In southeastern Turkey, a US Airforce barracks stood at this location in 1967. It has since been destroyed. Under the ruins, a team of researchers expect to find the remnants of Noah's ark.
Fr. Joseph Gleason — Editor of Russian Faith — joined the team's first expedition as a photographer and journalist.
Ancient geoglyphs visible only from the sky, the remnants of a bygone sundial, and a massive hilltop tomb pass the centuries in the wilderness of southeastern Turkey, sitting amidst a lifeless sea of rocks and sand, approximately halfway between primeval Göbekli Tepe and the sleepless city of Diyarbakır.
Carefully situated in geometrical alignment with one another, they all seem to point towards a central location — to a spot where Turkey and America have built various structures in recent decades.
In the early 20th century, it appears that a school had been built at this location, during the Attaturk administration. It was abandoned sometime before 1960 and was converted by the US Air Force into a temporary barracks in 1967 for “The United States Logistics Group“ (TUSLOG) Detachment 171. This housed the airmen that built the radar base on the nearby peak. After the radar base was completed, the old buildings appear to have been demolished with explosives. Under these ruins, a team of researchers expect to find the remnants of Noah's ark.
Their investigation takes place on the slopes of Karaca Dağ, a shield volcano in eastern Turkey. In addition to various ancient structures that have been identified at this location, there is significant evidence from the field of agriculture, and also from a number of Early Church writings, suggesting that this may be the place where Noah set foot off the ark:
- Ancient Agricultural Evidence
- Geoglyphs, Sundial, and an Ancient Tomb
- Ancient Historians and Early Christian Writings
- Research Team Detained by the Turkish Military
- Additional Findings
Ancient Agricultural Evidence
During the global flood, the future of Earth's animal life and domesticated plant life sat in a single boat. Any flocks that would ever be raised, came from the animals that Noah brought on the ship. And any crops that would ever be planted, came from the seeds that Noah brought with him.
According to the biblical account in Genesis, not long after exiting the Ark, Noah planted a vineyard. No doubt he and his sons also planted various crops to feed their families.
If Karaca Dağ is the location where Noah's family first settled, then it is also the most ancient place where we would expect to find the first planting of ancient neolithic "founder grains" such as einkorn wheat, emmer wheat, barley, lentils, peas, chickpeas, and flax.
In Science magazine, the following article was published: Site of Einkorn Wheat Domestication Identified by DNA Fingerprinting. After sampling 338 einkorn wheat lines over a broad geographic range, submitting all samples to rigorous DNA testing and analysis, they published the final conclusion:
In summary, the Karacadag mountains are very probably the site of einkorn domestication. . . . it has been hypothesized that one single human group may have domesticated all primary crops of the region.
Of course, Noah's family is that "single human group". They are the ones who brought wheat aboard the Ark, and they are the ones who planted it afterwards. All wheat on earth today has descended from those first fields of grain that were planted and harvested by Noah and his sons.
Indeed, this location is not just the center of ancient wheat production. Karaca Dağ is at the center of distribution for all the ancient neolithic "founder grains", including barley, flax, peas, chickpeas, and lentils. So from an agricultural perspective, if we wanted to find Noah's Ark, this mountain is exactly where we should be looking.
Karaca Dağ is labeled in each of the following diagrams, always in the midst of the ancient grain distributions:
It is evident from comparing the distributions of all eight founder grain crops that the mountain called Karaca Dağ is located near the center of the crescent of their primary range. The only founder grain crop that does not grow wild on the mountain today is flax. However, the mountain is still in the middle of the flax arc. This suggests that Karaca Dağ may have been the origin for all eight species of founder grain crops.
Geoglyphs, Sundial, and an Ancient Tomb
The researchers identified five geoglyphs on the mountain. Two of the glyphs appeared to be pointers.
Geoglyph 1 is made of massive boulders, and appears to be at least partially manmade, or possibly a modification of a natural feature.
Geoglyph 2 looks like a window with a small circle in the center. The circle contains a small pointer symbol, similar in shape to Geoglyph 1.
Geoglyphs 3 and 4 are circles, each with a symbol at the center. Geoglyph 5 is simply crossed lines in the shape of an X.
The researchers visited the geoglyphs in person to find out how they were made. With the exception of #1, they were not visible on the ground. The local shepherds and property owners did not realize they were there.
Geoglyphs 2-5 are located on a slope that is completely covered with loose basalt stones. The glyphs appear to have been made by placing slightly darker colored stones. Up close, the color difference is subtle, and with the heavy growth of lichen on the stones the design cannot be seen from the ground. From the air they can be seen quite clearly. The lichen growth on the stones indicates that they had not been disturbed, and must have been made centuries in the past, before the advent of modern flight.
This raises the question of who would make such drawings that can only be seen from the air? And what was their purpose?
After noticing that two of the geoglyphs appeared to have pointers, the researchers plotted them to see if they were pointing at something specific. They discovered that the latitude line for Geoglyph 2 intersects the azimuth for Geoglyph 1 near the Ark site. The two geoglyphs are nearly equidistant from the point of intersection as well.
Visualize an equilateral triangle, with the Geoglyphs visible at two of the corners, and the Ark site located at the third.
They also found evidence of a massive hilltop tomb and a gnomnon pit for an ancient sundial. They found that these objects lined up well with the geoglyphs and the Ark site, in geometric patterns suggesting that the sites may be interrelated. Further discussion about these items, and about the remaining geoglyphs, can be found on academia.edu, in a paper recently published by the researchers.
Ancient Historians and Early Christian Writings
There are multiple places in the middle east which have been identified as potential sites for Noah's Ark, including locations such as Ararat, Durupinar, and Cudi. How well do these sites compare to Karaca Dağ, when weighed against the historic and patristic evidence?
The researchers reviewed numerous sources from antiquity, including both ancient historians and the writings of Early Church Fathers. Compiling the data gleaned from these ancient sources, they created a table of known facts about the Ark site:
Researchers suspect that Karaca Dağ may be what the Sumerians called "the sacred mounain of the Anunaki". This is also mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh. It is also quite close to Göbekli Tepe. They believe that the south end of the mountain was where Noah's growing family spent the first 115 years after the Flood, prior to the construction of Babel.
Having identified several sites of interest via satellite imagery, the researchers visited them in person. They took photographs and video on all the sites, and made 2D/3D drone maps of two sites using a Parrot ANAFI drone with ground control points and Pix4D software.
Research Team Detained by the Turkish Military
About 15 minutes after the researchers arrived on the site and began filming, soldiers came down from the base and detained the entire team.
The Ark site is located very close to a radar station currently used by the military in Turkey. They said that cameras and drone photography are strictly prohibited. The commanding officer said they have a standing order to shoot on sight, whenever they encounter a drone. Thankfully, they asked questions first, and did not proceed to fire any of their weapons.
The soldiers conducted themselves professionally, with polite military bearing. They called the authorities to confirm all of the research team's permits. Since all their papers were in order, they allowed the researchers to complete the drone mapping, provided the officer would be able to review the images afterwards.
The commanding officer invited the research team to join the soldiers for lunch in the mess hall. They said it had probably been more than 20 years since they had seen Americans visit that particular military base.
After completing the drone survey, the researchers left the SD card with the soldiers so they could review the footage overnight. The research team picked the card up the next day.
They were not able to make the larger site map, as originally planned, because it would require photographing the radar station, which was prohibited.
In a formal paper recently published on academia.edu, the researchers include many points of additional information, including historical clues from Genesis 10, possible locations for the Tower of Babel, multiple diagrams of mathematical and geometrical relationships found among the various geoglyphs and objects at the Ark site, and maps showing distribution ranges of Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) sites, which are the oldest permanent human villages. The distribution of known PPNA villages has a center of mass near the bend of the Tigris River, in the region surrounding Karaca Dağ.
Having conducted a drone survey and acquired closeup photography of the sites, the research team believes the evidence obtained justifies further study. They have not yet conclusively proven or disproven that the site holds the remains of the Ark. A more rigorous study will be required, including digging and the acquisition of core samples. The next step is to carefully plan a second trip to the site, and to locate funding for the expedition.
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