Volume 2, Issue 6
March 25, 2012
The archaeological and faith questions created by NAMI's discovery -- Part I: mainline science  
Fertile Crescent 
The Fertile Crescent 


NAMI's almost certain discovery of Noah's Ark brings with it two profound questions. The first is how to fit the discovery into our archaeological and historical understanding whether of mainline science, Creationist science, or some alternative (as what I teach). This discovery is destined to determine who if anyone understands prehistoric archaeology and mankind's most ancient history.

For believers, an even bigger question is whether this remarkable discovery confirms the precise account of history as taught by the Bible. This may surprise some because the possible discovery of Noah's Ark has long been regarded as the most wonderful confirmation of the Bible. Nonetheless, we must consider that there are accounts of the Ark and the Flood that differ in significant ways from what is taught in the Bible. 

According to my archaeological understanding, NAMI's discovery fits the biblical account simply and perfectly. But mainline, Creationists, and at least one alternative archaeologist who has been supporting the discovery have been skeptical in this regard. Either they are skeptical of NAMI's discovery because it does not fit how they understand Noah's Flood or they accept NAMI's discovery as confirming a theory of the Flood that differs from a straightforward reading of the Bible. In future newsletters, I will explain how NAMI's discovery either fits or does not fit the views of Creationists and certain alternative archaeologists. For now, I will address these two questions in the light of archaeology and history as taught by mainline science.

Everyone should know that mainline archaeology and history do not teach a Flood that covered all the earth's mountains as plainly declared in the Bible. Still, many within the mainstream of modern science and history believe that worldwide Flood traditions point to some type of ancient and epic Flood that was limited to some local area such as the Mesopotamian Valley or a region surrounding either the Caspian, Mediterranean, or Black Seas. Other mainstream archaeologists suppose these Flood traditions arose from the melting of glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. 


To allow archaeologists to properly fit the artifact into archaeological history, many suppose all that is needed is careful study of NAMI's site. Yes, archaeological study is much needed. But if NAMI has discovered Noah's Ark, it will never fit within archaeological prehistory as understood by mainline science. The reason is due to the antiquity and size of this maritime vessel together with the elevation and position in which the great ship was found. Ancient people could not have built it there. But a Flood that would have raised this ancient boat to about 14,000 feet would have necessarily covered the earth. 

To be sure, as in the case of many other high mountains, Mount Ararat may have significantly risen over the last four or five thousand years. But that doesn't much matter because this artifact has slid to its present location from an even higher position on the mountain. The Ark may be holding its altitude as its host mountain is rising. Natives of the region report that the Ark did indeed slide down the mountain during the 1840 earthquake, likely due to and in conjunction with the rising of this mountain. 

But even if the Ark itself has risen risen several thousands of feet, the waters that floated the vessel to these heights had necessarily to cover the entire earth. That kind of Flood would have brought an end to most if not all of mankind's settlements. Even if the Flood did not cover the tops of the mountains as the Bible declares and as seems the case, it would have necessarily destroyed all the earth's people who were not on this vessel. That is to say, there is scarce evidence of ancient man living at places more than two miles high. Few animals live at those heights because plants don't grow there. Hence, this discovery cannot possibly fit within the context of a mainstream archaeology that knows nothing of a worldwide Flood. NAMI's discovery can only mean, as I maintain from independent evidence, that mainstream archaeology is deeply flawed. 

In my last newsletter, I explained why archaeologists have failed to see the vast evidence of Noah's Flood. The manifest evidence of that event is obscured by an artificial prehistory made to fit within the framework of a Pleistocene/Holocene geology that Charles Lyell deliberately manufactured to obscure what geologists then understood as diluvian(from the Food!) remains. Those disarticulate remains now defined as Pleistocene and attributed to a mythical Ice Age are in fact from the Flood. 

