The Evidence – Man’s First Home in Turkey
It all began in Turkey- here was where mankind was reborn so to speak. Remnants of the numerous and varied nations which all were "born" when they were divided by the confounding of the language, can still be found here:
The area where the ark came to rest was in a mountain range just a few miles south of the Araxes Valley or Ararat Plain (PH, p. 35). The Aras (Araxes) River runs through this valley, beginning in Erzurum, Turkey, (west of Noah’s home), and traveling east it then forms part of the Turkish – Russian and Turkish-Iranian border. The two volcanic Ararat mountains arose in this plain and can be seen from the site of the ark as arising abruptly from the green, fertile valley. This area possesses a "special fertility" (PH p. 35) which is indicative of the special provisions God made for the first family in re-establishing life on the planet. In 1989, Ron photographed a roadside vegetable stand in the area near the ark where a local farmer was selling his cabbages – the largest we have ever seen anywhere!
Before Noah and his family entered the ark, after he was told by God to take two of every unclean animal and seven pairs of every clean animal, he was further instructed:
- GEN 6:21 "And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them."
This indicates that all of the food for both the people and the animals was plant-life; food products that could be gathered and would last throughout the entire time they were in the ark. And from this food they would have had seeds, even if they didn’t bring seeds with them (which I suspect they did). When they left the ark, they began to sow the seeds that would produce food. And the archaeological excavations reveal evidence which fit this scenario perfectly. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read the following concerning the evidences found in eastern and central Turkey:
- "Paleo-botany had provided evidence illuminating the earliest stages of the cultivation of emmer and einkorn wheat and two-row barley, with subsequent mutations resulting in improved strains; but still the problem of the ultimate geographical sources of the wild grains found in the earliest excavated settlements awaits solution,…" (PH, p. 4)
- "Even more important than the different varieties of timber available for building were the species of edible plants. Of these of course the most important are the cereals, but also the most problematic because of the unsolved questions of the origins." (PH, p. 10)
It was in Anatolia (Turkey) that many plants were "reborn"- planted there by Noah and his family from seeds brought there from before the flood,- and from there, carried to the various parts of the world:
- "Anatolia is situated at the meeting of three principle zones of distribution of plants: these are the so-called Euro-Siberian zone (Europe, Russian and Siberia), the Irano-Turanian zone (the steppes of central Asia, Iran and central Anatolia) and the Mediterranean zone…. Recent work has shown a large percentage of plants which are endemic, that is, confined to Turkey: this is particularly true of the Taurus ranges, where the Irano-Turanian and the Mediterranean botanical zones meet." (PH pp. 9, 10)
This last quote is especially exciting for it tells us that in the general region of south central Turkey, there is a large number of plants that are found ONLY there! Well, what does that mean? It indicates that some of the original plants Noah brought from the pre-flood world never made it past the region of Babel. When the time came that the groups left the area, it looks like they only took with them the major grains and staple plant foods leaving behind a variety of plants whose beginnings were in the pre-flood world.
Not only did Noah and his family have grain foods – they had fruits, which is rather amazing considering the climate of the northeastern part of Turkey. To this day, Turkey has fruits which thrive in spite of it’s cold climate:
- "…apples, plums, apricots, peaches and mulberries are common in the eastern highlands, including the districts round Lake Van, where they are hardy enough to survive the severe winters" (PH, p. 10)
Remember Noah’s vineyard?:
- GEN 9:20 "And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard.."
Yet, vineyards are usually found in warm climates, certainly not in regions with such dreadfully cold winters as eastern Turkey. But,:
- "The vine is a hardy plant at home in much of Anatolia, Trans-Caucasia and the Urmia basin, the grape-bearing type being vitis vinifera,…" (PH, p. 11)
To sum up the evidences, the earliest found specimens and forms of many, many food plants are found in the ancient settlements extending outward from the area of the ark and Ron’s site for Babel in south central Turkey. Turkey even has some plants today which are found no where else on earth. How can these things be explained? There is no explanation except for the Genesis account.
The first people to inhabit the earth after the flood, Noah and his immediate family, were NOT primitive – they possessed the vast knowledge of the pre-flood world. However, the world was barren just after the flood. The only materials they would have had AT FIRST to work with would have been the things that they brought with them on the ark. They may have even "cannibalized" parts of the ark until the trees had time to grow large enough to use for timber, and they found natural sources for metals and substances with which to fashion tools, such as obsidian.
One of the most exciting discoveries for Ron when he was working on Noah’s Ark was the large amount of metal he found in the remains of the ship. (See our video "Discovered- Noah’s Ark" for detailed information and analyses.) He believes that the material used for the ballast, which is a type of slag or waste product of metal production, was the slag which resulted from the production of the metal fittings of the ark. Since it was handy and heavy, it just made sense that they would use it for the ballast.
But Ron believes there was a further reason why this was used. After the flood, Noah and his family would have needed metal to make implements for farming and tools. But until they found natural sources of the various metals, Ron believes they used the metals from the ballast and perhaps even some of the metal fittings and objects on the ark to make their implements. Of course, this theory would only be worthy of consideration if evidence was found of metal-making in the area…
A few miles from the site of the ark, in the Araxes Valley, is a vast complex of extremely ancient stone fences radiating outward from an ancient stone house. Behind this complex (to the north) is a very ancient stone altar located upon a ridge between two hills. In front of this house Ron found two tombstones which indicated that they were marking the graves of Noah and his wife, and therefore we believe this was Noah’s home.
