Noah's Ark

Hollywood resurrects Noah's Ark, but did they get it right?

The new film Noah starring Russell Crowe as the man chosen by God to collect pairs of animals on Earth and gather them into a massive ark has just hit cinemas around the world. But has Hollywood got it right? 

The movie features a great rectangular-shaped vessel some 50 feet tall and 500 feet long and made of wood. According to film director, Darren Aronofsky, the inspiration for the design came by "going back to what God tells Noah in the Bible". The problem is that Aronofsky may have been using the wrong instruction manual when designing the Biblical blockbuster.  

Last year, translation of an ancient instruction manual for building an ark written on a clay tablet dating back 3,700 years turned the common depiction of Noah's Ark on its head. Far from describing a traditional wooden ship that would float on flood waters with animals peering out through the windows, the ancient text described a ship that was in fact a circular disc shape.

A traditional depiction of Noah's Ark as a typical wooden ship.

For years, archaeologists have scoured the world for factual evidence for the Bible story of Noah's flood, but due to lack of scientific proof, many believe the story to be an Old Testament myth.

However, linguistic expert Dr Irving Finkel firmly believes that Noah’s Ark and the ‘flood myth’ describe real events that took place, and he bases this belief not on faith, but on archaeological evidence coming from a 3,700-year-old clay tablet. The tablet was found in the Middle East by Leonard Simmons, who served in the RAF during the 1940s. However, the ancient artefact wasn't subject to any research until Simmons's son Douglas took it to the British Museum in 2008.

As an expert in deciphering cuneiform script and assistant keeper of the ancient Mesopotamian script, languages and cultures department at the British Museum, Finkel was able to translate the text on the clay tablet, leading to a new interpretation of the ark story.

The tablet described a Mesopotamian story, which became the account in Genesis in the Old Testament, of Noah and the ark that saved every animal species from the flood waters.  The text describes God speaking to Atram-Hasis, a Sumerian king who is the Noah figure in earlier versions of the ark story.

He says: 'Wall, wall! Reed wall, reed wall! Atram-Hasis, pay heed to my advice, that you may live forever! Destroy your house, build a boat; despise possessions and save life! Draw out the boat that you will build with a circular design; Let its length and breadth be the same.'

The ancient Babylonian text describes the ark as a round 65-metre diameter coracle with walls 6 metre high, spread over two levels. The craft was divided into sections to divide the various animals into their own sections. The 60 lines of text, which Dr Finkel describes as a “detailed construction manual for building an ark”, claims the craft was built using ropes and reeds before being smeared with bitumen to make it waterproof.

An ancient clay tablet describes an ark that is circular in shape. Image source.

Scholars have always assumed that the ark was an ocean-going boat with a pointed stem and stern for riding the waves, but according to Finkel, the ark didn’t have to go anywhere, it just had to float.

The story of Noah’s ark is described in dozens of ancient texts and is told in three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  According to the story, God flooded the world as punishment for its corruption and told Noah to build an ark and fill it with a male and female of every breed of animal. Once the flood receded, the ark came to rest on a mountain. Many people believe that the story is historically accurate and that this mountain was Mount Ararat in Turkey, the region's highest point. Other's believe that the flood myth was simply a creative story passed down from generation to generation.

Featured image: Noah's Ark under construction in the new film 'Noah'. Photo credit: Paramount 

By April Holloway

Comments

Capitalization is the sign for respect. "The text describes god speaking to Atram-Hasis, a Sumerian king who is the Noah figure in earlier versions of the ark story." Respect given to titles, yet God isn't? May wanna work on that. ;)

Demanding respect for your "god" is a lack of respect to everyone else. Why do you feel entitled to this demand? You should respect fellow humans (your brothers) before your religion (or does your "god" not teach you that?)

People like you make religions scary.

"JAAL." More like BAAL. Go back to your corner and serve your little idol created being. GOD deserves capitalization, much more than some king. Yah is KING of kings, as you know.

Aside from showing respect to a diety, the other way of looking at it is as simple as using proper grammar. Proper nouns (for example proper names) are alway capitalized denoting a person propper than just using an impropper noun like "him", "her", etc. In western culture when we say "God" we are refering to a particular person/ entity. So in grammatical terms it is only proper to captitalize the "G". If you are refering to the "gods" plural with no distinction you can use a lower case "g". But when you denote a particular "god" such as "Z"eus, or "J"upiter, you will of course captialize the first letter of that proper noun/name. The same will go for "A"llah...because if we started writing "a"llah, we are denoting not a particular diety, but a generic "g"od; you would get very upset, unless you are an atheist then in that case the argument would not be mute, but take "Allah" and replace it with "j"aal. That just takes away you as an individual person and subjugagets you to "him", "her", etc. ...And to your stab at religion...humanity is hard wired biologically to believe in a God or 'gods'. Belief in what is termed as a higher power is not a human weakness, but a strength and one of the major distinctions between humans and every other form of life on Earth. People with your hostility like over zealous 'religious' people are what makes this world unbearable in my opinion.

