The story of Noah's Ark and the Terrific Flood is a single of the most popular from the Bible, and now an acclaimed underwater archaeologist thinks he has identified proof that the biblical flood was really primarily based on actual events.
In an interview with Christiane Amanpour for ABC News, Robert Ballard, a single of the world's ideal-recognized underwater archaeologists, talked about his findings. His group is probing the depths of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey in search of traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater because the time of Noah.
See images from her journey Here
Ballard's track record for discovering the impossible is properly identified. In 1985, working with a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world's most popular shipwreck, the Titanic.
Now Ballard is employing even extra sophisticated robotic technologies to travel farther back in time. He is on a marine archeological mission that may well assistance the story of Noah. He mentioned some 12,000 years ago, a great deal of the globe was covered in ice.
"Exactly where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my property, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that is a major ice cube," he said. "But then it started to melt. We're speaking about the floods of our living history."
The water from the melting glaciers began to rush toward the world's oceans, Ballard stated, causing floods all about the world.
"The questions is, was there a mother of all floods," Ballard mentioned.
According to a controversial theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists, there actually was 1 in the Black Sea region. They think that the now-salty Black Sea was after an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland, until it was flooded by an huge wall of water from the increasing Mediterranean Sea. The force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away every little thing in its path.
Fascinated by the idea, Ballard and his group decided to investigate.
"We went in there to appear for the flood," he stated. "Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a seriously significant flood that then stayed... The land that went beneath stayed under."
Four hundred feet below the surface, they unearthed an ancient shoreline, proof to Ballard that a catastrophic occasion did take place in the Black Sea. By carbon dating shells located along the shoreline, Ballard stated he believes they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event, which he estimates happened around 5,000 BC. Some specialists believe this was around the time when Noah's flood could have occurred.
"It possibly was a negative day," Ballard said. "At some magic moment, it broke via and flooded this place violently, and a lot of genuine estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went beneath."
The theory goes on to suggest that the story of this traumatic occasion, seared into the collective memory of the survivors, was passed down from generation to generation and sooner or later inspired the biblical account of Noah.
Noah is described in the Bible as a household man, a father of 3, who is about to celebrate his 600th birthday.
"In the early chapters of Genesis, men and women live 800 years, 700 years, 900 years," mentioned Rabbi Burt Visotzky, a professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. "Those are mythic numbers, these are way too large. We don't really know what to do with that. So at times those huge numbers, I believe, also serve to reinforce the mystery of the text."
Some of the details of the Noah story seem mythical, so several biblical scholars believe the story of Noah and the Ark was inspired by the legendary flood stories of nearby Mesopotamia, in certain "The Epic of Gilgamesh." These ancient narratives had been already becoming passed down from one particular generation to the subsequent, centuries just before Noah appeared in the Bible.
"The earlier Mesopotamian stories are really related where the gods are sending a flood to wipe out humans," mentioned biblical archaeologist Eric Cline. "There's 1 man they choose to survive. He builds a boat and brings on animals and lands on a mountain and lives happily ever just after? I would argue that it really is the similar story."
Catastrophic events of this kind are not distinctive to the Bible. Some modern examples incorporate the 2004 tsunami that wiped out villages on the coasts of 11 nations surrounding the Indian Ocean. There was also Hurricane Katrina, described as the worst hurricane in United States history.
Scholars aren't confident if the biblical flood was bigger or smaller sized than these contemporary day disasters, but they do consider the experiences of men and women in ancient instances had been related to our personal.
"If you witness a terrible all-natural disaster, yes, you want a scientific explanation why this has occurred," stated Karen Armstrong, author of "A History of God." "But you also require to one thing that will support you to assuage your grief and anguish and rage. And it is right here that myth helps us by means of that."
Regardless of irrespective of whether the information of the Noah story are historically correct, Armstrong believes this story and all the Biblical stories are telling us "about our predicament in the world now."
Back in the Black Sea, Ballard stated he is conscious that not absolutely everyone agrees with his conclusions about the time and size of the flood, but he's confident he's on the path to obtaining some thing from the biblical period.
"We began obtaining structures that looked like they have been man-made structures," Ballard stated. "That is exactly where we are focusing our focus appropriate now."
At very first Ballard's group discovered piles of ancient pottery, but then they produced an even additional vital discovery. Last year, Ballard discovered a vessel and one of its crew members in the Black Sea.
"That is a completely preserved ancient shipwreck in all its wood, appears like a lumber yard," he mentioned. "But if you appear closely, you will see the femur bone and in fact a molar."
The shipwreck was in surprisingly excellent situation, preserved since the Black Sea has nearly no oxygen in it, which slows down the procedure of decay, but it does not date back as far as the story of Noah.
"The oldest shipwreck that we have found so far of that region is around 500 BC, classical period," Ballard mentioned. "But the question is you just maintain browsing. It's a matter of statistics."
Nonetheless, Ballard stated the locate provides him hope that he will learn a thing older "due to the fact there, in fact, the deep sea is the largest museum on Earth," he mentioned.
Ballard does not think he will ever obtain Noah's Ark, but he does feel he may possibly obtain proof of a folks whose complete globe was washed away about 7,000 years ago. He and his team stated they program to return to Turkey subsequent summer season.
"It's foolish to believe you will ever obtain a ship," Ballard mentioned, referring to the Ark. "But can you discover people who had been living? Can you discover their villages that are underwater now? And the answer is yes."
Tune in to Christiane Amanpour's two-element ABC News specific, "Back to the Starting," which explores the history of the Bible from Genesis to Jesus. Element 1 airs on Friday, Dec. 21 and portion two on Friday, Dec. 28, each beginning at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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