I pointed out how the relative chronology of archaeological prehistory is entirely based on typology: an imagined evolution of artifacts such as arrowheads, axes, and ceramics. Human remains understood as belonging to the Ice Age (the Pleistocene) are classified as Paleolithic (or Old Stone Age). I have already explained how the 12,000 years since the Ice Age was determined based on the supposed rate of erosion of Niagara Falls, yet stretched to allow for the supposed needs of the rise of Egyptian civilization that supposedly arose immediately following the Ice Age. 

But I maintain that the Flood occurred at the end of the Early Bronze Age, about 4,500 years ago just as can be calculated from the Bible. So what of the 12,000-4,500 years believed to have taken place since the Ice Age, an era encompassing the Mesolithic (the Middle Stone Age), the Neolithic (or New Stone Age), and the Chalcolithic (or Copper and Stone Age)? I maintain that, together with those of the Paleolithic, all these are but the tools of a single era but crafted according to their various purposes.

But what do archaeologists understand as happening from 12,000-4,500 years ago and how did they determine that? This era belongs to archaeological prehistory because it is supposed older than writing. The beginning of this era is when archaeologists suppose that man quit hunting mammoths in cold, mostly ice-covered Europe (the Paleolithic) and began hunting small game in the warmer climates of Egypt and Southwestern Asia (the Mesolithic). This is also the era when man first domesticated animals and began agriculture in the region long known as the Fertile Crescent (see map above). Soon afterwards, polished stone tools (the pre-pottery Neolithic Age), pottery (the pottery Neolithic Age), the use of metals (the Chalcolithic Age), and the world's first cities appear. 

Archaeology agrees with the Bible that the Ancient Near East is not only the cradle of civilization but also of agriculture. That should not be surprising inasmuch as this small region has been the homeland of not one but two worldwide dispersions of mankind: the first from the Garden of Eden (probably in lower Mesopotamia), the second from the Ark which rested just north of the apex of the Fertile Crescent. Lying within the Ancient Near East, the Land of the Bible (which includes the present states of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) is also one of the most archaeologically excavated lands on the face of the earth. If one wants to know something about the history of man, the Land of the Bible is a the place to start.

In the two articles below, I explain the development of archaeological prehistory which followed the Ice Age. Despite mainstream archaeology's rejection of the Bible, the archaeological prehistory of the land of the Bible is the central pillar of worldwide archaeological prehistory. Note that mainstream archaeology's version of the history of man from the end of the Ice Age to the historical era of the Ancient Near East was developed there by two British women. Both women followed the geo-archaeological school of Charles Lyell in supposing that depth-of-deposit equates to age-of-deposits, known to geologists as uniformitarian science. Though geologists and archaeologists have long rejected this procedure, it still anchors the chronology of geology as well as archaeology.

The foundations of mainstream archaeological history are not that complicated. One can learn the essence of this prehistory from these newsletters. It should be plain that the archaeological prehistory of mainstream archaeology lacks a foundation of a clear and consistent sequence of successive typological strata. Despite the technological argot that makes it hard to follow and causes laymen to defer to trained scientists, NAMI's discovery proves it nothing but a fictional creation of using selected ancient human remains to present a veneer of scientific objectivity. Fortunately, understanding these remains do not depend on mainstream archaeological prehistory. They make complete sense is the light of the early chapters of Genesis. Human remains that have long been assigned to mankind's prehistory have all along belonged to his history.

Best regards,
Philip Williams

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In this issue
The archaeological and faith questions created by NAMI's discovery -- Part I: mainline science
The confusing and muddled claims of prehistoric archaeology
From hunter gatherers to the beginnings of agriculture
Kathleen Kenyon's archaeological prehistory
The confusing and muddled claims of
prehistoric archaeology
And why, despite recognized problems, it hasn't been fixed


Since it claims to be the sole reliable account of mankind's origins and history - our origins and history! - one might suppose that prehistoric archaeology together with the earth and climate history that accompanies it would be well known and understood. Doesn't every child want to know how man came to be? One problem is that the subject is the province of numerous scientific specialists whose writings are too arcane for specialists in related fields if not also the papers published in one's own field. That means there is little danger that any of the claims will be challenged so long as they follow the outlines of prehistory that have been established since the era of Lyell and Darwin, the time when English-speaking scientists and scholars embraced a form of science that openly challenged man's history as taught in the Bible. 
One can learn the general outlines of mainstream archaeological prehistory from popular accounts written chiefly by journalists and professional writers. These accounts explain how man somehow evolved and lived for more than a million years in an ice-covered environment. About 12,000 years ago, he suddenly became creative, taking off into agriculture, metallurgy, and a refined civilization that included writing. These popular accounts avoid the muddled and tediously boring scientific details.
Scientific popularizers do not point out problems in the fields about which they write because they are evangelists for science - not critical minds that ask questions about many aspects of this prehistory that do not make sense. The more details one learns about this prehistory, the more muddled and senseless it will seem because scientific prehistory is in fact senseless and muddled. The lack of answers about things so important has given rise to an entire industry of alternative archaeology. Unfortunately, most alternative archaeology is scarcely less absurd than the conventional scientific prehistory questioned. 
Here are some things that an astute mind might ask: (1) Why don't glaciers in flat lands just melt in the places where they froze and rose? What force caused them to shift great rocks to great heights and sculpt the land horizontally? (2) How did the great animals that Ice Age men hunted managed to eat in an ice-covered world? (3) Why do styles of ancient man's weapons and tools remain unchanged for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years? (4) If ancient man was so uncreative, lacking skill even to build boats, how did he spread through the earth, a feat that Europeans could not manage until their Commercial Revolution? Yet similar styles and practices are claimed to have spread not once but hundreds of times over the era of mankind's prehistory. (5) 
Why do the sites occupied by man skip around continents, remain occupied for hundreds or thousands of years, become abandoned, then reoccupied by similar cultures? What kept man from spreading to more fertile lands in surrounding areas? (6) Why is some of man's most advanced art so early and so similar to styles so much later? (7) Why is the overwhelming majority of the evidence of early man from elaborate burials and tombs? (8) Where is the evidence of the living places and settlements of those buried? (9) Why can we not trace the migrations of early man as evidence by similar styles and technologies? If not through migration, how did these styles spread? (10) How did mankind lose the knowledge of how he built advanced and precise structures such as Stonehenge, the Egyptian Pyramids, and the great roads and settlements in ancient America?
Studying some of the standard reference works pertaining to early man such as the Cambridge Ancient History or the Chronologies in Old World Archaeology will provide no answers. These are filled with chapters that hardly relate to other chapters in the same volumes due to what is an almost complete fragmentation of mankind's prehistory. If we judge by these scholarly works, mankind's prehistory is a complete muddle. Though these problems give rise to the numerous theories known as alternative archaeology, the alternatives create more questions than answers. Why can't these problems be fixed?
The answer is simple. There is no reason to change unless there is some better alternative. Doing prehistoric archaeology in the light of the early chapters of Genesis has long been ridiculed. Until now, who has provided a better alternatative than the kind of nonsense that is currently taught?
From hunter gatherers to the beginnings of agriculture
Understanding the creation of the scientific prehistory of man  
Carmel Caves
The Carmel caves in Israel: the one site on earth supposed to be continuously occupied by man for the last 800,000 years!*

The central framework for archaeological prehistory is to a great extent the work of two British women: Dorothy Garrod (1892-1968) and Kathleen Kenyon (1906-1978). Working in caves at Gibraltar in Spain and Mount Carmel in Israel, Garrod's work was most important for developing the archaeological prehistory of man. In caves from both regions, she found the remains of Neanderthals. Deeply buried in the caves on Mount Carmel, she found other bones of what have always been recognized as ancient but fully human homo sapiens. Based on the depths of deposits found inside these caves, she reckoned that the area had been continuously inhabited by man for about 800,000 years!

Garrod's work is equally important for what is now understood as mankind's move from hunting big game such as mammoths with large spear points in cold Ice-Age Europe to hunting smaller game using microliths in the warmer Ancient Near East. This is the era between the Paleolithic and Neolithic, commonly called the Mesolithic. In the same caves and nearby settlements, Garrod also discovered what is commonly regarded as man's first instance of agriculture, his domestication of rye at a settlement near the Shuqba Cave, near the seasonally-dried stream of Wadi-Natuf. This is the same Natufian culture that Kathlyn Kenyon would find as part of the first settlers of Jericho. Thus Garrod's work created the chronology of the era of man from Paleolithic hunter gatherers to Neolithic agriculturalists. 
No one should be surprised that Garrod, who dug for human bones in caves, should have found Neanderthals. Those living in caves are usually the impoverished, leading to the poor diets and lack of sunshine that are the cause of rickets. I believe that the low-levels of oxygen that develop in occupied caves is responsible for the barreled-chests of those who mature in such environments.
Garrod's work took place prior to the era of radiocarbon dating. Despite the popular presumption that Garrod's sequence of the rise of early man depended on strata belonging to the cave of Carmel, in fact her sequence of mankind's "continuous" occupation of the caves in the vicinity of Mount Carmel depended on the typology that had already been presumed to define the history of early man. These typological datings were supplemented by what she had learned from her archaeological teachers: depth of deposit is proportional to the period of occupation. I suspect that Garrod's caves were filled by topsoil washed from valleys and hills by the same Flood that covered the Early Bronze civilization throughout the Ancient Near East.
* Drawing from Israel's National Parks Service
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Kathlyn Kenyon's archaeological prehistory
How Jericho became the world's oldest city

Suppose built by those who could not make pottery!


For many years, the ancient city of Jericho has been known as the world's oldest city. I remember that from Jacob Bronowski's Ascent of Man, a book and PBS series from the early seventies. Brownowski explained the agriculture surplus at Jericho as the reason for the city's massive fortifications. Anthropologists understand that the invention of agriculture must precede the invention of the city. Bronowski's explanation was in line with an evolutionary view of man's development from hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist. How did the agriculturalists who built these great fortifications fail to learn how to make pottery and how did this city so famously known from the Bible also become known as the world's oldest city?


Before Jericho obtained that title, the job of finding the world's oldest city had been the aim of Robert Braidwood who searched for it in Syria, between the center of the Fertile Crescent where agriculture was reckoned to have begun and the civilization in Mesopotamia, long thought the world's oldest. Kathlyeen Kenyon sought the world's oldest city from the opposite direction of supposed development: from the rise of pre-agricultural man. She identified the first inhabitants of Jericho as having the same technology as those agriculturalist Natufians who Dorothy Garrod had connected with the succession of Paleolithic man from those caves of Mt. Carmel. Jericho had plenty of pottery, but Kenyon disassociated that from what she would define as two successive stages of a pre-pottery Neolithic. Like Garrod and others, Kenyon's typologically-driven history was almost completely subjective and artificial. 


Then came the newly-invented radiocarbon dating. How remarkable that the first radiocarbon dates would find Kenyon's Jericho older than those being studied by Robert Braidwood in Syria. Important, identifiable organic remains are not likely to last long on the mound of flood-prone Jericho. Charcoal and charred grains by which Kenyon's Jericho was likely dated might belong to any era from the most ancient to the modern. Still, in the eyes of a scientifically-impressed public, radiocarbon dating seem to lend objectivity to what was in fact Garrod and Kenyon's essentially mythical history of early man.
The great fortifications, the informality of the burials, the flexed positions together with such things as the youth and good health of those who Kenyon found buried along the steps of the towers and in the floors of the houses of Jericho points to the third century BC Flood as the cause of these elaborate Jericho remains. It is the same Flood as Kenyon herself saw as ending the Early Bronze civilization at Jericho.
NAMI's Ark documentary
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Christian Leaders & Scholars is the newsletter and publication site of Philip Ernest Williams, author of The Archaeological Evidence of Noah's Flood (2011). The site is also a ministry not only to Christian leaders and scholars but all who are interested in the more difficult issues pertaining to the Bible and its implications for science and history. (Read more)