As I hoped in a recent post, I was able to attend Randall Price’s session at the annual Near East Archaeological Society meeting (a sub-session at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting) this past week in San Francisco. The session was entitled, “Report of the 2011 Ark Search LLC Expedition and Excavation on Mt. Ararat.” I’m happy to say it was an interesting and informative session. I went wanting to hear two things. First, I wanted to actually hear Price distance himself from the Chinese ark investigation hoax. I had previously posted a letter on this blog from Dr. Price disavowing the nonsense. You can find that letter here on Dr. Price’s website (and other items investigating the hoax). I just wanted to hear him say it in a room filled with many people predisposed to wanting the ark found. He did so, very clearly. He did the same when I briefly chatted with him later in the conference. Second, I wanted to know if he had read the recent critique of the bogus Carbon-14 testing that I linked readers to in this earlier post. He actually brought up the article before Q & A time, so I know he read it. He also agreed with its findings, which I was glad to hear.
My general impression of Price’s session is that he and his team are making a serious attempt to understand a large anomalous form under the ice that they have detected with ground-penetrating radar (the tests were performed by people expert in that technology, one of whom has a PhD in geology). The audience saw a number of slides from the data read-out that indeed showed an anomalous rectangular space or object. I can’t actually say more than that since some of the information (legitimately) ought not be discussed on the web due to legalities surrounding permits from the Turkish government (i.e., what the team was allowed to do and not allowed to do – I don’t want to mis-characterize anything I heard and make it hard for Price’s team to get permits next year). I can say that nothing even close to conclusive was found. It’s basically going to take permission to dig or drill into the object, and then proper testing of any material remains. I don’t say this sarcastically, but good luck with that. There are many physical and legal obstacles to even getting anything to test. That’s just the way it is.
There was only one negative aspect of the presentation for me. We really *can* do without all the Indiana Jones-ish storytelling. It amounts to hype and detracts from being taken seriously. There wasn’t a lot of that, but any of it is too much.
From the beginning I said this whole thing was a hoax, much to the chagrin of many readers. A little while back I posted news that the fraud had been confirmed. Here is the latest, which includes a link to the letter received by Randall Price about the hoax.
For readers of this blog, this is no surprise. I’ve blogged the hoax several times, including correspondence from Randall Price, the ark researcher interviewed in this article who confirms (again) that the Chinese team’s “find” was a hoax.
But some readers just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) believe it from me. Here you go. Another hoax in the name of defending the Bible – a very poor testimony, indeed. This chicanery just isn’t necessary, but it ain’t going away, I can assure you.
Here’s a link to some responses posted on the ASOR blog (American Schools of Oriental Research, a professional society for real archaeologists in all areas of the ancient Near East).
Just to keep you in the loop, here’s a recent report from Archaeology Daily News. I’m a bit surprised that this subject produced so many comments, but thanks for posting!
This is a sad post for me. Read on and you’ll know why.
Fox News reported today about a joint Turkish-Chinese expedition that claims to have found Naoh’s ark on Mount Ararat. Part of their proof is the picture below, which purports to have been taken inside the ark. Allegedly, the wooden beams carbon-date to 4,800 years old. Would that be cool or what?
Now the sad part. I also got an email today from one of Randall Price’s students. The email contains a message from Dr. Price about this expedition. (Dr. Price, as some of you may recall, has been doing a lot of searching for the ark lately.) Here is an excerpt from his message:
I was the archaeologist with the Chinese expedition in the summer of 2008 and was given photos of what they now are reporting to be the inside of the Ark. I and my partners invested $100,000 in this expedition (described below) which they have retained, despite their promise and our requests to return it, since it was not used for the expedition. The information given below is my opinion based on what I have seen and heard (from others who claim to have been eyewitnesses or know the exact details).
To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake. The photos were reputed to have been taken off site near the Black Sea, but the film footage the Chinese now have was shot on location on Mt. Ararat. In the late summer of 2008 ten Kurdish workers hired by Parasut, the guide used by the Chinese, are said to have planted large wood beams taken from an old structure in the Black Sea area (where the photos were originally taken) at the Mt. Ararat site. In the winter of 2008 a Chinese climber taken by Parasut’s men to the site saw the wood, but couldn’t get inside because of the severe weather conditions. During the summer of 2009 more wood was planted inside a cave at the site. The Chinese team went in the late summer of 2009 (I was there at the time and knew about the hoax) and was shown the cave with the wood and made their film. As I said, I have the photos of the inside of the so-called Ark (that show cobwebs in the corners of rafters – something just not possible in these conditions) and our Kurdish partner in Dogubabyazit (the village at the foot of Mt. Ararat) has all of the facts about the location, the men who planted the wood, and even the truck that transported it.
In short, Randall was duped. I feel bad about it because I know him. He’s a good guy with real degrees (so please don’t equate him with charlatans like Ron Wyatt). Yeah, he should have known better. But at least he’s being honest here.