January 28th, 2014
11:33 AM ET

Noah's Ark Discovery Raises Flood of Questions

That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.

A British scholar, Irving Finkel, has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.

The newly decoded cuneiform tells of a divinely sent flood and a sole survivor on an ark, who takes all the animals on board to preserve them. It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark.

But there is one apparently major difference: The ark in this version is round.

We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).

What’s really intriguing scholars is the description of the ark itself.

The Bible presents a standard boat shape  long and narrow. The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side.

The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

Archaeologists are planning to design a prototype of the ark, built to the specifications of this text, to see if it would actually float. Good luck to them in trying to estimate the weight of its cargo.

So, why does this new discovery matter? See the full story at CNN's Belief Blog.


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  1. John Streeter

    Noah was instructed by God in detail to include bringing male and female baby cub animals into the Ark, to include other animals and grain for food. The four women and men aboard the ark had no problem taking care of the animals who grew accustomed to their caretakers. Once the grew to adult size both man and animal became over accustomed to their environment and wanted to be free, so the fact that the creatures wanter their space and spread abroad over the new world it not a suprise.

    January 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  2. Mike


    This tablet has nothing to do with the Bible. Stop trying to use it to support nonsense.

    January 29, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  3. martina

    Correction. 2370 BCE.

    January 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  4. martina

    11 In the 600th year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the 17th day of the month, on that day all the springs of the vast watery deep burst open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.+ 12 And the rain poured down on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. (Genesis 7:11,12)
    The date of the flood can be worked out as 2070 BCE
    The date in the bible corresponds with the 2nd November. Coincidence that all these festivals to the dead are celebrated around the world around that date? Mankind never forgot that destruction. EVERY nation and tribe has a flood story. Why, if it didn't happen?

    January 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Reply

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