The following is from Bible Studies Magazine, published by Evangelical Ministries, Inc, Ph
The following is from Bible Studies Magazine, published by Evangelical
Ministries, Inc, Philadelphia, PA, October 1980, pp 29-36
As you read it you will find it has the typical problems of such accounts:
Whatever evidence, such as photographs, the actual pieces of wood, exact
location, reports of careful examinations by appropriate experts, is missing
or lost. Nevertheless it makes interesting reading and does establish that people
have been looking for the ark up there for many years and have found some
tantalizing bits and pieces.
James Boice is the editor of Bible Studies Magazine (maybe was - I don't know
whether it's still being published or not) and he is not, from what I know of
him, inclined to sensationalism. He repeatedly warns readers in this issue
that none of the following account actually constitutes *proof*. Others have
obviously not been so careful.
In 1935 a story appeared in Life Digest, an Australian publication, in which a
Russian Aviator named Vladimir Roskovitsky claimed to have discovered Noah's
Ark. He had been stationed in a temporary Russian outpost in southern Russia
just across the border from Turkey near Mt Ararat and had been told to test
one of the Russian air force planes. In the course of these tests he and his
copilot flew over Ararat and discovered what he later described as a boat
comparable in size to many modern battleships. He wrote that "It was grounded
on the shore of a lake with about one-fourth of the rear end still running out
into the water, and its extreme rear was three-fourths under water. It had
been partly dismantled on one side near the front, and on the other side
there was a great door nearly twenty feet square, but with the door gone."
Roskovitsky reported his find to his commanding officer, and an expedition
was dispatched to Ararat which, according to the story, subsequently found
the ark and photographed it. Accounts were forwarded to the Czar.
Unfortunately, a short time after receiving this report the government
was overthrown and the photographs and reports perished.
Is this story ... true? It['s] hard to say. But one thing is certain: it was
the launching point for many subsequent investigations and expeditions to Mt
Ararat as a result of which much information (but no conclusive proof) came
[2 pages of material on Morris' et. al.'s calculations to "show" the ark could
have held all "kinds" deleted]
In noting the shortcomings of the scoffers, evangelicals should not be blind
to their own, however, and one obvious blind spot is the hope of some to find
evidence of the ark on Mt Ararat, the traditional place where it is said to
have rested following the receding of the flood. It is possible that it *may*
be there - preserved for thousands of years by the eternal snows and visible
only at times of unseasonably warm weather, as was the case when the Russian
expedition is said to have discovered it. ... But on the other hand (as
LaHaye, Morris and others recognize) the Russian's story may be a complete
or nearly complete fabrication. Our confidence in the story of Noah is to
rest not on this or any other discovery, but on the fact that the account
of the flood is related to us in the Word of God.
There are some interesting indications that the Ark may be on Ararat, however
in addition to the Russian aviator's story. It is hard to know what credence
to give them, but in a study such as this it is worth listing what the chief
lines of evidence are.
1. First on the list is that Mt Ararat in Turkey has been the traditional site
of the ark's resting place throughout known history (cf Gen 8:4) and that
significant numbers of ancient travelers and writers claimed to have seen it.
Berosus, the historian of Babylon, wrote in approximately 275 BC, "But of this
ship that grounded in Armenia some part still remains in the mountains of the
Gordyaeansin Armenia, and some get pitch from the ship by scraping it off and
use it for amulets." Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrote of the ark a
generation after the time of Christ. He said that the Armenians show relics of
the ark "to this day." He also claimed that the ark is mentioned by all who
have written histories of the barbarians: Hieronymous the Egyptian, Nicholas of
Damascus, and Berosus. In AD 180, Theophilus of Antioch wrote that "the
remains[of the ark] are to this day to be seen in the Arabian mountains."
Scores of church figures wrote along similar lines, including the great John
2. The second line of evidence is the monastery of St. Jacob, several miles up
the Ahora Gorge on the higher reaches of Mt Ararat. It was destroyed by an
earthquake in 1840, but its existence goes back to the early centuries of the
Christian era, when it was reportedly established to mark the site of and
preserve relics from the ark. Some evidence of an even earlier occupation of
the site remains in the form of ancient inscriptions and eight crosses carved
into the stone. The crosses, whether from the earliest times or later, may
stand for the eight who survived the flood: Noah and his three sons, his wife
and his sons' wives (Gen 6:18)
3. An elderly Armenian named Haji Yearam, who later came to America, told of
visiting the ark on Ararat in 1856 in the company of his father (who himself
had gone there often as a boy) and three atheistic scientists. Their goal in
visiting Ararat was to disprove the ark's existence. According to Yearam, the
scientists were so enraged at discovering the ark that they tried to destroy
it at first. But since they could not (it was too big and had petrified) they
swore to keep silent about their find. This was the story Yearam told. The man
to whom he told it adds the following corroborative detail. "One evening (I'm
pretty sure it was in 1918) I sat reading the daily paper in our apartment in
Brockton. Suddenly I saw in very small print a short story of a dying man's
It was a news item one column wide and, as I remembered it, not more than two
inches deep. It stated that an elderly scientist on his deathbed in London was
afraid to die before making a terrible confession. It gave briefly the very
date and facts that Haji Yearam related to us in his story."...