Just across the dirt road (to the south) is the village in which a large number of the anchor stones with crosses carved on them stand. On the north side of the ridge of hills that contains the altar is the Araxes River and across the river is the site of Metsamor.
Here, within a few miles of Noah’s home, is what has been termed "one of", if not "THE" oldest metallurgical site ever found! Analyses of copper found there showed 14 different alloys, including tin, lead, antimony and zinc. (PH, p. 70).The sophistication of this metal-working center has fascinated archaeologists as this site is termed, "indeed unique in its complexity and long life". (PH, p.68.) This metallurgy center is quite sophisticated.
- "Clay pipes inserted in the furnaces for use with bellows were also found. Likewise of this first phase at Metsamor are phosphorus brickettes:… Phosphorus was used in the smelting of cassiterite to obtain tin." (PH, p. 68.)
Archaeological sites are excavated to discover the sequence of materials – those found directly above the virgin soil with nothing below them represent the earliest occupation level. At Metsamor, the earliest phase yielded bronze slag, (PH, p. 68) a discovery which continues to puzzle archaeologists as they believe man progressed very slowly through the various stages of knowledge – first the discovery of fire, then the invention of the wheel, then cultivating crops and domesticating animals, and then much later, knowledge of metals and metallurgy. Yet here is evidence that man appeared "on the scene" with tremendous technological knowledge, producing an alloy (bronze) which requires tin and sometimes includes zinc for increased hardness.
And not only did they produce sophisticated metals here, they produced GLASS! "Glass making also flourished at Metsamor, as indicated by six types of metallurgical material, including zinc and manganese, alloyed in different ways to make different colours." (PH, p. 110). Remember Ron’s theory about the ballast and metal objects from the ark? Several large ballast samples from the hull of the ark that Ron had tested showed over 85% manganese!
Ron has documented the use of very large rivets on the ark. It seems reasonable to expect that Noah and his sons would have passed the usage of rivets on to their descendants, and that is exactly what the evidence shows. At Amiranis-Gora, north of the area of the ark, a cemetery revealed pottery with
- "knobs along the top of the shoulder…(that) seem to imitate rivets." (PH, p. 67)
But should there be any doubt, another very puzzling group of artifacts came to light in 1974 and 1975. A Turkish antiquities dealer brought the objects to the Adana (Turkey) Museum, giving first one and then another explanation of their origin. While their exact origin isn’t known, it is known that he obtained them in the region and that they date to very near the third or early second millennia BC. Included in this group of artifacts are numerous copper knives, swords, chisels and axes. One interesting feature is that 2 of the swords are almost 36 inches long,
- "…which would have been difficult to wield with one hand".(AS, vol xli, p. 185)
But the feature that interests us now is the fact that these have been dated to very early times by the archaeologists, and used RIVETS to attach the handle! In fact, all of the knives used rivets.
As Noah’s Family Grew, They Expanded Their Settlements Throughout the Araxes Valley (Ararat Plain)
As we discussed earlier, we must take certain things into account as we look for evidences. As Noah’s family grew, (but before they had left for Babel), and as the animal population grew, there would be the need to expand and establish settlements at some distance from one another. Abraham and Lot had to separate because the land couldn’t accommodate all their herds:
- GEN 13:7-9 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle:… And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."
This passage tells only of two families having to distance themselves from each other to provide enough pasturage for their animals. Certainly, as Noah’s family grew, they would also face the same situation and need to expand. To illustrate the importance and vital necessity of land to these earliest of peoples, there is the example of the Aryans who invaded India at a much later date-
- "…They wanted land, and pasture for their cattle; their word for war said nothing about national honor, but simply meant `a desire for more cows.’." (OH, p. 397.)
As we explained earlier, the Ararat Plain, or Araxes Valley is about 80 to 90 miles long, beginning a little west of Mt. Ararat and extending through present-day Iran into the USSR. After careful study, we believe the evidence shows that this valley was the general area that Noah’s family expanded throughout, and since the ark (the region of Noah’s home) is in the region of the western portion of this plain, the direction of general expansion would have been to the east.
Just as some food for thought- the Bible records that the rebellious against God migrated west. What did those who remained faithful do? Did they migrate to the east? Or did they remain in the area? The next Biblical event in Genesis is the selection of Abram (Abraham) to be the father of the chosen people, and we discover that he is living in Ur of the Chaldees (called "Urfa" today), which is within 100 miles of Babel. Given the call to go to Canaan, he and his family set out, stopping in Haran (Harran) about 35 miles south of Ur, where Terah dies.
The evidence shows conclusively that Abraham’s family settled in the region a little south of Ron’s site for Babel, in the area of the Euphrates "loop" and the tributary, the Balikh River. Sarâ€“gi (Serug, Abraham’s great grandfather’s name) today called SÂrÂâ€¡, is located halfway between the Euphrates and Harran. A town called Nahuru (Nahor, the name of Abraham’s grandfather as well as a brother) is known from both the Cappadocian tablets and the Mari texts to be in the same region.
The name of Abraham’s father, Terah, is preserved at Til-sa-Turah, the "ruin of Terah" in the Balikh Valley. "What is remarkable is that all these geographical names are found in the district of Haran- according to the Biblical traditions it is precisely in this region that Abraham’s family stayed." (EH, pp. 195-6.) Where the rest of the righteous, if any, went, we have no way of knowing. But, this evidence of Abraham’s family in the region indicates that they remained here when the others migrated to various other regions. They must have been a very prominent family due to the fact that the cities are named after his family members which indicates that they were the founders of these cities, or that they took up residence in existing cities which were abandoned (we’ll cover this more in depth later) and renamed them.
Near the eastern end of this valley is a town called Nakhichevan (just east of the Iranian border in the Armenian USSR.) Numerous Armenian traditions ascribe the founding of the city of Nakhichevan to Noah (EN, vol VII, p. 172). The evidence Ron found indicates that Noah and his wife were buried at the ancient complex we discussed earlier near the final resting place of the ark. We have assumed that therefore Noah and his wife most likely continued to maintain their original home here until their death. However, it seems very logical that as the patriarch of the family, Noah would have traveled with his younger family members as they explored the region in search of suitable areas to establish new settlements, then returning to his own home. Therefore, the traditions that state that he founded Nakhichevan could be based on actual fact.
Willem van Ruysbroeck of France, who spent Christmas day 1254 AD in this city, wrote about his travels in this region for the French king, and related the following: "Near this city [Nakhichevan] are mountains in which they say that Noah’s Ark rests; and there are two mountains, the one greater than the other; and the Araxes flows at their base; and there is a town there called Cemanum, which interpreted means "eight," and they say that it was thus called from the eight persons who came out of the ark, and who built it on the greater mountain." (QN, pp. 85-86). This account is interesting because it does contain some very important statements which indicate that the people WERE aware of the true site of the resting place of the ark. Notice that he says the ark rests in the" mountains" (plural), not ON the "greater" mountain.
His account is the most accurate of any of the ark stories we have read, especially considering that he is relating stories about events which occurred over 3,500 years earlier. He gives 2 basic statements- that near Nakhichevan are some mountains which contain the remains of the ark.
THEN, he mentions the "greater and lesser" mountains (Greater and Lesser Ararat) which are located next to the Araxes River, and that the town called "eight" is "on the greater mountain". His account is accurate with one exception- the town called "eight" (Kazan where Noah and his wife were buried, and where most of the anchorstones are found) is not ON the mountain, but several miles from the base of it.
The traditions connecting Noah to this eastern end of the Araxes Valley seem to confirm the fact that Noah’s family spread out in this direction. Until the people left for Babel, this was the most logical region for expansion because it was easily accessible and flat, it followed the Aras (Araxes) River and it is extremely fertile. It also gives more insight into why the Biblical account was so precise in stating that those who founded Babel traveled "from the east"- Noah’s family had spread out in an eastward direction from the original landing site of the ark and Noah’s home. When the time came that this group banded together and left for "parts unknown", the only direction they could travel was west (or "from the east") as there were mountains to the north, the Caspian Sea to the east, and no major river going south for them to travel along.
Another evidence which gives credence to the idea of Noah’s family expanding eastward along the Aras (Araxes) River is the fact that the other very early metallurgical center was at Nakhichevan! (PH, p. 54) There is no doubt that the immediate descendants of Noah would be those who had the earliest knowledge of metallurgy and employed it from the beginning.
Once again, we must understand certain facts in order to view the evidences properly.
When ancient settlements are excavated, the archaeologists think that just because they find no metal objects that the people who lived there didn’t have metals. But metals were a precious commodity for a very long time, some even today. When people moved, they left their pottery behind because it was easy to make a new batch after they reached their new location and it was too bulky to try to carry on long journeys. This is not to say that they left every single piece- perhaps they used some to carry supplies in, but for the most part, pottery would be the objects left behind, along with other implements made of plentiful materials such as animal bone and obsidian. And these things ARE found in abundance in ancient sites.
But metal implements would be considered very valuable and would therefore be carried along when people moved. For that reason, we cannot expect to find metal objects in these early sites. Even if an implement or tool is considered obsolete or new ones are desired, the metal from the old objects could be reshaped into the new items. Therefore, the absence of metal objects in an excavated site- especially these early sites that clearly have been abandoned and not destroyed by invaders- is to be expected. Well over 1,000 years later, when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC, he collected all the metal objects as spoils of war. (II Kings 25:13-17).
It is the tendency of scholars to try to explain evidences in the light of their own theories (most of which do NOT include the Biblical account). They constantly try to explain "advanced cultures", such as the people who operated the metallurgy site at Metsamor, as having coming into an area from another area. Yet, they must admit certain things which absolutely point to the fact that the people in the region of eastern and northeastern Anatolia didn’t come from anywhere else; NEITHER did they receive their advanced knowledge from any foreign influence! (PH, p. 47).
Well, actually some of them DID come from somewhere else, but it may as well have been another planet because the pre-flood world that was their original home was completely destroyed. For all practical purposes, mankind began again there; Noah’s descendants were BORN there; their advanced knowledge came from Noah and his sons who brought it from the pre-flood world. And from this region, mankind spread across the face of the earth. Evidences indicates that this Araxes Valley is the "original home from which this culture subsequently expanded in all directions." (PH, p. 44.)