So seriouly, tone down your hostitlity towards what a large number of humans on this earth believe., and to the origional author of the comment...CHILL out. The more we can learn about our collective human histroy the more complete we are as a species. Plus sometimes, people do make spelling/gramatical errors or don't know better.

Get behind me Satan, The Father, Lord God is the Alpha and the Omega there is no god before me or after.

Pffffft...

Whoa, what's with all the outrage, he was making a simple point. Have a problem with "God", atheist?

Honestly people like you scare me more than anything. How can someone be so ignorant? You will know the Truth soon enough. Every knee WILL bow before YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - the King of kings and Lord of lords. You absolutely WILL bow in that day whether you like it or not.

Ignorance is the lack of knowledge, not the lack of faith. In fact, since faith is belief without proof, it's closer to the proper definition of ignorance. I'm wondering if folks like you are seriously advocating that I maintain a harem of wives, sell my daughters, refuse to eat pork or shellfish (or any meat/dairy mixture), regularly perform animal sacrifices, et al, which are all part of the book you use to define Truth

Let the Jews have their sulky, immature, killer God. I don't see why they want to involve the world in their silly superstition, my old Norse Gods are more human, more real and are not bastards. They have real names!!!

In our book, Persis of Atlantis, we portray the real reason for the "Flood". In reality, the "flood" was the refilling of the mediterranean basin after the last ice age.

By the way, the direct translation of "Ark" is "Box".

I suspect that as the Med refilled, which probably took between 52 and 75 years, many different people built a means of escape and survival from the rising waters.

Try reading Paradise Rediscovered by Michael Cahill for a compelling account of the "FLOOD"

So why does "every animal" need to mean every animal on Planet Earth?

Why not simply, "every domesticated animal" ? .. just plain logic!

Well that wouldn't explain the survival of all the undomesticated animals would it?

The Flood wasn`t Global, Duh!

If you submerged the whole Planet, where would the water drain to?

Explain the seashells on Mt. Everest then

There is this idea that has been sort of made fact by human eyes that the ground you stand on is actually part of large plates that rest on the Earth's mantle and through processes are moving, shifting, and creating new ground/ earth. Many parts of the earth that are now long dry were once under water as is well known in modern geology. Check out an old tv series by James Burke called "The Day the Universe Changed", that I rediscovered on youtube and watch all 10 epidsodes.

Ummmm, that's because the Indian sub-continent has been pressing into Asia for a long time moving formerly sea level areas to mountain heights, hence the creation of the Himalayas. It's astounding how little understanding of science many fundamentalists have. You guys try to force reality and data to fit an ancient book that says the world may be 6,000 years. It also describes a global flood, which as a previous person noted, would require more water than exists in the world, by far. Where did it go? I have no problem with the idea of God. But much of the Bible, especially Old Testament, is not something to be followed.

Paul, get ye an education. Then we can talk sensibly. A little basic geology and an understanding of continental drift and you will undestand how 'sea shells' can get to the top of MT. Everest.

The oceans sank due to their great weight and the land areas rose to the mountain heights we have today. Not difficult to figure this out as earths thin crust sits upon a molten alluvial magma.

The entire Earth need not have been covered with water. What do you think would occur if we had a physical (not magnetic) pole shift and the Earth's crust was displaced as a result? Imagine the colossal Tsunamis that would rage unabated across the face of the planet, ala the movie '2012' with Nicholas Cage. It could take several weeks or more for those waters to subside, which we is what we see in the biblical narrative. Lands could have been lost forever (which explains the underwater cities we see all over the planet) and new lands may perhaps have arisen because of it. To anyone on a boat that was waiting to sight land, it could indeed appear that the entire planet may have been covered with water.

It has been suggested to me by a neo-Sumerian practitioner that what the story really reveals (interesting that the 'ark' is circular) is that Noah/Gilgamesh carried the DNA of all the animals & plants, not physical animals. Think about it - how would you feed all those animals that many days? But if you have the DNA, it can be replicated...just sayin'...

