In 1998, during an informal gathering for seekers of Noah's ark, several participants went to the Durupinar site to explore it and the surrounding area. Among them were Dr. Salih Bayraktutan of Ataturk University, Dr. Robert Michelson of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Dr. William Shea.
During their inspection on the ridge above the site, the group found an ancient burial urn that may be related to the ark site. It was partially eroded out of a terraced area. At the present time dating tests are being performed on the samples taken.
On their inspection of the ark site Dr. William Shea discovered an ostracon (a pottery sherd with etchings or writing) with an inked drawing of a man releasing two birds with one bird returning with a leafed branch in its beak. On the other side was the etching of a man wearing a crown who is hammering something into some structure. Across the man's crown written in proto-sinaitic text is the name, "Noah". This piece was found about 20 meters to the west of the ark.
Here is a portion of Dr. Shea's comments, " ............... I found an ostracon just outside of the midships of the formation as I was walking down to it. The ostracon is about 3 x 3 inches so that it is good size. It is a body sherd from a medium sized pot so that it has some curve to it. On the outer sides there were some figures incised and blackened (with carbon black ink?). In the left upper corner there is a rather clear picture of a bird. It is flying up to the left. Below it is the figure of another bird, also flying up to the left. Down in the right hand corner is the head of a man. The picture obviously is that of a man releasing two birds, which brings to mind Noah releasing the raven and the dove. It looks as if the three figures are labeled in an alphabetic script related to Proto-Sinaitic ........"
Since that time Dr. Shea and Dr. Michelson have been able to photograph the ostracon in detail with the use of a Micronikor lens which makes such examinations much more accurate. They have confirmed that the etching and inscriptions are of Noah and relate to the story of the ark.
This piece was recently shown (May 1, 2001) on the "History's Mysteries" cable program on the History Channel along with an interview by Dr. Michelson. Unfortunately, because the main thrust of the program was focused on a new book written about the search for the ark on Mt. Ararat, it was given little time on air. However the significance of this find should not be underestimated. It is the first artifact that has been found and confirmed that definitely ties Ron's site to Noah and the ark.
Last year, while doing my own exploration at the site, I found one of the nicest specimens of petrified wood that I have seen. It was located about 3 meters from the eastern side of the formation approximately 15 meters from the bow. It has a definite grain structure to it with a thin layer of bark on two of the sides. It is obviously a part of a larger piece of wood.
On my last trip in May 2001 I was able to obtain several nice samples of "pitch" from a small opening in the side of the formation. I say that it is pitch because it has the appearance of a tar-like substance and when a sample of this was shown to Jonathan Gray he stated that it was virtually identical to a sample that Dr. Allan Robertson of Australia found a number of years ago. When he had the sample tested it was found to be tar. This find is consistent with the story of Noah covering the ark with "pitch". Some of these samples will be tested in the next few months.
Another thing that we learned through a rather unfortunate event was related to a story that Ron Wyatt told from his first visit to the village of Kazan back in 1977.
At that time Ron found a large wall on which were a number of ceramic-like tiles that showed a pictograph of Noah and a number of animals getting onto the ark. While he did photograph the tiles these photos were lost when he and his sons had to run for their lives from their hotel in Dogubayazit. When he returned to the site on a later trip the tiles had been removed from the wall. Therefore there was nothing to confirm Ron's story. It was something that the critics liked to point to which they said proved Ron was "making things up".
In June of 2000 Jerry Bowen and I traveled to Kazan and documented the existence of this wall. It was approximately 8 feet high and about 300 feet long. It was composed of very large mud bricks, much larger than any I have seen in any of my travels. These bricks were three times the size of a standard concrete block. The consistency of the bricks was also unusual in that while they did contain straw and leaves to give them strength, they also contained large amounts of broken pottery and animal bones. We found no trace of the tiles Ron saw in 1977. Talking with the local villager who was with us, we were told that this wall was part of the ruins of a Byzantine church.
This May when we returned to Kazan we found that the villagers had completely torn down the wall and used portions of the debris in the construction of new homes. As you can imagine I was very upset at this. When we asked why this had been done we were told, "People keep coming into our village to see these things. If we get rid of these things the people will stop coming."
There has always been some resistance to outsiders coming into the village over the years but at the present time the villagers are trying in their own way to get people to stop coming. As we visited several of the other artifacts in the area we found that one of the anchor stones outside the village had been broken. This stone was not in this condition in Oct. 2000.
I immediately got in touch with some of my contacts in Dogubayazit that had influence with the people in the village and explained to them what was happening. We told them that these people were not only doing something that was probably illegal (destruction of archaeological remains) but that if the destruction continued it could hurt the tourist trade in this region. This is a trade that is just now recovering from the many years of political instability. We then contacted the village chief and explained the situation to him.
While we were visiting with the family of one of the village elders, I asked the man's wife what happened with the "wall". She said that there was much discussion in the village about the wall with about half of the people wanting the wall to remain. But obviously the ones that wanted it torn down prevailed. I then asked her if there was anything special about the wall. She stated that they had found some jewelry hidden in the wall. From her description of the jewelry it appeared to be Christain in origin, either Byzantine or Armenian.
I then asked her if she had ever seen anything else on or in the wall. She then stated that many years ago there were some tiles on the wall!! When I asked her to describe them she said that they were blue and then said they were sort of bluish-green. This is exactly the color of the tiles as described to me by Ron just a few years ago!! While this cannot be presented as hard evidence, I was excited because it confirmed for me again, my faith in Ron's word.
We still have several projects that we are working on in relation to Noah's Ark but I can only talk about one of them now.
The main reason for my trip to Turkey this May was to meet with Turkish government and academic officials to see if it was possible to convene an international conference on the finding of Noah's Ark. For many decades the evidence produced that shows Ron's site as being the remains of Noah's Ark has been virtually ignored by the world. There has never been a balanced look at the evidence because most of the influence and money spent in the search for the ark has been funneled towards Mt. Ararat. It is our desire to create a level playing field so that the evidence for both theories can be placed side-by-side to determine which one has the best evidence. We believe an international conference is the best way to do this.
Accordingly I was able to meet with Turkish officials in Ankara over two days. At the present time we have been able to secure verbal approval from the Turkish government to hold the conference in 2003. We will continue to update you on its progress.
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