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Reconstruction of Noah's Ark

Noah’s Ark to be reconstructed following instructions on ancient Babylonian tablet


Work has begun on a full-scale reproduction of Noah’s Ark according to an ancient manual written on clay tablet dating back 3,700 years.  The reconstruction will form the basis of a new television documentary to be aired on Channel 4 in the UK later this year.  It will follow attempts to build the ark according to the ancient Babylonian text, which was recently translated.

The ancient tablet was found in the Middle East by Leonard Simmons, who served in the RAF during the 1940s. However, the artefact wasn't subject to any research until Simmons's son Douglas took it to the British Museum in 2008.  Linguistic expert Dr Irving Finkel, who described the text as “one of the most important human documents ever discovered”, translated the text on the clay tablet, leading to a new interpretation of the Noah’s 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.”

Remarkably, the tablet is like a detailed manual which provides precise details about its construction and design.  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 said to be divided into sections to divide the various animals into their own sections, and was built using ropes and reeds before being smeared with bitumen to make it waterproof. It even provides details on the two kinds of bitumen and the precise amount of rope needed.

The boat is already in the early stages of construction, with traditional boat-builders in India working to specifications found in the ancient Babylonian tablet.

This is not the first time a full-size ark has been constructed; in 2012 Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers opened to the public his 460ft-long reproduction of Noah's Ark.  However, like the art constructed by Huibers, experts have always assumed that the ark was an ocean-going boat with a pointed stem and stern for riding the waves, but according to the Babylonian tablet, one of the key features was that the ark was a round, disc-shaped vessel.

Despite translating the 3,700-year-old instructions on exactly how to construct the ark, Finkel doesn’t believe that it was ever built.  For a start there is no reference to how collecting, housing, watering, feeding and caring for hundreds of animals aboard a wooden ship was achieved. There is also no clue as to how the animals managed to travel or where they were going.  He believes the tale was likely passed on to the Jews during their exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C.  And he doesn't think the tablet provides evidence the ark described in the Bible existed. He said it's more likely that a devastating real flood made its way into folk memory, and has remained there ever since.  Nevertheless, others believe the detailed building instructions found in the ancient tablet are proof that the story of the ark really is true.

Featured Image: Construction begins an Ark to be built to specifications given in a pre-Biblical tablet Photo: Courtesy of Blink Films and Channel 4.

By April Holloway



yes, Mistiq, that makes sense to me...

Thats a completly illogical assumption, do you have any proof at all for aliens?
"A Male and Female of every species" doesnt literally mean every animal in the world but every animal known to the people at the time, which for all intent and purpose WAS the world to them. Its only logical to think that they probably had like a max of 50 species on board which is still pretty damn impressive but also alot more belivable than mysterious DNA aliens.
Also, why do people assume there was only one Ark? With the migration of what was probably an entire culture there were probably a few Arks (why would people watch the water rising, watch "Noah" build a boat and not do the same). Over time and for the sake of the stories they probably got melded into one.

I don't see how there could be male and female of every single animal on a boat, nevermind how you would get them in there. It is only logical to think that it was a lab and the person who gave these instructions were highly advanced, so advanced in fact that the people thought of them as gods.

I'm always easygoing with anyone who does there research and has a reasonable mind.

As much as I enjoy a good debate, Vlad, I find you to be refreshingly reasonable.  And not just because you tend to agree with me haha.


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April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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