The Rapidly Growing Population of Predatory Animals
Why did the people remain in the Araxes Valley instead of immediately setting out to other regions? Well, for one thing, the population had to grow. Then, we must remember that there were no maps- the entire world was unknown to them. Oh, perhaps sometimes a group would scout around in the immediate vicinity looking for natural resources, etc. But there were other things which had to be considered- one of which we will now discuss. To fully comprehend the situation of those who lived just after the flood, we can only try to put ourselves in their situation. The problem is that we cannot even imagine what the world around the ark was like when the animal kingdom was reintroduced to their home, planet earth. It must have been terrifying at times, especially after a period of time, after the animals had grown in numbers.
After the flood, Noah and his family faced a world completely destroyed. In this "new, ragged and barren world" they had the task of breeding the animals from the ark and raising the first crops. As their families grew, they would have needed to establish their separate homes in communities where they could protect themselves and their domesticated flocks and herds from the rapidly increasing numbers of predatory animals. These predators, such as lions and tigers, reproduce in litters, having 6 or more young at a time, with very short gestation periods as opposed to people and domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep and goats who generally produce only one or 2 offspring at a time with much longer gestation periods.
With such a diversity of animals breeding freely in the region, many of which were predatory and quite dangerous to man and other animals, it would be extremely important for families and communities to remain together in order to provide protection for each other as well as for their flocks and herds. Ancient sites in Turkey have revealed large stone walls which, in the absence of any evidence of invaders, could only have only been for protection from the wild animals. Also, many ancient homes have been found which had no doorway but were entered through the roof by ladders which also could have been for this same purpose. Some were built side by side almost as one single unit, with doors entering a central courtyard with a single exit to the outside. (See PH, NN, EC and the numerous AS journals.) Also, many buried their dead below a stone slab under the floor of their houses which could very well have been to protect them from being dug up and eaten by animals. Man has long recognized the necessity of preventing animals from acquiring a taste for human flesh. A good example of this is the "man-eating tigers" we hear of occasionally.
The rapid growth of the predators must have made life very dangerous for Noah’s family. The situation was still the same during the time the children of Israel were entering the promised land:
- Exo 23:29 "I will not drive them [the Hivite, the Hittite and the Canaanite] out from before the in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beasts of the field multiply against thee."
Sadly, this situation set the stage for Nimrod’s claim to fame and great power as a result of his prowess as a hunter. There is a great deal of evidence of animals in the region which are no longer found there, such as an ostrich seen on a Hittite stele from Turkey. (IS, p. 100.) They have also found "…teeth and other fragments from the skeletons of hippopotamus, elephas antiquus [an extinct type of elephant], horse, cave bear and hyaena." (MA, p. 14). These were not fossils – they were post-flood animals. They had much more to contend with than we can imagine.
Some things make such a monumental impression on people that they tend to be passed down through many, many generations. One such thing was the time when mankind and the vast array of rapidly reproducing animals began repopulating this earth again in close association with one another after the flood. We may have never given this a second thought as we read the story of Babel, but the evidences tell a story we need to think about.
In the figurines and pottery forms of the earliest people, animals always were a major subject. On the one hand, people were very dependent upon cattle, goats and sheep for so many of their necessities. But on the other hand, they must have lived in great fear and danger with all the predators now competing for food. Nimrod, the great hunter, is the first person mentioned after the flood other than names given in the genealogies. We know he was a great man and that he built Babel, along with three other cities (and presumably more, since this was said to be the beginning of his kingdom). But what made him great, I believe, was his famed reputation as the "great hunter".
One author who traveled much of Middle East in 1948, writes about a tale told him by Sir Leonard Woolley, the famed excavator of Ur. "[He] once told me that the grandfather of a trusted overseer of his had killed a lion…. Here and there in the foothill region of Northern Syria, lions survived well into the second half of the nineteenth century. If a man wished to acquire fame and fortune (and also if he was strong and somewhat foolhardy!), he would announce that he would challenge a lion to single combat on a certain date…. The challenger was bound by certain traditional rules. He was allowed no weapon save a single sword. He was, however, allowed to swathe his left arm and hand defensively. This he did by wrapping them in enormous quantities of black goat’s-hair yarn (the stuff of which the black Beduin tents are woven). The lion advanced, and eventually sprang…. Lions, as they bite, automatically bring up their great fore-paws to help them hold and injure the prey. But here both fangs and claws spent their force in the entangling wool. This was the moment the man must seize. While mouth and fore legs were thus occupied, he must manage with one stroke of his sword to hamstring the lion’s left hind-leg. It is then only a matter of skill and agility to keep out of the range of the jaws while stabbing the creature to death. I say `only’; but obviously the skill and agility required were very considerable, and the man might still be mauled. Hence, the overseer’s grandfather killed his lion safely. He thenceforward had the appellation of Lion-killer added to his name, and never had to do any more work, as lion-killers were entertained at the public expense for the rest of their lives." (FA,, pp. 168-170.)
Perhaps this may help us understand why Nimrod’s reputation as a great hunter was important enough to be mentioned in the Biblical account. It was and still is no easy task to tangle with wild animals. But before we had guns, it was a much more daunting one. And apparently those who were brave enough to take on these savage beasts were looked upon as god-like; especially considering the fact that Nimrod convinced everyone that he WAS a god. And so, 4,000 years later, in some remote area of northern Syria (close to Babel), those who killed lions received the great title of "Lion-Killer" and never had to work another day in their life. Even King David’s great fame included his abilities to kill dangerous animals. He killed a lion and a bear (Isa. 17:34-36).
