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Noah's Ark Concealed: Final Orders of Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian in 1907

Archaeologist reports how in the final year of his life, the Armenian Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian (1820-1907) issued four orders regarding Noah’s Ark that continued to conceal the vessel in the southern gorge of greater Mount Ararat.


Istanbul, Turkey -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/15/2021 --Harvard University educated archaeologist, former maritime executive, Chairperson and Senior Lecturer of the Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Department at the National University of Samoa, and current president of the applied archaeology firm, PRC, Inc., Joel Klenck , describes how during the final year of his life, Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, gave four orders to the Church and Ark guides near Mount Ararat that concealed the vessel until recently.

Klenck asserts: "The rediscovery of Noah's Ark is a fact and the greatest archaeological site in history. The Ark is a maritime barge, close to 150 meters in length, located in two sections, at elevations between 3,900 to 4,700 meters above sea level, with origins dating to the Late Epipaleolithic Period (13,100-9,600 BC) and earlier, in the southern gorge of greater Mount Ararat. The structure emulates all traits described in the Bible, Quran, and by Berossus, Josephus, and in Alexandrian traditions. Noah's Ark has many characteristics similar to modern roll-on-roll-off and trot-on-trot-off maritime vessels."

The archaeologist met with the heirs of Armenian guides that led foreigners to Noah's Ark in the late nineteenth century and the descendants of Armenian interrogators that worked for the Soviet state during the 1930s. Also, Klenck studied artifacts and features from the Ark for ten years sending numerous reports to the Turkish government. The descendants and archaeological data provide insight to the reasons and methods Armenians used to conceal Noah's Ark from 247 BC until today.

Klenck states: "In the nineteenth century, Armenians refined tactics to conceal Noah's Ark. Further, the Ark was used by Khrimian (1820-1907) to support Armenian independence from Ottoman Turkey. However, Khrimian began to doubt Armenian independence was possible. The Ottoman Empire lost territory during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878. Some Armenians fought with Russian armies in eastern Europe. In 1878, during negotiations of the Treaty of Berlin, Khrimian led the Armenian delegation demanding autonomy from the Ottoman Empire. Enraged by Armenian independence initiatives, Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1876-1909) directed Ottoman forces to enforce Pan-Islam, arrest Armenian nationalists, and confiscate their provisions and livestock. Further, Ottoman military and police forces captured and prosecuted Armenian nationalist forces. Also, Tsarist Russia abandoned Armenian independence. Moreover, Marxist groups emerged that were hostile to nationalist initiatives by the Armenian Apostolic Church.

In 1907, in failing health and realizing Armenian independence in Turkey was lost, Khrimian issued four orders that concealed Noah's Ark until recently. First, Khrimian ordered Armenian guides, at the base of Mount Ararat, to cover entrances to Noah's Ark in the southern gorge. In antiquity, Armenians excavated and maintained tunnels, between 4 and 11 meters in depth, from the gorge's surface to apertures leading inside Noah's Ark. Before these entrances, Armenians built reliquaries for approved visitors to worship without entering the vessel. Khrimian's command, to fill the tunnels to prevent access to the Ark, caused unique features to form on the surface of the gorge. Former entrances to Noah's Ark exhibit dark sandy-silt loam ovals surrounded by lighter colored scree.

Second, Khrimian ordered the guides to remove and transport hundreds of artifacts from the Ark in eastern Turkey to locales in southern Georgia. The families removed artifacts from inside the Ark and from reliquaries, where visitors left votive objects from later periods. These artifacts represent a range of specimens including those that were originally part of the Ark, dating to the Late Epipaleolithic Period (13,100-9,600 BC), to several artifacts from Armenian reliquaries around 120 years old.

The division of artifacts between guides was not equal. Senior guides that were part of Armenian militias chose the most ornate artifacts, while younger guides got the leftover specimens. Still, this incongruity helped the younger guides obtain some of the most ancient specimens, as older guides chose later ceramic containers and left the ancient stone and freeze-dried organic artifacts for younger guides.

Third, Khrimian ordered guides and their descendants to direct everyone away from Noah's Ark, in the southern gorge of greater Mount Ararat, until Armenians conquered eastern Turkey or until Jesus Christ returned and established the Messianic Kingdom. Armenians, such as Armais Arutunoff in the 1910s, George Hagopian in the 1970s, and Arthur Chuchian in the 1980s, directed Ark expeditions away from the southern gorge of Mount Ararat. These misdirection practices so detrimentally affected searches for Noah's Ark, modern explorers developed a predisposition against the southern gorge.

Finally, Khrimian ordered the Armenian Church to regularly survey the Ark, to ensure its preservation, even if Turkey controlled Mount Ararat. Each year the Catholicos sends several Armenians to determine the degree Noah's Ark is affected by looters or environmental factors. The Turkish government denies TURSAB climbing visas to anyone with Armenian names. To avoid TURSAB applications, the Catholicos pays higher fees to several Kurdish guides. This way, the Catholicos performs annual inspections of Noah's Ark without Turkish interference."

Klenck concludes, "The rediscovery of Noah's Ark provides tremendous insight to Anatolian prehistory and archaeology. Still, protection and conservation measures need to be expeditious, as the vessel is subject to continual looting and horrific decomposition of its wood architecture and organic artifacts."

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