Noah’s Ark has been found again, according to a Fox News report.  Peter Wong alerted me to this a couple of days ago (see www.thenoahark.com), but it seemed like more of a scheme to make money than anything.  But today’s report has more information.

Before I go further, I should just note that there are two common responses to a report like this.  One is to laugh and say it’s obviously a hoax (without troubling to consider the evidence).  For some, this is because of a preconception that there was no Noah, there was no ark, and there was no flood. 

Others respond with complete trust, and regardless of what evidence comes forth, they will never relinquish their belief that the ark has been found.  The two approaches have in common a disregard for the evidence.

The FoxNews report does not sound nutty to me.  (I have an expectation of such because there have been previous “discoveries” of the ark that were fraudulent.)  Read it yourself and see if you can detect anything fishy.  Based on this article (and my belief that there was a Noah, an ark, and a flood),

I can’t deem this a fraud.  I’m still suspicious and want to see more evidence, but I’m not yet convinced either way.

But PaleoBabble has an inside scoop.  Randall Price is a professor at Liberty University and he was involved with this expedition.  He explains the “discovery” as the result of a carefully orchestrated hoax. 

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.

My prediction is that this won’t be the last attempt to scam believers.

If I hear more of interest, I’ll note it here.

UPDATE (4/28): I have received the entirety of Price’s letter.  Here is the second half:

To my knowledge, the Chinese took no professional archaeologist or geologist who could verify or document the wood or the structure in situ (in its place of discovery). They were duped in 2006-2007 by Parasut when they were shown a similar cave with something they thought was wood. I met the Chinese when I went with a team of geologists to examine the “wood” in Dogubabyazit and to report that it was volcanic rock (called “tuff”) and not wood. Thereafter, since the Chinese were apparently able to get permits to climb in previously off-limit sites,  I and two other professionals joined with the Chinese (bringing our own independent satellite data) and went with them to Mt. Ararat in 2008. During that expedition, the guide Parasut who claimed to have found the Ark, was constantly drunk and after one month sitting in a hotel waiting, the expedition never happened. It was at this time that I made contact with Dr. Richard Bright who has climbed Mt. Ararat 33 times in search of the Ark and with several others climbed the western side of Mt. Ararat with a shepherd (who had recently been discovered by Dr. Bright’s Kurdish partner) who knew the location of a piece of the Ark. Last year we had a good expedition to a higher site (the satellite site) and this summer we will excavate the shepherd’s site and have every reason to expect success.
I am sorry to have to report that this is apparently a fake (and I am sure that the Chinese do not know this, but they do not respond to my e-mails), however, we do hope soon to have the real thing.
I encourage your prayers for me and others who will have to explain this “discovery” to many others – because negative reports are never well received and motives are questioned, especially when those doing so are part of a competitive expedition. But we do not want people to reject the truth of the Bible because another Noah’s Ark report turns out to be false. We prefer to as clear upfront in our reporting as possible so Christians (and others) can make up their own minds.
I hope that this will be helpful to you at this time,
Randall Price
Ark Search LLC Expedition

UPDATE (4/28): Good Morning America has a 5-minute segment on the “discovery,” with the majority of that devoted to an interview with archaeologist Eric Cline.  Cline has previously written about the problem with “arkeologists” in his book, From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible.