The details of a massive, round boat which rescued and preserved two of each animal and a handful of humans from the catastrophic “Noah’s Ark” flood of Biblical times has successfully been deciphered from a 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia — modern-day Iraq.
Has the prototype of Noah’s Ark been found?
As science technology improves and continues to expose new proof of the planning, building and existence of Noah’s Ark, these discoveries seem to shine more light on a bigger mystery: Why is it kept from the public – and why doesn’t the major media report on it?
What are they afraid of? Hat tip: Huff Post Religion
LONDON (AP) — Forget all those images of a long vessel with a pointy bow — the original Noah’s Ark, new research suggests, was round.
A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia — modern-day Iraq — reveals striking new details about the roots of the Old Testament tale of Noah. It tells a similar story, complete with detailed instructions for building a giant round vessel known as a coracle — as well as the key instruction that animals should enter “two by two.”
The tablet went on display at the British Museum on Friday, and soon engineers will follow the ancient instructions to see whether the vessel could actually have sailed. It’s also the subject of a new book, “The Ark Before Noah,” by Irving Finkel, the museum’s assistant keeper of the Middle East and the man who translated the tablet.
Finkel got hold of it a few years ago, when a man brought in a damaged tablet his father had acquired in the Middle East after World War II. It was light brown, about the size of a mobile phone and covered in the jagged cuneiform script of the ancient Mesopotamians. It turned out, Finkel said Friday, to be “one of the most important human documents ever discovered.”
“It was really a heart-stopping moment — the discovery that the boat was to be a round boat,” said Finkel, who sports a long gray beard, a ponytail and boundless enthusiasm for his subject. “That was a real surprise.” And yet, Finkel said, a round boat makes sense. Coracles were widely used as river taxis in ancient Iraq and are perfectly designed to bob along on raging floodwaters.
“It’s a perfect thing,” Finkel said. “It never sinks, it’s light to carry.” Other experts said Finkel wasn’t simply indulging in book-promotion hype. David Owen, professor of ancient Near Eastern studies at Cornell University, said the British Museum curator had made “an extraordinary discovery.”
Elizabeth Stone, an expert on the antiquities of ancient Mesopotamia at New York’s Stony Brook University, said it made sense that ancient Mesopotamians would depict their mythological ark as round. “People are going to envision the boat however people envision boats where they are,” she said. “Coracles are not unusual things to have had in Mesopotamia.”
Finkel is aware his discovery may cause consternation among believers in the Biblical story. When 19th-century British Museum scholars first learned from cuneiform tablets that the Babylonians had a flood myth, they were disturbed by its striking similarities to the story of Noah.
“Already in 1872 people were writing about it in a worried way – What does it mean that Holy Writ appears on this piece of Weetabix?” he joked, referring to a cereal similar in shape to the tablet.
Finkel has no doubts.
He’s not the only one:
Inspired by Noah’s Ark from the Book of Genesis, Dutch artist Johan Huibers built a modern day replica spending a whopping $1.2 million on it. His reasons for building the vessel – he feared the effects global warming would someday have on his country, flooding included. The idea came to him in 1992, when he had a dream about his native land submerged in a flood similar to the one in the Book of Genesis. He continued to think about it until he finally did something about it. And the result is a 130m long, 29m wide, 23m high ark that he completed in 2005. Weighing almost 3000 tons and built from Swedish pine reinforced with steel, it is quite hard to believe that ark might be seaworthy at all, but this modern-day Noah assures us it does indeed float.
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