For Noah’s family, the time eventually came when a large group decided to leave the Araxes Valley. Traveling westward, the people set forth until they came to the plain that they decided to call home. We don’t know how many or who were included in this group which built Babel except that we know Nimrod was one of them; that he was considered "a mighty" man and "a great hunter" and therefore we believe was the leader of the group, whether from the start or after they arrived, we don’t know.
The Biblical account seems to indicate something more than just the building of a tower and a city:
- GEN 11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
The implication is that the people at Babel possessed tremendous knowledge. I dare say the ziggurats and cities at Babylon and Ur reflect nothing of what these people were capable of. Even the pyramids of Egypt, which are even today a great engineering feat, probably can’t compare to whatever was begun at Babel. After all, God said, after seeing the city and the tower, that "nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."
What could this mean? What were they capable of doing? I don’t know. But there is evidence that man after the flood possessed tremendous knowledge. I suspect that – and this is just my opinion – had the people remained united and of one language, with the pre-flood knowledge that they possessed, they would have reached a level of technological advancement in just a matter of years that is equal to that which we have only reached in the last hundred or so years. We’ll soon see that the evidences shows that the earliest peoples in this region possessed very advanced technical knowledge to the puzzlement of the archaeologists and scholars.
When Ron found the anchor stones in the village in the area of the ark, there was one that has especially intrigued him. Below one of the large crosses is carved a crude picture of a structure which clearly is meant to represent a tower. The crudeness of the drawing indicates that it was not carved at the time the crosses were placed on the stone and he theorized that it was perhaps a representation of the tower of Babel. No ziggurat has ever been found in Turkey, so it was rather a surprise to find this.
Although based on theory, Ron concluded that perhaps the Babel tower had been built with this design – instead of steps ascending upward, it had a ramp which spiraled around the structure upward. This would have allowed for much easier transporting of materials as the height increased. It also would have allowed the structure to ascend to a greater height – if steps had been used, the angle of the sides would have had to have inclined at a greater angle to accommodate the width of each step from front to back. This can be better understood by looking at the shape of a pyramid as opposed to the much steeper sides of the design seen in the photo at right. A pyramid with a base the size of this one could be no more than half as tall. This is a point to consider because we know that many ancient cities had ziggurats and pyramids.
As far as we know, this is the only evidence in Turkey which is even suggestive of an ancient tower or ziggurat. Who drew it, we can’t know. When, we also don’t know. But it is the only design capable of reaching the great heights indicated in the Biblical account, and it is interesting that it is found on one of the ancient stones in the village of Kazan (the place of eight). In fact, the stone it is on appears to have been one of the anchor stones – the top portion containing the hole is broken away but the presence of a smooth, rounded section at the top center appears to be the remnant of the hole for the rope.
To most of us, picking a location for a city may sound like an easy task. But let’s think about a few things. First of all, there were no supermarkets back then – when they chose their site, even BEFORE they began building, they had to first make arrangements for food. This meant planting crops that could be harvested as soon as the supplies they brought with them were used up. They also had to immediately find pasture for their animals and settle them into the land with shepherds. They had to build shelter to protect themselves from both the weather and the predatory animals. I imagine this took a little bit of time, perhaps a month, maybe more. So, we now know that the site of Babel had to have had plenty of pasture land, plenty of land to cultivate crops and of course, a water supply.
THEN, they could set about the business of building a city. To do this, they had to find natural resources. We already discussed the fact that there was certainly a supply of asphalt (bitumen) in the region with which to make mortar. They needed to also find sources for metals and to establish a metallurgical center. They needed to plan the site for their city and insure that it had an adequate water supply.
Yes on all counts. It is still today a very fertile region, producing the same size cabbages that are found near Noah’s Ark. There is an immense amount of land suitable for pasturing animals – it is level and well-watered. It is near the Euphrates. It still contains petroleum products 4,000 years after Babel which indicates that there was plenty of "slime" available for the mortar. And it is a plain – level. Perfect for building a city except for one thing. If they built the city on the alluvial soil of the plain along the river without going down to bedrock for the foundations, the structures could shift and sink, causing great damage and instability. I would think that this knowledge had been passed on to them, but perhaps it hadn’t been. In fact, one legend states that after the languages were confounded and the people left Babel, God sent lightning which broke off the top 1/3 of the tower, while the lower 1/3 sank into the plain, leaving the middle 1/3 still intact and above ground. Of course, this is a legend. And there is certainly suitable land in the area for a city and a tower.
To comprehend events of the past, it helps to place ourselves in their "shoes". For a moment, let’s consider a town where suddenly many, many different languages are being spoken. In the confusion, what would you do? First of all, everyone would find those who speak their own language. Then, decisions would have to be made about what to do next. If you’ve ever been to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, you’ll realize that it would be almost impossible to live side by side and continue building, planting, harvesting, etc. with those whom you can’t communicate with. Especially back then when there were no translators.
The first order of business would most likely be to find a separate place to live. You’d need room to raise crops: fields for your flocks; and room to begin to build a permanent settlement. Some language groups may set out and settle twenty-five miles from the original town while others would have to travel one hundred or even more before they could find a suitable location. As time passed, the land nearby would already be taken and new groups would have to travel further and further away to find a suitable location. Some would perhaps be more ambitious and travel much, much further – perhaps a thousand miles away. But as with all things, there would remain remnants of many, many of the original language groups in the general area.
