Archaeologist Answers Why Prehistoric Sites Associated with Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat Were Recently Discovered

Archaeologist elucidates why the discovery of prehistoric sites associated with Noah’s Ark occurred in the last decade.


Miami, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/19/2013 --For centuries, the account of Noah’s Ark, a Biblical and Quranic account where an ancient family survived a worldwide deluge on a massive wood vessel and repopulated the globe, has fascinated explorers and religious adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In 2009, a Chinese religious organization, Noah’s Ark Ministries, Inc., with a Kurdish guide, a Turkish geologist, archaeologist, and government ministers announced the discovery of the Ark of Noah. In 2011, Dr. Joel Klenck, a Harvard University educated archaeologist and current president of the archaeological contract firm PRC, Inc., confirmed the veracity of the site and its prehistoric origin during the Late Epipaleolithic Period (13,100 to 9,600 B.C.). In this report, the archaeologist opines why the discovery of prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat only occurred during the last decade.

Klenck states, “The first problem is the assumption that this site is only a recent discovery. This claim is not correct. For centuries, there have been reports by a wide array of people from different periods—including the Jewish historian Josephus in the first century and Russian military officers in the nineteenth century—confirming the presence of a monumental, ancient wood structure on Mount Ararat, which they associated with the Ark.”

The archaeologist continues: “The second problem is that few archaeologists completed surveys of Mount Ararat at elevations above 3,000 meters above sea level. During the last decade, a Turkish archaeologist, Aynur Özfirat, completed a series of archaeological surveys on Mount Ararat. His highest recorded site, K73/2, had an elevation of around 2,300 meters above sea level. I believe most archaeologists assumed that no habitations would exist above 3,000 meters on Mount Ararat because above this elevation the mountain is barren of vegetation, difficult to traverse, incurs terrible weather, and much of the area is covered with ice or large boulders. Perhaps another reason the sites were not found is that surveyors had backgrounds in historic periods instead of prehistoric archaeology. They looked for ceramic material but perhaps were not as focused on searching for debitage, lithic tools, or prehistoric features.”

He also doubts proficiency of the adventurers that searched for the ark. Klenck remarks, “Randall Price got his degree in biblical studies; Richard Bright was a former pilot; Don Patton is an adventurer. Other ark researchers had questionable degrees from unaccredited schools. It surprises me that none of these so-called expeditions for the ark included a survey archaeologist or someone familiar with anthropological or prehistoric archaeology. Personally, I feel these expeditions were just trying to make money, instead of surveying for cultural material and archeological sites.”

Klenck states, “I have participated in many archaeological surveys and was taught by, worked with, or was employed by some of the best survey archaeologists in the world. Most archaeologists, with my background and familiar with anthropological archaeology and cultural resource management surveys, would have found the archaeological features on Ararat with relative ease.”

The archaeologist opines why many discounted the discoveries on Ararat: “With big discovery comes big drama. Many individuals wrote off the discovery because they were misled by a Kurdish tour guide, Murat Sahin, a convicted murderer who was released from prison in 2009; his American partner, Amy Beam, who was recently deported from Turkey for crimes against tourists; and a trio of ark searchers: Randall Price, Richard Bright, and Don Patton. These individuals opposed the discovery for a montage of reasons: tribal rivalry, hysteria, ignorance, emotion, lack of discernment, bias, and mostly because they profited from bogus Noah’s Ark searches. As a professional archaeologist, I was trained to look past the drama and dispassionately evaluate cultural material and archaeological features. The prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat are absolutely factual and there is just so much wonderfully preserved archaeological material of great antiquity at these sites.”

Klenck concludes, “I am just the first archaeologist to survey the site, analyze the archaeological material, and the first Western archaeologist to confirm the veracity and prehistoric origins of these archaeological features. More archaeologists and researchers from excellent research institutions will follow me. For an archaeologist, the prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat represent the Super Bowl of Archaeology—sites elucidating the origins of the Neolithic or age of farming and associated with an ancient account of greater magnitude than the Trojan War. I feel fortunate that I was able to play a part in the research, defense, and advocacy of these tremendously important prehistoric sites. I congratulate Ahmet ‘Parasut’ Ertugrul, his family, and friends on the discovery of this site; Noah’s Ark Ministries for their faith; and Turkish and Kurdish scholars and government ministers for their continued advocacy of these absolutely significant archaeological features.”

About PRC, Inc.
Founded in 2007, PRC, Inc. provides comprehensive worldwide archaeological services including surveys, excavations, and research.

Media Relations Contact

Joel Klenck
PRC, Inc.

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