searched the mountain for the holy
Ark. This time’s discovery is the first serious search that the team found a wood structure
Dr. Ahmet Özbek, a Turkish geologist explained how the condition has
helped preserve the structure for thousands years without decay or
petrifying. He said that “In present days, the permanent snow line on Mt.
Ararat is 3,900 meters. The wood structure was found higher than 4,000
meters.” The low temperature and environmental condition of glacier deposits
and volcanic material helped the preservation. He also explained that the
proportion by weight of wood material was able to carry loads up to 5 times
its weight. So this structure can bear heavy weight without breaking into
Turkish government officials, Mr. Murat Güven, Lieutenant Governor of
Agri Province, Mr. Muhsin Bulut, Cultural Ministries Director of Agri
Province and Mr. Ibrahim Sahin, District Secretary of Dogubayazit City
appreciated the effort put forward by the search team and thanked them for the
discovery of Noah’s Ark. It would be shocking news to the world. Mr. Muhsin
Bulut, Cultural Ministries Director of Agri Province said, “For more than
2,000 years, historical and eyewitnesses accounts tell us that there is an
ancient boat on Mt. Ararat which survived a great flood and landed on the
mountain. People believed that it is Noah’s Ark. I believe the team has finally located this
ancient boat and I believe it is Noah’s Ark.” The Turkish government
officials will help further scientific search of NAMI in the future.
Attendees will invite the participation of scientists and will be committed
to scientific search to reveal the truth of Noah’s Ark. They read and signed
a co-operation agreement:
“We, the undersigned, agree to collaborate on scientific search and study
related to Noah’s Ark on Mt. Ararat.
The results are of significance to the whole world in that humankind should
cherish its common beliefs and origins.
We believe that the discovery of Noah’s Ark will resolve centuries of
national ideological conflict.
We are dedicated to working towards a better, peaceful world.”
Hong Kong people are recognized as Honorable
Citizens for the first time
In appreciation of the Hong Kong search team’s dedication and
contribution to the Ark search on Mount Ararat in Agri Province and its
subsequent discovery, Mr. Murat Güven, Lieutenant Governor of Agri Province
announced four of the team members as Honourable
Citizens. They are the first foreigners to be recognized this status.
Ark search on Mount Ararat
Aug 2008 to Oct 2009 were rived with hardships
discovery was made in Oct 2009
During the expedition
in Oct 2009, the search team was accompanied by a film
The search team camped at 2,800 m above
sea level in order to acclimatise
The route leading to
the structure has a slope of more than 60 degrees
Mount Ararat is situated in Eastern
Seven Spaces Revealed
Space 4 - A wooden beam
with nails on one side of the wall. It is believed that a rope
was hooked on these nails to keep animals in place
Space 4 - Racks were
found on a wall
Space 4 - The entranc
is very small
Space 5 - A tunnel-like
space connects two spaces
Space 5 - Wood has
decayed in this space
Space 6 - A door in the
ceiling was found. It is concluded that the wooden structure has
more than one floor
Space 6 - A few wooden
staircases were found inside the structure
Space 7 - The height
and width are estimated to be 5 m and 12 m respectively. Square
openings were seen above
Space 2 - It is buried
under ice and volcanic rocks
Space 2 - In Oct 2009, Panda Lee witnessed a
wooden structure at an elevation of more than 4,000 m on Mt.
years after Insight filed an appeal charging that the CIA
withheld documents and imagery concerning the Mount Ararat anomaly in Turkey,
the CIA has released two new documents to Insight that indicate
the search for "Noah's Ark" reached the level of the White House
under former president George H.W. Bush.
The appeal, filed one month after Insight's exclusive story (see
or Noah's Ark?"; Nov. 20, 2000), comes on the heels of the CIA's
releasing thousands of satellite images, which soon will be available at
National Imagery and Mapping Agency Website. It is unclear whether images of Mount Ararat will be included. Insight's
exclusive story marked the first time the public was able to see
high-resolution photographs of the anomaly, located at 39 degrees 42 minutes
north latitude and 44 degrees 16 minutes east longitude. Insight
contracted with Space Imaging to maneuver its IKONOS
satellite to zoom in on the anomaly. Afterwards, Insight hired a
team of scientists and engineers to examine the pictures and to deterimine whether the object in question was man-made or
rock. Four of the experts claim it's man-made, two believe it's
rock and one says the evidence is inconclusive.
Unfortunately, the release of the additional records does not offer any more
proof of what the object might be, but only raises more questions as to why the
CIA continues to hold such records as classified.
One of the records released is a 1995 memo from an agent who had a conversation with John Hanford, then a member of Sen.
Richard Lugar's (R-Ind.) staff. Hanford apparently recalled a
White House meeting under the George H.W. Bush administration
in which Robert Gates, then National Security director, showed one of the old
images of the Mount Ararat area to various people at the meeting.
"Mr. Hanford said that imagery showed something sticking out from the ice
and snow — but that it could have been almost anything."
The memo was triggered by a newspaper article that suggested Mount Ararat imagery might be made
public under former president Bill Clinton's decision to release historical
documents. The CIA agent says in the memo that such imagery "might or
might not be included in the declassified materials."
The other record concerned a review the George H.W.
Bush administration conducted between 1990 and 1992 concerning Mount Ararat. The record was in
response to former CIA director James Woolsey's requesting what it might cost
to undertake a more exhaustive review of all the material. At the time, the
price was considered too high to do such a search. Woolsey was told it would
take an analyst six months to complete such a study. It appears that study
never was completed.
Insight still may receive additional records. The CIA has asked
other agencies to review specific records for possible release in the near
future. In the meantime, Insight is reviewing its options on
whether to pursue in federal court images taken by the CIA with its KH-9 remote-sensing satellite in 1973 and its KH-11 satellite in 1976, 1990 and 1992.
Timothy Maier is a writer for Insight.
"Much of the credit for obtaining the
Ararat Anomaly photos goes to Porcher Taylor. The 1949 photo above was released
to Mr. Taylor on March, 14, 1995, who requested the DIA photos using the Freedom
of Information Act.
While camping on the Western Plateau in 1989, Bob Garbe and I stood just above
the Ararat Anomaly."
In the summer of 1916, during the thaw, Lieutenant Roskovitsky of the Russian
Imperial Air Force noticed a half-frozen lake on the shelf or gully on the side
of Mount Ararat while flying high-altitude test to observe Turkish troop
movements. As they flew nearer to the lake, he saw a half submerged hull of some
sort of ship. He noticed two stubby masts and a flat catwalk along the top. The
following excerpts were taken from Berlitz.In Roskovitsky's words (from the New
Eden Magazine, California, 1939): "We flew down as close as safety permitted and
took several circles around it. We were surprised when we got close to it, at
the immense size of the thing, for it was as long as a city block, and would
compare very favorably in size to the modern battleships of today. It was
grounded on the shore of the lake, with one-fourth underwater. It had been
partly dismantled on one side near the front, and on the other side there was a
great doorway nearly twenty feet square, but with the other door gone. This
seemed quite out of proportion, as even today, ships seldom have doors even half
that large ...."He then told his captain who wanted to be flown over the site.
The captain stated that it was Noah's Ark and explained the reason for its
survival as "frozen up for nine of ten months of the year, it couldn't rot, and
has been in cold storage, as it were, all this time .... "The captain forwarded
a report back to St. Petersburg resulting in orders from the Tsar to send two
engineering companies up the mountain. One group of fifty men attacked one side,
and the other group of one hundred men attacked the big mountain from the other
side. Two weeks of hard work were required to chop out a trail along the cliffs
of the lower part of the mountain, and it was nearly a month before the Ark was
reached. Complete measurements were taken, and plans drawn of it, as well as
many photographs, all of which were sent to the Tsar. From the magazine article:
"The Ark was found to contain hundreds of small rooms, and some rooms that were
very large, with high ceilings. The unusually large rooms had a fence of great
timbers across them, some of which were two feet thick, as if designed to hold
beasts ten times the size of elephants. Other rooms were also lined with tiers
of cages, somewhat like what one sees today at a poultry show, only instead of
chicken wire, they had rows of small iron bars along the front. Everything was
heavily painted with a waxlike paint resembling shellac, and the workmanship of
the craft showed all the signs of a high type of civilization. The wood used
throughout was oleander, which belongs to the cypress family and never rots;
which of course, coupled with the fact of its being frozen most of the time,
accounted for its perfect preservation. "The investigation officers sent
photographs and reports by courier back to Petrograd, to the personal attention
of the Tsar. But Nicholas II apparently never received them during the breakdown
of communications that followed the February and October Revolutions of 1917.
The results of the investigation have never been found or reported.. A rumor
says the results and pictures of the Ark came to the attention of Leon Trotsky,
who either destroyed them or placed them in a file destined to be kept
permanently secret. And the courier who delivered the news, his silence was
sealed with his execution.
information for this section has been taken from the book, Marco Polo The
Travels, Ronald Latham has translated the story from the Italian version. Marco
Polo was born 1254 the son of a Venetian merchant. Marco joined his father on a
journey to China in 1271. They spent the next twenty years traveling in the
service of Kubilai Khan. Marco was a prisoner of war in Genoa in 1289 - 1290 and
met Rustichello of Pisa. Together they wrote The Travels; a product of an
observant merchant and a professional romancer. Marco Polo died in 1324 and left
his inheritance to his three daughters. Here is a quote from his book with
regard to Noah's Ark: "In the heart of Greater Armenia is a very high mountain ,
shaped like a cube (or cup), on which Noah's ark is said to have rested, whence
it is called the Mountain of Noah's Ark. It [the mountain] is so broad and long
that it takes more than two days to go around it. On the summit the snow lies so
deep all the year round that no one can ever climb it; this snow never entirely
melts, but new snow is for ever falling on the old, so that the level rises."
After this, the ark rested on the top of a certain mountain in Armenia; which,
when Noah understood, he opened it; and seeing a small piece of land about it,
he continued quiet, and conceived some cheerful hopes of deliverance. But a few
days afterward, when the water was decreased to a greater degree, he sent out a
raven, as desirous to learn whether any other part of the earth were left dry by
the water, and whether he might go out of the ark with safety; but the raven,
finding all the land still overflowed, returned to Noah again. And after seven
days he sent out a dove, to know the state of the ground; which came back to him
covered with mud, and bringing an olive branch: hereby Noah learned that the
earth was become clear of the flood. So after he had staid seven more days, he
sent the living creatures out of the ark; and both he and his family went out,
when he also sacrificed to God, and feasted with his companions. However, the
Armenians call this place, (GREEK) (16) The
Place of Descent; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown
there by the inhabitants to this day.
6. Now all the
writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and of this ark;
among whom is Berosus the Chaldean. For when he is describing the circumstances
of the flood, he goes on thus: "It is said there is still some part of this ship
in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off
pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the
averting of mischiefs." Hieronymus the Egyptian also, who wrote the Phoenician
Antiquities, and Mnaseas, and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay,
Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about
them; where he speaks thus: "There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas,
called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the
Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the
top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This
might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews wrote."
Antiquities, Book I.
Hagopian has first hand knowledge of the ark. As a young child, he walked along
the Ark's planks with his uncle. Artist, Elfred Lee, drew this picture of the
Ark as directed by George Hagopian. The following excerpt is from Charles
Berlitz, The Lost Ship of Noah , which details the fascinating story.
"He was eight years old, Hagopian said, and it was in the year 1908 [note:
another account says the year was 1905 and Hagopian was 10 years old] when his
uncle took him up Ararat, past Ahora Gorge, passing the grave of St. Jacob on
the way. As the mountain grew more precipitous his uncle carried him on his
shoulders until they came to something that looked like a great ship located on
a rock ledge over a cliff and partially covered by snow. It had flat openings
like windows along the top and a hole in the roof. Hagopian had first thought it
was a house made of stone but when his uncle showed him the outline of planks
and told him it was made of wood he realized it was the Ark, just like the other
people had described it to him. His uncle boosted him up from a rock pile to
reach the Ark roof telling him not to be afraid, "because it is a holy ship ..."
(and) "the animals and people are not here now. They have all gone away."
Hagopian climbed on the roof and knelt down and kissed the surface of the roof
which was flat and easy to stand on.
While they stood alongside the Ark his uncle shot into the side of it but
the bullets bounced off as if it were made of stone. He then tried to cut off a
piece of the wood with a sharp knife and was equally unsuccessful. On this first
visit to the Ark they spent two hours there looking at it and eating some of
their provisions. When Hagopian returned to his village eager to tell the other
boys about his adventure they replied, rather anticlimactically, "Yes, we saw
the Ark too."
Hagopian died in 1972. Since he was unable to read maps with any accuracy
he was unable to pinpoint on a map of the mountain where it was that he had seen
and climbed on the Ark. He consistently told his interrogators that if he could
get back to Mount Ararat he could lead a party to the Ark. Although his
testimony was successfully approved by voice-stress analysis, it is not unusual
that reports such as this , from a single person, even if firsthand, have been
discredited because of lack of corroboratory evidence from others."
During a routine U.S. Air Force mission over
Turkey on June, 17, 1949, cameras captured
something strange on the northwest corner of the
Western Plateau of Mount Ararat at about 15,500
feet. The excited fliers thought they had
stumbled on the ruins of Noah's Ark. According
to the Book of Genesis, the first in the Bible,
the Ark "came to rest on the mountains of
Ararat" after spending 150 days at sea.
Their superiors reviewed the film, wrote a
report and filed it under "Ararat Anomaly,"
where it remained classified as "Secret" for
half a century. In 1993, Porcher Taylor began
asking hard questions about the file. Taylor is
a scholar at the Washington-based Center for
Strategic and International Studies specializing
in satellite intelligence and diplomacy. He also
is a professor of law at the University of
Richmond Law School and knows how to ask
To Taylor's amazement, this professional scholar
discovered that in addition to the 1949 military
film footage there also were classified
photographs of the anomaly snapped by a U-2 spy
plane in 1956, high-resolution images taken by
the CIA in 1973 using a KH-9 military
remote-sensing satellite and even more
sophisticated images obtained by the CIA from
flyovers in 1976, 1990 and 1992 by an advanced
Indeed, Taylor found evidence of images of the
Mount Ararat Anomaly spanning nearly 50 years -
and all of it classified. After many thwarted
attempts to learn why, Taylor filed Freedom of
Information Act requests, which also were
rejected. That is, until the Defense
Intelligence Agency in Washington released six
photo frames from the 1949 military footage.
To Taylor and others in search of Noah's Ark,
the images were stunning - even though made too
far away to determine whether this was a
man-made structure or a rock slab. The only way
to make sure was either to climb the mountain -
which Ark explorers have attempted over many
decades, only to be restricted routinely by the
Turkish government - or to pursue alternative
means to obtain images the U.S. government has
held under lock and key for 51 years. Until
recently, the access to such images was strictly
Now, thanks to government decisions to allow
commercial uses of previously classified
technologies, high-resolution satellite cameras
are finding their way into the private sector
for such uses as mapping geological formations
that may reveal underground oil reserves, sunken
treasure ships or ancient roadways buried under
thousands of years of dust.
One of the beneficiaries of this private-sector
conversion is Space Imaging, based in Denver.
Frustrated in his quest for answers from the
U.S. government, Taylor came to Insight with the
idea of buying time from Space Imaging, which
has the world's only high-resolution,
remote-sensing, commercial-satellite cameras
capable of shooting images at 1-meter spatial
resolution. When the U.S. military and
intelligence agencies also denied Insight access
to the official images of the Mount Ararat
Anomaly, this magazine contracted with Space
Imaging to photograph the Western Plateau.
Because so many federal agencies for so long
have kept secret whatever is atop Mount Ararat,
Insight prepared to report the contents of those
satellite photos regardless of what they showed.
Serving as a space-based Indiana Jones, the
IKONOS satellite was tasked to explore whatever
lay buried under so many centuries of mystery
and intrigue. And, just as in the Indiana Jones
movies starring Harrison Ford, the Space
Imaging/Insight team had a map to help locate
what some believe on faith to be the biblical
Ark. Ironically, in 1995 a senior Pentagon
official had confided to Taylor the then-secret
coordinates of the Mount Ararat Anomaly at 39
degrees 42 minutes 10 seconds north longitude
and 44 degrees 16 minutes 30 seconds east
The Space Imaging/Insight team began work in
secret to get IKONOS positioned to zoom its
supersophisticated lens to within 100 yards of
the coordinates Taylor had obtained from
military sources. The results, about a
half-dozen digital images, proved to be stunning
- with an amazing clarity and definition none
dared even hope for when the project started.
IKONOS snapped a series of photos sufficient for
analytical purposes, with the best shots taken
on Aug. 5, 11 and 30 and Sept. 13. Space Imaging
also located in its archives an Oct. 5, 1999
shot of the approximate area, which Taylor
purchased for the project. That shot proved
significant because it helped identify snow melt
as well as shadowing.
Even Ark explorers who have been adamant that
the 1949 anomaly is not a man-made structure
will be hard-pressed not to be excited at the
chance to review the entire IKONOS digital
imagery for other areas on the mountain that can
be enlarged for further scientific study.
One of the most difficult problems in
photographing the Mount Ararat Anomaly was
getting a cloud-free picture, as well as enough
melt of the snow and ice to expose the anomaly.
Space Imaging guarantees 80 percent cloud-free
photos, which is why it took four months for
IKONOS to obtain the contracted images.
Luck, though, was on Insight's side, because
this summer Turkey experienced some of the
hottest temperatures in 60 years. Even the thick
cloud cover that drapes the mountain disappeared
for a few critical days and, as a result, IKONOS
had several direct hits - including cloud-free
images and enough snow melt clearly to
photograph the anomaly stuck in the northwest
ledge of the Western Plateau.
That surprised experienced Ark searcher John
McIntosh, who managed to get Turkey's permission
to climb 7,000 feet of Mount Ararat in late
August but was unable to see the Western Plateau
anomaly. He says Ark searchers never had seen it
before because it always seemed to be "buried
deep in snow and ice." But IKONOS found enough
of it exposed to snap brilliant bird's-eye
images of a three-piece object perched on a
ledge in the same general position on the
mountain that Sir John Chardin described in his
1711 book, Travels in Persia.
While in the IKONOS shots snow consumes the
surrounding mountain terrain, there indeed does
appear to be a broken-up rectangular object that
juts from the snow as if it had different
thermal characteristics, or the snow somehow had
failed to fall on that one oddly angled strip of
the mountain. When Space Imaging brought up the
pictures on its computers, a crowd of curious
employees gathered around to see the magnificent
digital details. All wanted to know: Did IKONOS
find Noah's Ark?
Indeed, it is a question with no easy answer -
at least not yet. But history is in the making.
Based on the surrounding terrain, geologists,
image analysts and former CIA agents confirmed
to Insight that the anomaly IKONOS hit is the
same object pictured in the now-declassified
1949 Air Force photos supplied to Taylor and,
according to military and intelligence sources
in the federal government, which also was
observed by the CIA in its KH-9 hits in 1973.
While the military spy satellite KH-11 provides
digital images six times sharper than the IKONOS
images, with a resolution capability of six
inches - close enough, perhaps, to detect
license-plate numbers from space - the IKONOS
imagery is dazzling compared with its
declassified Mount Ararat predecessors, such as
the French SPOT imagery from September 1989,
LANDSAT imagery from the 1970s and NASA's Space
Shuttle imagery from 1994.
However, Space Imaging is the first to offer
1-meter resolution, compared to the 2- to
5-meter resolution of its predecessors. The
difference is notable when conducting analysis
because there is less shadow and greater detail.
John Copple, chief executive officer of Space
Imaging, says his firm soon may be the first
company to produce 0.5-meter resolution images
from space. In fact, Insight has learned that
the National Security Council has approved the
Space Imaging application. "We have a way to
visualize information," Harris says. "We're in
powerful demand with governments all over the
The success of IKONOS broke nationally in
January with such a crisp shot of Washington,
D.C., that nearly every federal building was
identifiable. It also assisted authorities in
tracking the forest wildfires in the West this
summer and is involved in other contracts with
the federal government because U.S. satellites
are being overtasked, according to intelligence
sources. Space Imaging had the confidence and
professionalism even to enter virgin territory,
as the IKONOS lens inquired into one of the
greatest archaeological mysteries of ancient
Taylor and Insight provided the spectacular
IKONOS imagery and the declassified 1949 Air
Force photos to a team of independent scientists
and imagery analysts assembled for this project.
Each of the experts was asked a simple question:
What is it? In turn, the experts provided oral
and written reports detailing their
observations. None were paid or provided with
information about the analyses of other experts.
The team consisted of Clifford Paiva, a retired
senior physicist and satellite imagery analyst
of the U.S. Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center,
Countermeasures Technologies Applications
Branch; Farouk El-Baz, who heads the prestigious
Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University;
Peter K. Hsu, a forensic Naval engineer who
worked on the Titanic and Bismarck forensic
teams for National Geographic; Brad Miller, an
experienced mechanical and manufacturing
engineer skilled in evaluating spatial
representation of 3-D objects; David Barak, a
digital-imaging expert who worked as a
military-photo and submarine target-recognition
interpreter for the U.S. Navy; and Roman Gomez,
a digital-imagery expert formerly with Dicomed,
a leading U.S. supplier of electronic hardware.
The final team member was a senior Pentagon
intelligence contractor in the reconnaissance
field who asked for anonymity to avoid being
caught up in the expected controversy over the
Indeed, controversy already has erupted as news
about the Insight project has seeped out in
advance of publication. E-mail messages and
telephone calls have come in from around the
world concerning what may or may not have been
found. And it seems likely the views of the
independent experts assembled by Insight will
only begin the debate about the images and
For now, specifically: The object appears to be
about 534 feet in length and 80 to 98 feet wide.
Its height could not be measured because it is
unclear how deep it is seated into the snow and
ice. Still, the measurements are comparable to
the Ark described in Genesis - 300 cubits in
length, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high.
Biblical scholars say a cubit is about 20
inches, which would make the Ark about 500 feet
long, 83 feet wide and 50 feet high.
There still is no certainty about what the
anomaly is, but four of the experts say it could
be man-made; two believe it's a rock; and one
calls the evidence inconclusive. Gomez says the
1-meter resolution is not high enough to make a
final determination, although his review of just
the 1949 photographs suggests it may be man-made
because, he says, nothing like it appears to
exist elsewhere on the mountain.
While Paiva says it could be "geological," he
tells Insight it is more likely a man-made
structure because of the 90-degree angles. He
also notes that there is "nearly 300 feet depth
of ice i in the anomaly area, easily burying an
object" the size of the Ark.
