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Noah and the Great Flood

by Robert D. Mock MD

Part Two in a presentation to the Forum on Creation and Ancient History

Houston, Texas

Spring, 1998



The Ark of Noah in Classical Literature


Biblical Description


“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt  pitch it within and without with pitch.  “And this is the fashion, which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height thirty cubits. “A window shat thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above: and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof: and lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.”  (Genesis 6:14-16)


Description of the Ark in Ancient Sources


Sumerian - Atra-hasis -described as a “nasirat napistum” or the “lifesaver”.


Akkadian - Epic of Gilgamesh - This epic of antiquity date back to the Sumerian era. Seven texts have survived to the modern era.  The schools of scribes kept this epic story alive through the Babylonian and into the Assyrian empires, where it was originally found in the palace library of Ashurbanipal who ruled from 668-627 BC. 


The building of the ark as described in Tablet XI, Line 24,  finds Utnapishtim (Noah) being given secret instructions on the building of the ark, while he was in a reed house.  His instructions were, “Tear down the (reed) house and build and ark.”  The construction basically consisted of reed used to build the home or palace of Noah


The construction workers who built the ark included, the “carpenter carried his hatchet”, ….the reed worker carried his (flattening stone), ….the child carried the pitch.  It had six decks, seven levels, and nine compartments, plus plugs designs to keep out the water in its middle part.  The construction supplies also included raw bitumen (three times 3600 (units), pitch, (three times 3600(units)


 In the epic, the landing site for the ship of Utnapishtim appears in tablet 11, lines 140 to 144 and translated as Mount NisirThe translation of cuneiform Kur ni sir is translated more like “the place - helper and ally      (Fasold p. 110)


The Egyptian Book of the Dead - “Say (these) words over a boat ….made in colour green, for the divine chiefs.  Make a heaven of stars washed and purified with natron (and) with incense.” 


(The Egyptian Book of the Dead, trans. EA Wallis Budge. P. 141-142)





 The Papyrus of Ani  Plate XII


This boat was called the “divine boat of Nu”. It is of interest it was made a green color suggesting reeds or the color of a plant.

The “heaven of stars” is reminiscent of the canopy surrounding the earth in the pre-diluvian era sometimes called a ‘heavenly vault’ or a ‘canopy like heaven’. “Purified with Natron and  incense” is suggestive of the catalyst in the coating of the ark which would form a hard ferro-cement coating, while the interior of the boat was coated with a resinous oil  with an aroma like incense  maybe similar to pine oil today. 


Varuna’s House of Clay:  A Persian’ expedition about 800 BC found what they described to be   fortress deposition of clay which they entered at the surface and discovered that it was three stories under ground.  This they identified as the ‘Varuna’s House of Clay.  The structure was a virtual fortress, which was called a ‘var’ in Persian and attributed to Varuna recognized by the Persians as the Biblical Noah.


Cubit - measurement of size

Hebrew Cubic -  18 inches

At 300 cubits, the Ark would be 450 feet long.

At 50 cubits, the Ark would be   75 feet wide.

At 30 cubits, the Ark would be   45 feet wide.

This unit of measurement in that is different than the Egyptian cubit, suggests that it is a later calculation used by different means, and not related to measurements in the pre-Exodus period. 


Old Egyptian Cubic

52.5centimeters or 20.666929 inches are recognized by Bjorn Landstrom, expert on ancient sailing vessels who worked with Ahmad Youssof Moustafa on the Pharaoh’s boat at Cheops, as being the Old Egyptian Cubic

At 300 cubits, the Ark would be 516.67 feet long.

At 50 cubits, the Ark would be 86.11 feet wide.

At 30 cubits, the Ark would be 51.67 feet high.


Other Suggestion for a Cubit -

The length of the forearm - The new Scofield Reference Bible, Notes on 2 Chronicles, Oxford University Press, New York, 1967


Length of a new born baby - (Shockey, Don, Agri-Dagh, the Painful Mountain, Pioneer Publishing Co., Fresno, CA, 1968. P. 22


The Measuring Rod held by the Angel of Ezekiel and John the Revelator.

Celestial measurement as found in Ezekiel 40:3 and 5. …. “there was a man (Theophanies), whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate… a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an hand breadth.


The measuring rod as suggested by Fasold is pi, which is used to measure the circumference of a circle by its diameter, which is 3.1416 times the diameter.

One ‘measuring rod’ cubit = 39.37 (one meter) / 6 = .5236 meter = 20.6 inches

At 300 cubits, the Ark would be 515 feet long

At   50 cubits, the Ark would be   85.83 feet wide.

At 30 cubits, the Ark would be   51.5 feet tall


Also notice, that the length of the Ark at 515 feet would be recognized as 6180 inches, or Phi,  which was known in ancient literature as the Golden Section.  This measurement was lost in ancient times and rediscovered by Euclid and Pythagorus.  This measurement has been used in the Pyramids and later to form the grandeur and beauty of the medieval cathedrals in Europe.


Absolute Meter - This meter as coined by Alvarez Lopex from Argentina, in his book, Physics and Creation, that the cubit of 523.6 millimeters is exactly half of the celestial measurement called the Absolute Meter.  This is a celestial or solar system measurement in which planets rotate in what is called a ‘harmonic distance’, the distance from the sun. This distance is measured by the absolute meter.


Therefore, the Noachian cubit, is also a celestial measurement based on Pi, Phi, the Golden Section and the Absolute Meter.  It is .5236 meters or 20.6 inches.


Explorers and Expeditions


Explorers to the site of Noah’s Ark.