And today, nowhere else on earth can you find so many different tongues being spoken in such a small area:
- "Many ancient races and tribes still inhabit the Caucasus [the mountains above Noah’s Ark which form the northern barrier of the Araxes plain] and the Armenian plateau of eastern Anatolia. As many as fifty different languages and dialects are spoken in this vast and, in parts, inaccessible region." (LW, p. 137)
- " Strabo informs us (Book XI, 5), that no less than seventy Dialects were spoken in the country, which even then was called the Mountain of Languages" (LH, col. VIII, p. 6,743.)
The further one travels from this area, the fewer languages we find being spoken in an area (with the exception of cases of immigration, such as in the US.) This evidence alone is sufficient to show where the languages began.
The evidence also indicates that the fully formed systems of writing were developed a number of years later and therefore, the only written records begin several hundreds of years after the flood. The earliest systems were simply pictures, the easiest way to communicate with almost anyone, even children. Because of the great diversity of languages, it is most likely that members of families as closely related as cousins found themselves unable to understand their relatives. How would we feel if placed in their position? Would we just separate from those we loved and had been close to? I suspect not.
It makes sense to me that some would at least try to perhaps settle in adjacent communities. Unable to verbally communicate, pictures and symbols would provide a crude method of communication, which would be better than nothing. In time, I’m sure some people learned to speak different languages and communication between some communities was made possible in this manner. But this would have taken time. Today, we can learn foreign languages because there are those who can teach us. These people had to figure it out on their own. But, I’m sure they were quite capable because as we continue, we’ll learn that these people were quite intelligent – much more so than we are today after over 4,000 years of deteriorating since their time.
When true writing systems were discovered, many times they contained bi-lingual inscriptions, or the same material written side by side in 2 or more languages which indicates the presence of numerous languages in the area.
- "In Anatolia, at least, the ethnic and linguistic situation seems to have been exceedingly complex… Although few, if any inscriptions are available for this region before the rise of the Hittite empire, about 1800 ,… there were certainly a great variety of languages and cultures functioning within a comparatively small area. Tablets from the Hittite archives at Boghaz Keui are written in at least 17 different languages, several of which cannot be related to any known linguistic stocks.". (TC, p. 314.)
And here we have proof that within a few hundred years, there were people capable of translating "at least 17 different languages"!
Just as ancient texts have been found with "paganized" accounts of the creation and flood accounts, so have some been found which tell of a time when all men spoke one language. The following passage from "Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta" is from ancient Sumer, the earliest civilization of southern Mesopotamia near the Persian Gulf:
- Once upon a time, the lands Shubur and Hamazi, Many (?)-tongued Sumer, the great land of princeship’s divine laws, Uri, the land having all that is appropriate, The land Martu, resting in security, The whole universe, the people in unison, To Enlil in one tongue gave praise. (SU, p.284-5)
While "Enlil" was the "god" to whom "the whole universe" gave praise, we next learn from a fragment of another ancient Sumerian text, that it was "Enki", sometimes called "the son of Enlil" (WM, p. 58) who was responsible for the "confounding of the languages":
- Enki,,, Changed the speech in their mouths/ brought(?) Contention into it/ Into the speech of man that (until then) had been one. (PC,p.144.)
We know that highly sophisticated metal-working was done near Noah’s home. But when the group left for Babel, we would expect that they too "set up shop" right away. And the evidence absolutely confirms that this is exactly what occurred. A few miles east of the black dot on the map showing Ron’s site for Babel, on the banks of the Tigris River, is Diyarbakir. And here is found another very ancient metallurgical center!
- "Early metalworking in the region of Diyarbakir (`Copperland’)… is indeed suggestive, and needs investigation." (EC, p. 120)
The extreme importance of this is that, once again, this is by far the earliest instance of metallurgy in the region. It is no coincidence that these earliest sites are found near Noah’s home and near Babel.
The early metallurgy throughout the region is very impressive evidence of a technologically advance people who just suddenly appear on the scene. Where did they get their copper? In AA, vol XXVIII, p. 99, article on "Metal Sources in Ancient Anatolia", all the known ancient copper sources are given on a map. At right is shown a segment of that map where it can be seen that in the immediate area of Ron’s site for Babel are located a large number of copper mines. This many mines being exploited in one region is good evidence of a very large population being here at one time. The time these early mines were operated could only have been the time of Babel, for after the dispersion from there, the settlements in the area are too small and too scattered to have supported such extensive mining operations.
One concept that is found again and again in the journals and books on Turkish archaeology is that from the earliest times the people there HAD to have had contact with some other peoples from another region because of their use of tin in making bronze. The problem was, you see, that they knew of no source of tin in Turkey. Their conclusion was that other nations were in existence at the same time, which would NOT be the case if the story of Babel is true. Ron and I wondered if Noah had brought an extremely ample supply of tin on the ark, but the problem was that it has been found in such a widespread area and in such large amounts that this wouldn’t have been a feasible explanation. It remained a problem and we had searched all the journals and researched as thoroughly as we could. The question kept arising:
- "Regarding the source of the tin used in Anatolia, no one is yet certain from where it came…. the Anatolian tin in antiquity that has so far remained an enigma for us." (AA, vol. XXVIII, p. 101)
If there was no tin in Turkey, the only plausible explanation would have to be that the people DID indeed have some outside contact with someone from another region- but there wouldn’t BE anyone else if the Biblical account is true, right?
Two 1994 articles by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago tell about the recent discovery of a very, very large ancient tin mine at Kestel, about 60 miles north of Tarsus.
- "The underground mining system at Kestel measures more than two miles….The mine probably produced about 5,000 tons of ore during its 1,000 years of operation…"
And it is in southern central Turkey. Thus, another barrier is removed. The people had tin and they didn’t need to get it anywhere else.
As we have researched and pored over the archaeological journals, there is one concept which we keep coming across in reference to the earliest sites. It is in regards to the surprising (to them, not to us!) extent of technical knowledge possessed by these peoples. You must remember that today it is taught that man began as an apelike critter who stumbled across fire after a lightning strike; he then progress to man-like but was extremely primitive, hunting with crude stone implements, eating the flesh off the bones because he had no pottery or utensils; and then one day he suddenly began to plant crops and raise herds. Keep this in mind when you read archaeological reports and completely disregard the dates and areas they assign different sites. What we have to do is concentrate ONLY on the evidence and what it alone reveals.
For example, they have excavated sites in central and eastern Turkey which show absolutely no evidence of evolving from a primitive civilization through the various stages to that of a people who possessed advanced technical knowledge.
- "In these centres, up to now, no trace of an older civilization has been discovered….A great problem remains unsolved. How are we to account for the fact that in these regions these [earlier civilizations that we believe ought to have been there] have left no traces whatsoever?" (MA, p. 52)
After Babel, there were obviously groups that left the region entirely and some that settled in the immediate and nearby regions. Taking into consideration the fact that the abilities of those within the individual groups would now be limited – some groups would have those experienced in metallurgy, some in pottery, some in art, some in construction, etc.- we must expect to find at least some diversity in the earliest settlements. And that is exactly what is found. However, this has caused puzzlement to the archaeologists who continue to try to date each site based on the premise that man had uniformly developed through various stages. One site, â‚¬atal HÂyÂk, about 150 to 200 miles west of the Babel region, built their homes with no doors – they were entered via ladders. Was this perhaps as protection from the wild animals?
Other sites revealed homes with very thick walls entered through doors. And here we see the diversity that suddenly arose when the people were divided by the language barrier. Everyone, as Ron says, "has a theory" as to how they think everything out to be done. And each group now had no choice but to do it the only way they knew how for they no longer had access to that great "pool of knowledge" that man had once possessed when all spoke the same language. And these homes weren’t primitive. Common building practices included wooden frames with mud-bricks then plastered with lime. Many times they show evidences of having been replastered many, many times, much like we would paint our homes when they begin to flake.
The pottery, which is used as a basis for dating, has also thrown a wrench into the works, is also baffling for these early sites display much variation in their styles and decoration. At one site, when they reached the earliest level they found almost no pottery, leading them to believe these people were primitive and used no eating utensils. But then, they discovered carbonized wooden dishes and vessels along with basketry.
The styles of pottery vary considerably from site to site. Some are made without straw while some are made with straw. Some are one color, some are another. Some have beautiful multicolored designs while some have none, or simply geometric designs drawn into the clay without any color at all. If archaeologists were correct, this would mean that each site represented a different time period in the evolution of mankind. Yet, these same sites present some very obvious similarities which show that they existed during the same time period. For example, almost all except some of the small villages show evidence of metallurgy, which is also quite puzzling to the archaeologists. At one site in southern Turkey the statement is made:
- "The perforation of large objects like maceheads presented no difficulty; but it was another matter with the drilling of some of the stone beads, including those of obsidian, which have perforations too fine for a modern steel needle. It is quite uncertain how this was achieved:…" (PH, p. 21)
The bottom line is this – in the regions extending out from south central Turkey (Ron’s site for Babel) the archaeological evidence reveals very early villages and towns whose earliest level (on virgin soil) presents concrete evidences of people who possessed very advanced technical knowledge.
- "…recent, revolutionary finds have left no doubt that it is in the Southern regions of Central Anatolia that Neolithic civilization achieved its greatest progress." (MA, p. 18)
Archaeologists have designed their own little system for dating the age of sites that they excavate. Theses systems are based on the premise of evolution and the idea that man gradually progressed from an ape to a primitive hunter, to a crude agriculturalist, then on to a farmer who domesticated animals, etc., etc. But that is NOT what the evidence shows! In fact, when simple, factual evidence is removed from the theories that are presented with it as fact, a very clear picture emerges. The evidence shows that when man first appeared in northeastern Turkey, he appeared with very advanced knowledge, as is evidenced by the sophisticated metallurgy of the region as well as the completely developed masonry and construction techniques.
But for a moment, we must consider another aspect of the confounding of the languages. While the population as a whole possessed a wide variety of knowledge and abilities, when they suddenly were cut off from one another by the language barrier, they would no longer have had access to the great "pool" of pre-flood knowledge. Each language group would only have the knowledge and abilities of those within their own group. Therefore, we would expect some to excel in metallurgy while others excelled in animal husbandry or crop cultivation. Some groups would have people who were talented artists while others would have those who were knowledgeable in engineering and construction. From this point on, we would expect more diversity in the early settlements- even those relatively close to one another.
Secular archaeologists and paleontologists, not believing the Biblical account but instead believing in evolution, classify these various groups of people who may excel in one aspect and display a total absence of another. Those who mainly hunted (using spearheads and arrowheads of flint, etc.) but did little or no farming are classified as "Paleolithic" or stone age. 20 miles away another settlement that farmed and had domesticated animals are classified as "neolithic," thousands of years later than the other group. One group whose pottery was painted nicer and with more colors than their neighbors down the way whose pottery-maker wasn’t an artist and whose designs were crude were dated maybe 1,000 years apart. And etc., etc. But in fact, these folks all lived at the same time.
