The archaeological and faith questions created by NAMI's discovery -- Part I: mainline science
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.