800 BC - Reported by Assyrian explorers and called Varuna’s House of Clay. It was entered at the surface and was three stories deep in the ground.


13th c. AD -  Jehan Haithron - “But at the summit a great black object is always visible, which is said to be the Ark of Noah”


13th c. AD - William of Roubruck - “Near this city (of Naxua) are mountains in which they say that Noah’s ark rests.”


17th c. AD - Adam Olearius, - “The Armenians… are of the opinion that there are still upon that said mountain some remainders of the ark…”


1829 - J.J.Friedrich Parrot and five others, claimed that the earthquakes of 1840 and 1883 exposed the remains of Noah’s ark which was under a glacial remains.

About 1856- report by Armenian Adventist called Haji Yearam at 76 years of age, claimed as a youth he guided “three vile men who did not believe the Bible.”  They found the ark on Agri Dagi with several floors and animal cages with bars in place.  They tried to destroy it by fire, but it was too hard. (Bayley, Lloyd, Noah, p. 82)


1876 - James Bryce from England found easily cut timber at 13,000 yet even he felt the wood came from other means.


1883 - quoted from a British newpaper, Prophetic Messenger, after an earthquake, a Turkey expedition was sent to evaluate the damage.  They went through “dense forests”, and were “wading sometimes waist high in water” in a stream, and claimed the wood was painted with a dark brown pigment. (above 7 accounts reported by Bayley, Lloyd, Noah, p.82.


April 25, 1887 - Prince John Joseph Nouri, from Trichur, India, who called himself the Archbishop of the Christian Nestorian Church claimed to have first seen the ark after three expeditions.  This reports was made in 1893 to the World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago that year.  It was reported in the Zion’s Watchtower of August 15, 1894 and later

reported by Eryl Cummings in her works. 

Ark as described by George Hagopian


1902 - George Hagopian - an elderly Armenian reported that he saw this ship at the age of 10.  According to his memory, it was 1000 feet long, 600-700 feet wide and about 40 feet tall.  It was built with wooden dowels and the wood was too hard for a bullet to penetrate.             


1916 - Roskovitsky - This is the fascinating account of a Russian pilot who spotted the ark.  A Russian expedition was later sent into investigate in which the ark was actually sited, entered and described in detail including the room, architecture and construction is great detail.  The details of this story was later found to be a hoax, fabricated by a Benjamin Allen using it to raise funds for the Sacred History Research Expedition (SHRE) in the early 1940 era.


November 13, 1948 - reported in Turkish newspaper and later by Erle Cummings, a Armenian named Reshit, claims to have seen “the petrified remains of an object which the peasants insist resembles a ship high on Mount Ararat.” A reporter named Edwin Greenwald, claims to have gotten his report from a 69 year old farmer named Shukra Asena. “A Kurdish farmer named Reshit about two months prior had been climbing two-thirds up the 16,000 foot peak, when he noticed something he had never seen before, although he had been up the mountains many times.  A ship’s prow protruded from a canyon down which tons of melting snow and ice had been rushing for more than two months.”  David Fasold found and interviewed this man, Reshit and recorded it fully in his book, The Ark of Noah.. He identified the remains to be the site at Tendurek, situated not at 16,000 feet but about the 6000 foot elevation.  (Fasold, Ibid, p.85) 


1948-1949 - A reported letter from five Turkish war veterans was received by an American expedition who were planning a trip to Ararat to look for the Ark.  As reported by Violet Cummings in a book called, Has Anybody Really Seen Noah’s Ark?, as follows:  When returning form World War I, I and five or six of my friends passed by the Ararat.  We saw Noah’s Ark leaning against the mountain.  I measure the length of the boat.  It was 150 paces long.  It had three stories.  I read in the papers that an American group is looking for this boat.  I wish to inform you that I shall personally show this boat and I request your intervention so that I may show the boat”   This letter was verified in 1966 by a man who claimed to be the scribe of the 1948 letter. All the soldiers had died.  It was reported that the translator kept referring to a hill called ‘Cudi’, explaining that the Koran claimed the

Ark came to rest on Mount Judi


1959 - Sevket Kurtis - photographed the area in a Turkish mapmaking project. These pictures were passed on by Captain Iihan Durupainar to the superiors of the Turkish Army and later were popularized in the world media press.


1959 - Rene Noorbergen - and Adventist author and reporter sought to raise an expedition, but  dimensions of the site at Tendurek were exceeding the Biblical dimension as viewed by photogrammetric expert at Ohio State University, Dr. Arthur Brandenberger, caused  funding difficulties needed to raise an expedition.


1960, Spring - George Vandenburg, SDA evangelist. Examined the site at Tendurek and whose major investigation included trying to blow out a segment by dynamite to examine to see if wood fragments would materialize.  This site was not investigated because once again its dimensions did not match the traditional Christian interpretation of size using Hebrew cubit measurements which was not in use for anther 1000 years.  The expedition went over to Mount Ararat to attempt another scaling and sighting of the elusive ship on that mount.


1984 - Ron Wyatt, David Fasold and Ron Baumgartner :  This three men were responsible for thee site survey and research evaluation on the site of Tendurek and reported in this report and in the book, The Ark of Noah,by David Fasold.




Pictures and Drawings



Lindsay - The Genesis Flood





Fasold, The Ark of Noah




Old European engraving of the Ark












Nuhum Gemisi,  (Noah’s Ark) theTurkish photo that shook the world, showing a ship like object in the middle of an alluvial mud flow. Did the Ark settle down to a soft landing?  Actually the remains show it crash against a rock outcropping






Go to Part Three – Location and Description of the Ark