It's been proven that the Black Sea flooded about 6000 years ago. It was a fresh water lake about 1/3 the current volume. When the Mediterranean Sea spilt over with the volume of 10 Niagara Falls, the ground water rose about 1-3 inches per day. This was talked about for 1000 years until writing appeared and this is what we see written. Tiras- Grandson of Noah.

Living only 5 miles from the Falls, I can tell you that spreading 10 of them over the Mediteranean Sea would be like adding a handful of sand to a beach.

From reading worldwide 'stuff' over the years it appears there are many stories regarding huge floods, not only in Europe but in the Americas. The iceage calamities could well have caused those, including the one where a huge lake was dammed by ice, above Canada, and which apparently (so it was said to have been proven) broke away and the surge of water caused the seas to rise, particularly affecting the Med. area

Mt. Everest aka the Himalayas were created by the Indian continent and the Asian continent coming together, those mountains wouldn't have existed before that point, so it would have been under the ocean millions of years ago.

Of course if your a bible basher who believes the world is only 6,000 years old, then all this is just nonsense, and are the mindless ramblings of people written down in the book is the only truth to your weak God fearing uneducated minds.

Not this childish religion stuff again..

another example of christians lying to turn more people into there cult

OK, so what's this about it not being streamlined like a boat? The bible does not say anything to suggest it was anything but a giant box so why does it take this clay tablet to establish this?

Furthermore, how can Noah have been a Sumerian king when sumeria would not have existed as the current layout of the Mesopotamian basin would not have come about til after the flood?

Come to that, why is this anything new when we already have Gilgamesh, which like this one bears some similarities to the Old Testament but has some altered details as if it has suffered from a long period of hearsay?

Dude, the Epic of Gilgamesh predates the writing of the Old Testament, by a long time. If any document/story is a retelling or distant echo, it is the OT Noah story. Much of the OT is just a later rehashing of all kinds of Egyptian, Sumerian, or Babylonian myths. Remember, Abraham was of Ur, a Sumerian city, before he was ever a "Israelite" or "Hebrew."

Why is it always my God your God this God that God ......... the fact that this tablet was found and we can see what it says. 

This argument misses the point by a country mile. The entity in question giving directions was ENKI. The entity opposed to informing the humans of the upcoming tsunami was ENLIL. They were half brothers, and at loggerheads over most issues. Enki had made man as a hybrid between his own DNA and the DNA of the current inhabitant of the time (probably homo erectus) and did not want to see his creation destroyed. He knew that the incoming asteroid would create a massive tsunami, and that a coracle type boat would survive best. The boat with Atram-Hasis (Ziusudra, Utnapishtim) survived the tsunami, which carried it all the way to the north into Armenia, where it grounded. Berossus reports that the remains of the boat were still visible in the Corcyrean Mountains of Armenia in his day. This resolves the problems of Genesis, where God both creates and detroys. In the Sumerian original, there is no conflict, since it is two different entities with different goals.

I agree with your comments after this rather un-learned article. Enki, Enlil, Oannes have all been well established by other translators of the summering clay tablets of that ancient period. I do however personally entertain the notional theory that the large ship-shaped object found just south or Mt.Ararat and the subsequent finds of gigantic anchor stones and a farmhouse with attendant altar stone up on the flank of the nearby mountain could have been 'reverse engineered' into the Old Testament histories when someone wanted to prove the veracity of their verbal histories decended from Summer.

Sumerians and the term Sumer was a term that was originated and created and given as the name of that land (to label that geographical area) by outside races and\or tribes hundreds (if not thousands) of years after the fact. However, the actual people of Sumer and Sumerians themselves, of which we refer to as the Ancients, weren't really a race called Sumerians. As I said, the term Sumerian was given to these people by outsiders. These Sumerians in actuality were Armenians, that migrated south from the Armenian Highlands (modern day Eastern Turkey/Armenia/Western Azerbaijan).

Why? It is true the Sumerian scriptures can be translated into modern languages. But, the sole primer (ie language to use) that is the most identical and relevant language that can successfully and FULLY decipher the Sumerian scriptures is the Armenian language. Read Armen Davtyan or watch his interviews on YT if you can understand Armenian.

The name Enki is a variation of the Armenian God/founder Hayk (modern), Ea, Hya, Haig, Hayki, Haldi, Haigi, Engi, Enki. The name Oanness is a name that is still used today, spelling variations include: Ogannes, Hovannes, Oannes.

An example of term usage in Sumerian scripture:

Sumerians wrote or drew actually symbols or pictures of things in order to communicate. For example, They wanted to write/draw "wind." That's pretty impractical to try and draw wind, so they drew a sieve. The word sieve in Armenian is KAMICH. When the CH is dropped, it is KAMI, which means wind. Now in the context this term was used, it was completely irrelevant to use the word KAMICH, but when CH is dropped to form the word KAMI (wind), the context made sense.