4. In 1876 a distinguished British statesman and author, Viscount James Bryce,
climbed Ararat and reported finding a four-foot-long piece of hand-tooled
lumber at a height of over 13000 feet.
5. In 1883, after an earthquake that caused huge quantities of rock and ice to
be dislodged from the mountain, the British paper Prophetic Messenger carried
the following story: "We have received from our correspondent in Trebizond
news of the return of the commissioners appointed by the Turkish government to
inquire into the reported destruction of Mosul, Ashak and Bayazid by
avalanches.... The expedition was fortunate in making a discovery that connot
fail to be of interest to the whole civilized world, for among the vastness of
one of the glens of Mt Ararat, they came upon a gigantic structure of very
dark wood, embedded at the foot of one of the glaciers, with one end protruding,
and which they believe to be none other than the old ark in which Noah and his
family navigated the waters of the deluge. The place where the discovery is
made is about five days journey from Trebizond, in the Department of Van, in
Armenia, about four leagues from the Persian frontier."
6. Excluding those who lived on the mountain or authorities of the Turkish
government, the first actual explorer to have visited Ararat was a youthful
archdeacon of the church of Babylon named Prince Nouri. He claimed to have
discovered the ark in 1887. He came from Malabar in South India and had
journeyed to Ararat, made at least three climbs, discovered the ark (according
to his own testimony) and later presented his claims at the Chicago World's
Fair in 1893, where the World Parliament of Religions was assembled. His story
convinced a group of Belgians to launch an expedition to transport the ark to
America, but the Turkish Government refused the necessary permits.
7. Six Turkish soldiers claimed to have climbed Ararat and to have spotted the
ark in 1916.
8. In 1936 a young British Archaeologist named Hardwicke Knight was hiking
across Ararat on a walking trip when he discovered interlocking hand-tooled
timbers at a height of 14000 feet.
9. During the second world war American aviators often flew over Ararat
enroute from the U. S. airbase in Tunisia to the Soviet airbase in Erivan.
According to a story in the U. S. Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes
in 1943, two pilots saw and photographed something they believed to be the
ark. That issue of Stars and Stripes has not been preserved, but many people
claim to have seen it and the accompanying photograph....
10. In 1948 an Associated Press correspondent, Edwin Greenwald, announced from
Istanbul that a Kurdish nomad named Resit had seen the ark. He wrote, "The
petrified remains of an object which peasants insist resembles a ship has been
found high up on Mt Ararat, biblical landing place of Noah's ark. Apparently
hidden for centuries, it came to light last summer when unusually warm weather
melted away an ancient mantle of ice and snow. While various persons from time
to time have reported objects resembling a 'house' or a 'ship' on the
mountain, Turks who have seen this new find profess it to be the only known
object which could actually be taken as the remains of a ship." This report
stimulated a number of organized attempts to locate the ark, beginning with
expeditions of the Oriental Archaeological Research Expedition, founded by
Dr. Aaron J. Smith, dean of the People's Bible College in Greensboro, North
11. Between 1952 and 1955 (and again in 1969 as guide to an expedition sponsored
by the SEARCH foundation) a wealthy French industrialist, Fernand Navarra, not
only saw, but also brought back pieces of hand-tooled lumber said to have come
from the ark. This wood has been examined, but the results are inconclusive.
Navarra's claims have been disputed even by members of the SEARCH
12. The last of these significant finds was by an oil and pipeline geologist
named George Greene. He had a helicopter at his disposal and used it to find
and photograph the ark in the summer of 1953. Greene enlarged the photos,
returned to America and tried to interest various business associates in
financing an expedition to study the craft from the ground. He was
unsuccessful. Later his work took him to Utah, Nova Scotia, Texas and
finally British Guiana where he was killed in 1962. His photos perished
with him or at least have not been found.
It should be evident to a careful reader, even more so if the original
accounts of these "discoveries" are studied, that *proof* of the existence
of Noah's ark on Mt Ararat has not been forthcoming, in spite of many
expeditions and much work extending backward in time for more than a
 This account appears in many books dealing with the ark of Noah. See for
example, Violet M. Cummings, "Noah's ark: fable or fact?", (Old Tappan, NJ:
Fleming H. Revell, 1973), pp 32-39, Tim F. LaHaye and John D. Morris, "The ark
on Ararat (Nashville and New York: Thomas Nelson, 1976), pp 73-85; and Alfred
M. Rehwinkle, "The flood in the light of the Bible, Geology and Archaeology (St.
Louis: Concorida Publishing House, 1951) pp 77-83
 The best collection of these historical references is in LaHaye and
Morris, op. cit., pp 14-27.
 Navarra published his claims, however, and his books have circulated
widely. See Fernand Navarra, "The forbidden mountain," trans. Michael
Legat (London, McDonald Press, 1956), and "Noah's ark: I touched it"
(Plainfield: Logos Books, 1974)
 Most of this information, including quotes, is from LaHaye and Morris (op.
cit. passim), but it is found in most other books on Noah's ark as well. In
addition to those cited above, see John Warwick Montgomery, "The quest for
Noah's ark" (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1974)
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank