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Thread: An Archaeological Explanation for the Story of Noah's Ark

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    An Archaeological Explanation for the Story of Noah's Ark

    An Archaeological Explanation for the Story of Noah's Ark

    Archaeologists think local events could have been the source of the Noah Ark biblical story, including writings that predate the biblical account by a thousand years.

    The Biblical story of Noah's Ark is widely known: God decides to wipe the Earth clean of wickedness and tasks the righteous Noah and his family to safeguard themselves along with all the world's animals inside a gigantic wooden ark in order to ride out a global 150-day flood.


    Though some take the story literally, there's no archaeological evidence that such an ark ever existed, nor is there any geologic evidence of a cataclysmic global flood. That doesn't mean the story wasn't based on historical events, however.


    As Laurence C. Smith, a Professor of Environmental Studies and Professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University, recounted in his forthcoming book, Rivers of Power, a story nearly identical to Noah's is "written on one of the twelve tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh," predating the Old Testament account by more than a thousand years.


    "Numerous credible studies suggest that a real-world local catastrophe may have inspired the story," he writes.
    "At the height of the last ice age around 21,000 years ago, global sea level averaged some 125 meters lower than today. The present-day Persian Gulf, extending from Dubai to Kuwait City, was a broad river valley dotted with freshwater lakes... this ancient valley became inundated when global sea levels rose rapidly from approximately 10,000 to 4,000 BCE, due to melting of continental ice sheets and thermal expansion of ocean water as it warmed... The sea's advance averaged more than 100 meters per year, and sometimes more than one kilometer per year."


    About sixty well-developed communities along the modern shores of the Persian Gulf date to around 5,000 BCE. The thousands of people dwelling within the fertile basin would have been forced to move and resettle year after year until the waters finally stopped rising and they could lay down more permanent roots. As Smith writes:
    There are also stories centering in on the Black Sea, and that event may have been more sudden than the Persian Gulf event which took generations.

    Read the rest of the article at the link.
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    Popular non-fiction writers seem to count on large parts of the public having a short memory. I can remember reading about the many and various "universal flood" stories, including the Gilgamesh version - which they say may be derived from an even older Babylonian story - and how they compare with the Biblical narrative when I was in high school...back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

    Unfortunately what usually happens when these things penetrate the news cycle is that a certain number of Biblical literalists will respond by saying, "See! The Bible is true!", while an equal number of militant atheists will counter with, "See! The Bible is b.s.!"
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    I doubt there is any well-populated area that hasn't at some time had a catastrophic flood. I certainly don't think there is any scientific evidence of enough water to totally cover all land on earth appearing and then disappearing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
    I doubt there is any well-populated area that hasn't at some time had a catastrophic flood. I certainly don't think there is any scientific evidence of enough water to totally cover all land on earth appearing and then disappearing.

    It would be physically impossible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    It would be physically impossible.
    Of course, but in many places and in all times there have been societies whose members just didn't get out much, you might say. The entire world, for all they knew or cared, was pretty much delineated by how far any person then living had ever traveled. In many cases, a people might have had their whole world inundated and just assumed or imagined that the flood was universal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standing Wolf View Post
    Of course, but in many places and in all times there have been societies whose members just didn't get out much, you might say. The entire world, for all they knew or cared, was pretty much delineated by how far any person then living had ever traveled. In many cases, a people might have had their whole world inundated and just assumed or imagined that the flood was universal.
    That is a very plausible explanation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    It would be physically impossible.
    A lot of rain followed by a lot of no rain. Water evaporates. This was too easy ansdI don't believe the world was ever covered by water.
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