Friends of ASOR Podcast: “Noah,” Featuring Dr. Eric Cline

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Listen to Dr. Eric Cline talk about Noah (yes, the one who built an ark).  We asked him about the biblical and ancient Near Eastern descriptions of Noah, and the claims by different teams that they’ve discovered Noah’s ark.

Dr. Cline is a professor of Classics, Anthropology, and History, & Chair of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at The George Washington University Columbian College of Arts & Sciences. He is a classical and biblical archaeologist and ancient historian whose primary fields of study are biblical archaeology, the military history of the Mediterranean world from antiquity to present, the Bronze Age Aegean, and the international connections between Greece, Egypt, and the Near East during the Late Bronze Age (1700-1100 BCE). He is also Co-Director (USA) of The Megiddo Expedition.


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1 Comments for : Friends of ASOR Podcast: “Noah,” Featuring Dr. Eric Cline
    • ethreshingfloor
    • May 7, 2014

    Eric, I listened to your interview with Andy Vaughn with great interest. I do have a few questions and comments.

    1. In saying that all the ancient reports about an Ark and Flood cannot be separate events, you acknowledge the historicity of some type of ancient Flood. Why then do you suppose it strange that so many are interested in finding archaeological evidence of that event?

    2. Clearly you recognize the opportunity these searches and announcements offer for getting the public interested in ANE archaeology, a unique area of archaeology in being potentially informed by the most ancient of texts.

    3. I agree that searches for Noah’s Ark should have archaeological oversight, not the case with the popular Ark searchers, but in fact the case of the monumental wooden structure that Andy Vaughn mentions. The exploration of this site has taken place under direction of the University of Istanbul’s Dr. Oktay Belli.

    4. In suggesting that the mountains of Ararat are entirely in present day Iran, you are obviously unaware that ruins belonging to ancient kingdom of Urartu surround Mt Ararat in Eastern Turkey. You could have learned this from publications by Dr. Belli available at ASOR’s last annual meeting.

    5. You point out that the biblical account refers to the Ark landing in the ‘mountains of Ararat’ but you incorrectly surmise that excludes a landing near the top of Mt. Ararat, which you say is ‘the last place’ that Ark searchers should be looking. Should this ancient account have any historical basis, there is no other place in the mountains of Ararat from which the tops of the mountain would be visible after 3 months of receding waters.

    6. In dismissing searches for the Ark by surmising that the first thing that Noah would have done was to dismantle the Ark to build a ‘house or barn,’ you ignore that the most venerable ancient text has Noah and his family living in tents immediately after embarking from the vessel that saved them. That would have been more practical for a family migrating from the top of a high mountain than burdening themselves with the great timbers from a monumental wooden structure.

    7. In declaring that the only places that wood from five thousand years ago might survive for so long would be either the deserts of Egypt or in the Black Sea, you imply that a monumental wooden structure on Mt. Ararat could not be so old. You are aware of the delicate organic remains associated with the 5000-year-old Otzi the Ice Man found in the Italian Alps. Why would you suppose that organic remains of robust timbers from a continuously frozen structure under ice and rocks at even higher elevation could not survive as long?

    8. From the time of Edward Robinson, archaeologists have used local traditions and names for identifying ancient sites. Is there any archaeological site outside Jerusalem with more ancient attestation than those that testify of Noah’s Ark landing upon a mountain in Armenia or with local traditions offering the same attestation specifically for Mt. Ararat? Regardless of the ancient Flood tradition you prefer, those locating the site of the landing of the Ark in the vicinity of Armenia include Babylonian historian Berossus from the 3rd century BCE, Josephus, Christian fathers, as well as numerous European explorers dating from Marco Polo.

    9. You note that the Hong Kong (NAMI’s) announcement of the monumental wooden structure that Andy mentions is the best of the reported claims for evidence of what might be an ancient artifact of immense interest, but you declare that there are ‘pretty good reports’ that the announcement was based on a hoax. Do you regard allegations by a rival Ark searcher based on a source he refuses to name as of ‘pretty good’ quality?

    10. You imply that NAMI’s announcement was made without archaeological oversight. Archaeological oversight is precisely why so many of us have been so interested in NAMI’s announcement, in fact supervised by the eminent Doctor Otkay Belli, Turkey’s foremost expert on artifacts associated with the ancient Urartu.

    11. You say that Ark searchers have refused to provide pictures of their discoveries. Yes, the lack of pictures showing anything like what might be an Ark are precisely why we are not impressed with announcements of the discovery of Noah’s Ark, but NAMI’s pictures and videos of the monumental wooden structure together with the archaeological oversight are precisely the reason this announcement has received so much attention.

    12. Owing to your summary and confident remarks about the radiocarbon dating of wood found on Mt. Ararat, one might assume that you have researched the matter and examined the laboratory tests made of the wood found by Navarra as well as NAMI’s monumental wooden structure. Have you actually done that?

    13. I do not think that disparaging Turkish archaeologists such as Dr. Belli and repeating injurious slander of Parasut and the Hong Kong team made by American Ark searcher Randall Price are in the best interest of professional archaeology. Neither the esteemed Israeli archaeologist Avner Goren nor Bruce Feiler who featured both men in his NY Times bestseller and PBS series ‘Walking the Bible’ share Price’s opinion of Parasut. You have my book detailing Randall Price, under pressure from my letter to Liberty University, presenting as evidence of his hoax theory what even he has admitted to be a forged document. Why would a responsible archaeologist place on his website a defaming document whose source he did not know?

    14. It is certainly not true that those who are working with the excavation of this monumental wooden structure are uninterested in ASOR’s involvement or unwilling to make known the precise location of the monumental wooden structure they have discovered. More than a few members of ASOR know how hard we have worked to make this possible. Everyone should know that irresponsible claims made against the site hinder this process, especially in raising the badly needed funding.

    15. Everyone should appreciate that excavation and study of this ancient monumental wooden structure whatever it may be requires skills from the new field of Alpine archaeology pioneered by German and Italian teams working on the excavation of Otzi the Ice Man. Though very expensive to excavate, it appears that the organic remains preserved at this site from the Neolithic through the Early Bronze are enough to increase our samples of organic artifacts from this period many fold. Archaeologists everywhere should be excited about this discovery.

    16. Most disingenuous and sadly unprofessional is your demand that the exact site of what is potentially the greatest archaeological discovery in history be made public. I assume that you believe if any new caves were discovered in Israel containing what appear to be ancient scrolls that you would demand the same even before the contents of the site are secured by responsible archaeologist and authorities. That will not happen at this site unless and until the governing antiquities authorities are satisfied that the site is safe from looting.

    17. In any case, the location of the site will be made known to a team of responsible archaeologists who are interested in studying the site and agree to abide by the rules of the governing archaeological authorities. Those who are interested in working on or supporting this project should contact me:

    Philip Ernest Williams
    New Beginnings Foundation
    5155 Swearngan Road
    Charlotte, N. C. 28216


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