Likewise, Hsu says "it is too linear to be a
rock. It could be a man-made object. The resting
place has moved because half of it is on one
edge. But, whatever it is, it does resemble a
structure." One of Hsu's theories is that a
glacier may have rolled the "structure" to its
current resting place, while others say either
the volcanic eruption of 1840 or the earthquake
of 1883 could have split the structure into two
or three pieces.
Miller's calculations also suggest the anomaly
has moved. "In the 1949 photo the eastern part
of the anomaly appeared to be higher than the
western portion. In the 2000 IKONOS photos, the
eastern part appears lower than the western
part. This indicates that the anomaly has moved
slightly over the years. That is encouraging
because, if it is true, then at least the
anomaly is not a part of the mountain but is
made of some foreign matter, as it has moved in
relation to the ridgeline," says Miller.
While Paiva believes the anomaly could be
artifacts of a village or town of some 3,000
years ago that have been broken into large
pieces and scattered across the Western Plateau,
El-Baz is convinced it's nothing more than a
rock slab. After consulting with Bradford
Washburn III, the honorary director of the
Boston Museum of Science, and Mutlu Ozdogan, a
doctoral candidate at Boston University and
Turkish citizen, El-Baz remains convinced it`s a
natural land formation. "It's a high notch on
the ledge that is covered by snow and ice. There
is nothing peculiar or unnatural here," he says.
"It is a high notch on that continuous ledge.
However, there is no way of telling what is
beneath that rock surface."
Barak says it's more than a notch. "Over the 51
years since the anomaly was photographed by the
U.S. Air Force in 1949, the position,
orientation and size of the object have remained
constant," he notes. "This suggests that it's
not just a snow cliff or other snow formation
that's subject to melting or drift, but
something much more stable."
As Barak sees it, "Based on the orientation and
shape of the anomaly, it doesn't appear to be a
part of the natural terrain. It's not oriented
in any natural-appearing way with the rest of
the terrain and the shape doesn't suggest that
it's a large stone broken away from the rest of
the mountain. The most recent [IKONOS] photos
show a significant melt of the usual snow cover
on the Western Plateau of Mount Ararat. In fact,
the snow has melted right up to the edge of the
anomaly. Judging from the appearance of the
anomaly and the way the snow melted, it's
apparent that the anomaly is made of a different
material than the surrounding terrain."
He adds: "If you look at [1949 Air Force frame
2] there appears to be a slight overhang of ice
and snow, with the dark area below being shadows
cast by a vertical face. If this is the case,
then the vertical face should be as dark as the
shadows, as both would be in shadow. This leads
me to believe that this is in fact a solid
convex object, not a concave notch in the snow
and rock. It's the same feature that shows up in
the IKONOS images."
El-Baz, however, maintains that the ice sheets
at the site of the anomaly and elsewhere on the
mountain flanks have been fractured to form
crevasses. He says the setting of the anomaly is
due "to shadowing effects, and the parallel
striations are a result of snow accumulations by
wind action much like linear dunes in deserts
over massive ice sheets."
Barak disagrees and says that the "thermal
characteristics are different" than the stone
and dirt in the area and "the color and
reflective properties are different." Even the
shadows don't seem to make sense because some of
these didn't line up with other shadows, he
notes. For that to be true, the "sun would
apparently have shone down from two different
directions." He concludes: "Yes, based on the
photos, I would lean toward it being man-made."
No way, counters El-Baz: "There is no anomaly.
The displayed features are part of the natural
setting that might characterize any
high-elevation peak, such as that of Mount
Ararat or any glacier in a mountainous area."
Paiva disagrees. "There is an anomaly up there,"
he says firmly. While Paiva - who had access to
the 1973 KH-9 and 1976 KH-11 hits but refuses to
talk about what's in those images because they
are classified - he isn't buying the denials.
"There's something up there and that's the only
issue," he says. "I'm not saying it's the Ark.