This situation can be distinctly seen in the region around Ron’s site, the area of southeastern Turkey. Some settlements had round houses while others were rectangular. Their pottery varied- some displayed great artistic flair while others were sensible and usable, but not works of art.
These early settlements demonstrate some very interesting features. For one, there is no evidence of invaders. It appears that they lived here for a while and then simply disappeared, packing up and leaving. But certain evidences give some indication where at least some of them went. In all of the early sites have been found strange, grotesque figures of a woman, some standing, some sitting, some with animals, some with children, etc. The indication is that she represents the "mother goddess of fertility". This concept is represented in the other early religions by the Egyptian Isis, the Assyro-Babylonian Ishtar, the Phoenician Astarte, the Iranian Ashi, the Greek Aphrodite and the Roman Venus, to list a few.
But by the time the concept of a goddess of fertility, be it regarding children, animals or crops, these just listed appear in an organized system of gods and goddesses. This early goddess (seen at right in a figure found at Catal Huyuk) found in Turkey is the original from which the others "evolved" (I hate using that word, but sometimes it is appropriate.)
Once Noah’s family began to slip from the worship of the true God and fell into paganism, it makes sense that one of their biggest concerns and focal points would be that of fertility. Remember that they started out on an earth devoid of everything – animals, crops and people. Their survival depended upon crops and animals, and they of course wanted a large family. The more children, the more to help with the work and things that had to be done. And the fact that these figures are found in all of the early settlements indicates that "she" was a common "goddess" among the people prior to Babel. The homes and pottery may differ, but the good old "goddess" is always identifiable.
After the early peoples left Turkey, we know they eventually scattered all over the world. But some things can be identified with more precision. For example, this "mother goddess" is found not only in the Mediterranean region, but also in eastern Europe and parts of Spain and France. The photo on page 24 shows a statue found in Austria. But amazingly, the date given is 30,000 years ago! (LE, p. 150). The figure at right comes from Czechoslovakia and has been dubbed "the Venus of V stonica". (EB, vol vii, p. 691).
Here we can see the direct influence of those who lived in south central Turkey. Since the archaeological evidence shows that these early settlements weren’t destroyed or conquered by a foreign people, the logical explanation is that at least some of them headed west to Europe, taking their "mother goddesses" with them.
It is the tendency of scholars today to take evidences such as these and view them in light of their own theories and not the Bible. They want to say that, for example, the Hebrews got their flood story from the ancient Babylonians, and other such nonsense. The reason they claim this is because some of the Babylonian written account appear to have been written before the Biblical account was written. The first books of the Bible were not written until the time of Moses (who wrote them), about 900 years after the flood. With these things in mind, we understand that by the time writing came along, the civilizations doing the writing were completely paganized. Yet, their accounts include certain elements of truth, albeit completely misconstrued. So let’s keep this in mind. In the great unseen battle, God has given Satan every advantage to try to prove his case. He’s been given the opportunity to corrupt the truth and present his lies. But now is the time that we can look for God’s truth to be vindicated. The pieces are all falling in place. The clearness and accuracy of what Moses wrote shows that the important elements of the beginning and development of life in earth was carefully remembered and passed down the lineage of those loyal to the Creator. Of course, they were aided by the "perfect memory" of God.
All searches must begin with a plan and Ron’s plan was simple – just locate the area where the Euphrates River intersected with the southern edge of the Taurus Mountains in south central Turkey because he had noticed the enormous plain that was in that location. From there, begin to look for very large "tells" located near the river. His search began as his flight into Diyarbakir started to descend as it came over the mountains. He photographed an extremely large "tell" which was located along the dry riverbed of the Euphrates (it changes its course over time as do all rivers.)
As we mentioned earlier, Turkey has a staggering number of archaeological sites (about 40,000), most of which remain unexplored. When Ron, Ronny and Bob arrived and got a taxi to drive them throughout the region, everywhere they looked, they saw this perfectly flat plain was filled with "tells", "tells" and more "tells". Around the city of Diyarbakir is a region of farming, sparsely populated and still politically unstable. Ron knew they had to confine their investigations to daylight hours for safety’s sake. Like some of our farming states, there were few major roads and lots of fields so they were limited in approaching the sites of interest to some degree.
Taking a road from Diyarbakir which twisted around until it was in the general area Ron wanted to go, he saw a "tell" which was much larger than the others they had seen. It wasn’t the one he had seen from the air, but this one he felt was certainly worthy of investigation. Most of the very old traditions about the tower at Babel tell how a portion of it was struck by lightning and fell to the ground. If this was factual, he felt there would be a "tell" which displayed evidence of such. And this "tell" did have two segments- one that appeared to be structured and relatively symmetrical, like a city; it was much taller than the other "tells" in the area; and the other segment was right next to the first, graduating downward in size away from the main section like a pile of blocks that fell outward and were covered in dirt. Climbing this "tell", they found where a small excavation had been (not recently) done which allowed them to see some of the internal structure. Since this was on the uppermost portion of the "tell", it was either the topmost level of many levels built on the same site, or it was a very ancient site which had very, very high structures within it.