Sumerians were NOT semites, of no connection to any Abrahamic gods or bloodlines, that is pure Jewish Zionist propaganda. There is a reason, that Armenia is called the Cradle of Civilization. There is a reason the bible places the Garden of Eden in Armenia. There is a reason that Noah's Ark supposedly landed on Mt. Ararat. Another example, Adam and Eve. They are Armenian allegories. Adamu/Aramu/Aram was the name of the Armenian God. The founder of the race/land etc. Heba, the Armenian goddess of water/fertility, is the origin of Eve. Heba\Heva\Eva\Eve. Why is the goddess of water Heba relevant? The land of the Armenian Highlands (the Cradle of Civilization, where human civilization began), starting from the melting snowcaps of Mt. Ararat form and and then divide into two giant rivers called the Tigris and Euphrates which fertilized the land and also Mesopotamia (Fertile Crescent). See the allegory? You have Adam (Adamu/Aramu/Aram) the almighty Creator and you have Eve (Eva\Heva\Heba) the goddess of water and fertility. Water sustains life, Tigris and Euphrates rivers sustained life, agriculture, harvesting, farming, animal breeding, etc. The Bible is one big allegory of ancient historical events and figures, with some changes along the way to better suit the the people of the time that used them, ie Old Testament. The story of Jesus, is an identical parallel to that of Mher\Mithra\Mithraism (Armenian god\religion NOT Persian) predating Christianity by hundreds and thousands of years.

ChrisD's picture

George - thank you for that. Most interesting and quite compelling.  The very recently discovered ancient site of Gobeklitepe lies between the Tigris & Euphates.

No one is sure what the animals depicted on the megalith circles are meant to depict or symbolise, but I feel it's not going to be long before we can put all the pieces of humanity's most intricate puzzle together. What an honour to live in such times.

Thanks for allowing me to see this wonderful site.

ancient-origins's picture

Thank you Mary!

The posts above provide interesting comments and information. I would add to George Babudzhyan's very good, lengthy post that there appears to be other relevant history for us to understand prior to the Sumerians and the Sumer area. Consider the Cydonia area on Mars and the tiny, tidbit of information from Wayne Herschel's 3 minute video, linked below, that comes from his larger body of fascinating work at Hidden Secrets dot com. This should be enough evidence to spur curiosity in some people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V0U1ZuXIyw

The entire Earth need not have been covered with water. What do you think would occur if we had a physical (not magnetic) pole shift and the Earth's crust was displaced as a result? Imagine the colossal Tsunamis that would rage unabated across the face of the planet, ala the movie '2012' with Nicholas Cage. It could take several weeks or more for those waters to subside, which is what we see in the biblical narrative. Lands could have been lost forever (which explains the underwater cities we see all over the planet) and new lands may perhaps have arisen because of it. To anyone on a boat that was waiting to sight land, it could indeed appear that the entire planet may have been covered with water.

Mount Ararat in Turkey ....please look at what Mount Ararat is ? volcano ! a later than the time frame of the flood ...in the mountains of Ararat ...ancient kingdom area .....a lot was said about the ark by others of old ,damn just the facts again ......please study real history and facts ...damn dark age agenda !

Wow, it seems like everyone has a dog in the fight. I wonder what the facts tell us. Well, the facts tell us that someone wrote about a big round boat.

A boat would suggest two things:
1. Warning or foreknowledge.
2. Fast moving water.

When I think of "Floods" I think melting ice. It seems that there was a Late Glacial Maximum about 13k years ago that would have caused a lot of liquid water to be added to the system.

Now we need to see that water moving faster than melt rates to require a boat. Why not just walk away? Unless the sea level rise is too quick? Two theories I've heard seem to fit. One is the glacial lake of melted water released when the last ice barrier breaks. The other is that the slowly rising waters broke or breached a land barrier causing areas to flood rapidly. Both seem plausible.

Also, the story may be only partially true, in that the water did rise, but fictional in the need for a boat. Eliminating the fast flood theory in place of steadily rising water levels and making a warning unnecessary.

My "dog" in this fight is that I don't want the date any later than possible. I like the breaking glacier theory, because it provides an earlier date for a flood.

I recommend that all the contributors here find their "Dog" and leash it. I want civilization to be older than the commonly accepted dates provide for, I know that this is my desire, the weakness in my judgement, so I check my thinking constantly to leash the dog of my imagination as much as possible.

mr32953

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