But there is something up there."
Hsu says the predominant features suggest the
shape of a structure below might be man-made.
"The most interesting feature is that some of
them appeared to form an almost-90-degree edge,
similar to a boxlike structure," he says. "They
appear strongly, suggesting that man-made
structures are underneath the snow, in
particular, and when triangulated with the 1949
DIA photo since they all appear consistent."
El-Baz was not alone in his dissent. By using a
computer to remove shadows from the IKONOS Sept.
13 shot, you could see three croppings, says the
Pentagon intelligence contractor. "Upon
consulting with terrain analysts, we both agree
that it is a rock or a geological formation. We
even got a name for the formation - it's called
`Arett.' I don't know why anyone thinks this is
special. When we took the shadow out we could
see the snowcap and the cliff, and broken away
down the hill is very rough rubble."
Asked if they are 100-percent sure, the source
replied: "It's probably geological. But there is
no way to confirm it with 1-meter resolution."
The only way to settle the dispute is to have
Congress work out a scientific expedition with
Turkey, says Hsu. "Turkey should request the
U.S. to fly [a team] down in the name of
science," says Hsu. "If it turns out to be a
rock or man-made, it doesn't matter. We can do a
lot of science together."
But don't expect that to happen anytime soon,
even though Turkish Brig. Gen. Salih Centinkaya,
formerly Ankara's military attache in
Washington, says the Turkish people long have
believed something of great archaeological
significance is at the location of the Western
Plateau anomaly. Yet the House International
Relations Committee's endorsement of a
resolution recognizing the 1915-1923 killings of
Armenians by the Turkish Ottoman Empire as
genocide could jeopardize any joint U.S.-Turkey
expeditions for years. The ongoing war with
Kurdish guerrillas in eastern Turkey also has
made it difficult to get access to Mount Ararat,
which has been under military rule since 1990.
Even McIntosh, who was held up at gunpoint by
terrorists during one of his climbs, fears
Turkey now may implement sanctions against the
U.S. that could stop his Ark search team, which
hopes to launch another expedition next summer.
Despite the IKONOS imagery, next summer's
expedition will not focus on the Western Plateau
as a high priority, says Liberty University
professor James Hall, who plans to go to Turkey
to seek permits for next summer's climb. Hall's
area of interest is east of the Western Plateau,
in the Ahora Gorge. Most Ark explorers,
including McIntosh and late astronaut Col. James
Irwin, have concentrated in the Ahora Gorge
because Armenian shepherd George Hagopian and
U.S. Army Sgt. Ed Davis, both deceased, claimed
independently to have seen the Ark in that area,
though skeptics say their stories were
inconsistent as to where and what they saw.
McIntosh claims he found an odd-looking
rectangular shape in the gorge similar to one
where Davis said he saw the Ark but reports he
couldn't get close enough to identify what it
"Our take is that the Western Plateau area is
not where the Ark is," Hall says. "We feel all
the evidence - the more viable evidence - points
to the Ahora Gorge. But, Hall says, the Western
Plateau anomaly should not be ruled out
completely until someone goes up there and
As for the ruins of Noah's Ark surviving 5,000
years or more, Paiva chuckles at the thought. "I
can't tell you it's the Ark," he says. "C'mon."
But could it? Miller says it could. "Although
wood deteriorates over time, after a period of
about 1,000 years the object will gradually slow
its deterioration rate and any material not
deteriorated at this time will tend to be more
resilient to natural forces," he advises. "The
Bible says Noah built the Ark of gopher wood,
which many scholars believe is a form of cypress
or cedar. The experience of the U.S. Forest
Products Laboratory shows high natural-decay
resistance for both cypress and cedar woods."
Coating the Ark with a thick pitch, Miller adds,
could have had the effect of preserving the
organic wood - similar to the preservation of
the 5,000- year-old Iceman found fully intact in
1991 under a melting glacier in Austria.
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