“Noah’s Ark”: Analysis of C14 Results

In April 2010, NAMI announced that they had discovered Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat. They supported this claim by declaring that the date of the wood had been scientifically tested as originating in 2800 BC.

NAMI has never followed up its sensational announcement with data that can be analyzed by scholars. In particular, they have withheld results from Carbon 14 tests done on four samples of wood. Andrew A. Snelling, Director of Research for Answers in Genesis, was provided the test results in order to gain his support ahead of the 2010 announcement. He explained to them why the data did not support their identification of the alleged object as Noah’s Ark, but they ignored his analysis and presented their claim as factual.

Since NAMI continues to attempt to deceive the world, Snelling is now revealing the confidential data they provided. In his report posted online last week, he presents the four test results from the wood. Samples A, B, and C are all less than 700 years old. Sample D was dated by an anonymous lab to approximately 2800 BC and is the basis for NAMI’s claim that the wood comes from Noah’s Ark.

Snelling’s report is lengthy and detailed, but he points to several problems with the date of Sample D:

(1) This sample was tested at only one laboratory, and a different one than the other samples. This
does not squelch rumors that a laboratory fabricated results for a price.
(2) The date of the death of the tree from which the wood came is between 9858-294 BC. That range is too broad to be useful, particularly with a single sample tested at a single laboratory.
(3) The tests of dendrochronology on this sample are not reliable.
(4) Comparison with samples of fossilized wood from trees killed in the Flood indicate that the date of Ark wood should be closer to 20,000 years BP.

In short, the burden of proof is on those who claim that they have discovered Noah’s Ark. Their unwillingness to report their data so that it can be analyzed by scholars suggests that they are perpetuating a fraud.

Previous posts on this blog about the NAMI discovery include:

Noah’s Ark Discovery Exposed (April 27, 2010)

Responses to the Latest Noah’s Ark Claim (April 29, 2010)

Questions about Noah’s Ark Discovery (May 20, 2010)

Noah’s Ark Confession (January 8, 2011)

Noah’s Ark Confession Repudiated (January 21, 2011)

Weekend Roundup – Link to Dufrene article (May 8, 2011)

“We Sell Hope” – written for another false claim, but relevant here also (August 8, 2006)


5 thoughts on ““Noah’s Ark”: Analysis of C14 Results

  1. Todd,

    I understand what you're saying with regard to the controversy surrounding Noah's Ark which was supposedly discovered.

    But I have a broader question regarding C14. We tend to discount C14 when it's convenient for us. If C14 could answer dating questions, then it seems to me that the archaeology of the united monarchy debate would long be over. Here's my question: how much and when should we trust C14?


  2. Benj – I would not include myself in your first person plural statement, "We tend to discount C14 when it's convenient for us."

    I'm not up to speed on C14 results and the 10th century, but from what I've seen, the results are not decisive. Some point earlier and some later. The reason why archaeologists have never used C14 as the primary tool for dating is that it is too imprecise. It can be useful in combination with other evidence.

    For others reading this, Benj's question is not related to the Noah's Ark story. From another question asked to me privately, it might be helpful to clarify Snelling's point. He is not saying that the Flood occurred in 20,000 BC but rather he is explaining how changed atmospheric conditions before the Flood are responsible for skewed C14 results (thus, in his argument, 20,000 BC = ca 3,000 BC). I am not able to evaluate that theory. I don't think it would be accurate to say that Snelling is discounting C14 when it's convenient; I believe he is trying to understand the data in light of all of the evidence.

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