proof, according to the historians, lay in the form of a story translated
from a series of stone tablets found during the excavation of a royal
library. The library was located in Ninevah, the ancient capital of
Mesopotamia. Known as the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story is said to be four
thousand years old. Older than the Bible in other words. This story refers
to a person Gilgamesh who was warned by the gods about an impending flood.
The gods told him that the flood would destroy the entire human race.
Therefore Gilgamesh, according to the story, built an Ark for the safety of
his family and the animals on earth.
proof cited by historians refers to a list of Sumerian kings, reportedly
compiled around 2,000 BC. The list included eight names and also apparently
said that “a flood came”, after which
“a kingship was sent down from the gods.”
at the Royal Cemetery in the Euphrates Valley, conducted in the twentieth
century is said to have thrown up the final piece of proof. Sir Leonard
Woolley led the excavation in the year 1929. During the excavations, he
reportedly found several layers of broken pottery, flints and remains of
buildings. Beneath the layers lay an eight-foot deep layer of clean,
water-laid mud. And beneath the mud lay
further layers of pots and flints, suggesting that there had occurred,
several centuries earlier, a flood with the water about twenty five feet
deep. Other excavations conducted in the same area and in nearby areas also
drew the conclusion.
Where was the Ark?
The volcanic mountain
Ararat in Turkey has been traditionally associated with the mountain on
which Noah's Ark came to rest at the end of the Flood. The name Ararat is
said to be the Hebrew equivalent of Urardhu, or Urartu, the Assyro-Babylonian
name of a kingdom that flourished between the Rivers Aras and the Upper
Tigris, from the 9th to the 7th century BC.
A legend from
Persia refers to the Ararat as the cradle of the human race. It is said that
there existed a village on the slopes of the Ararat, well above the Aras
plain. The village is said to have been located at the exact spot where Noah
is said to have built an altar and planted the first vineyard. Above the
village, the Armenians (who consider themselves the first race of humans to
reappear on the earth after the great Flood) built a monastery in memory of
a saint who repeatedly attempted to scale the summit of the Great Ararat,
one of the two peaks of the Ararat, in search of the Ark. Both the monastery
and the village were destroyed in 1840, when an avalanche following an
earthquake destroyed them.
local people still believe that the Ark exists on the peak. After a German
mountaineer first successfully scaled the peak in the nineteenth century,
several others too have scaled it and some of them claim to have seen the
remains of the Ark.