ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
83°
Mostly Sunny
H 91° L 72°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    83°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Sunny. H 91° L 72°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    89°
    Evening
    Mostly Sunny. H 91° L 72°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    75°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 85° L 63°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

News
Researchers claim to find instructions for Noah's Ark - and it was round!
Close

Researchers claim to find instructions for Noah's Ark - and it was round!

Researchers claim to find instructions for Noah's Ark - and it was round!
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Irving Finkel with the cuneiform clay tablet at the British Museum. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP

Researchers claim to find instructions for Noah's Ark - and it was round!

It turns out Noah's Ark may have looked a bit more like your cereal bowl than the Queen Mary.

At least according to researchers hailing what some antiquities experts are calling "one of the most important human documents ever discovered."

A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia - modern-day Iraq - reveals striking new details about the roots of the Old Testament tale of Noah.

The tablet went on display at the British Museum on Friday, and soon engineers will follow the ancient instructions to see whether the vessel could actually have sailed.

It tells a similar story, complete with detailed instructions for building a giant round vessel known as a coracle - as well as the key instruction that animals should enter "two by two."

See more irresistible headlines

It's also the subject of a new book, "The Ark Before Noah," by Irving Finkel, the museum's assistant keeper of the Middle East and the man who translated the tablet.

Finkel got hold of it a few years ago, when a man brought in a damaged tablet his father had acquired in the Middle East after World War II.

It was light brown, about the size of a mobile phone and covered in the jagged cuneiform script of the ancient Mesopotamians.

"It was really a heart-stopping moment - the discovery that the boat was to be a round boat," said Finkel, who sports a long gray beard, a ponytail and boundless enthusiasm for his subject. "That was a real surprise."

And yet, Finkel said, a round boat makes sense. Coracles were widely used as river taxis in ancient Iraq and are perfectly designed to bob along on raging floodwaters.

"It's a perfect thing," Finkel said. "It never sinks, it's light to carry."

Other experts said Finkel wasn't simply indulging in book-promotion hype. David Owen, professor of ancient Near Eastern studies at Cornell University, said the British Museum curator had made "an extraordinary discovery."

Elizabeth Stone, an expert on the antiquities of ancient Mesopotamia at New York's Stony Brook University, said it made sense that ancient Mesopotamians would depict their mythological ark as round.

"People are going to envision the boat however people envision boats where they are," she said. "Coracles are not unusual things to have had in Mesopotamia."

The tablet records a Mesopotamian god's instructions for building a giant vessel - two-thirds the size of a soccer field in area - made of rope, reinforced with wooden ribs and coated in bitumen.

Finkel said that on paper (or stone) the boat-building orders appear sound, but he doesn't yet know whether it would have floated. A television documentary due to be broadcast later this year will follow attempts to build the ark according to the ancient manual.

The flood story recurs in later Mesopotamian writings including the "Epic of Gilgamesh." These versions lack the technical instructions - cut out, Finkel believes, because they got in the way of the storytelling.

He is also aware his discovery may cause consternation among believers in the Biblical story. When 19th-century British Museum scholars first learned from cuneiform tablets that the Babylonians had a flood myth, they were disturbed by its striking similarities to the story of Noah.

He believes the tale was likely passed on to the Jews during their exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C. And he doesn't think the tablet provides evidence the ark described in the Bible existed. He said it's more likely that a devastating real flood made its way into folk memory, and has remained there ever since.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • After weeks of closed door negotiations, Senate Republicans on Thursday released their plan to overhaul the Obama health law, as GOP leaders again signaled they are ready to push ahead with a vote in the full Senate as early as next week. The 142 page bill – labeled a ‘discussion draft’ – was posted online by the GOP, as the Senate Majority Leader made clear he’s ready to move forward. “Obamacare isn’t working – by any nearly any measure it has failed,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who said action is needed now by the Congress. Democrats immediately denounced the plan. “It’s every bit as bad a the House bill,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. “In some ways, it’s worse.” “I think it’s a good proposal overall,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), trailed by a pack of reporters as he left a closed door meeting of GOP Senators where the health plan was rolled out. “It’s the first time that we’ve really looked at it as far as the details are concerned,” McCain added. Like McCain, many other GOP Senators had little to say about the details of the plan, having just seen them a few minutes earlier in their meeting. “The bill is on line for all of you to read,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who was mobbed by reporters for comment.
  • Multiple brands of hummus sold at Walmart and other stores have been recalled because of potential contamination. An announcement from the Knoxville, Tennessee, based company House of Thaller says it is recalling packages of Hummus with Pine Nut Topping “because an ingredient supplier notified us that their ingredient has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.” The announcement has been posted on the FDA website since June 19 as a public service.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of listeria infection include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever and muscle aches.  The affected products were sent to multiple grocery stories, such as Target, Kroger, Walmart, Fred Meyer and others, from April 18, 2017 to June 13, 2017. Products include Fresh Foods Market’s Artisan Hummus - Pine Nuts; Lantana brand White Bean Hummus with Pine Nut & Herb Topping; and Marketside Classic Hummus with Pine Nuts. Each product comes in clear, round plastic 10-ounce cups.  No illnesses have been reported in relation to the recall. Customers who have the products listed should not eat them and contact the House of Thaller Customer Service Center Monday through Friday at 855-215-5142. The full list of products, including photos of the affected products and expiration dates and lot codes for each, are at the FDA website.
  • A domestic argument ends in death for a woman.   Tulsa police called for homicide investigators when they arrived at a house near 8000 East 2 Street at 1:22 a.m. Thursday. 25-year old Jose Gomezbaca called police at 11:27 p.m. Wednesday to report that his wife was missing. She was located by police at another residence and returned to her home where she was shot. Officers had been to the same residence around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to investigate an argument between a man and a woman. This time the female was found deceased inside a vehicle. She had several gunshot wounds. We’re told Jose Gomezbaca had been armed with a shotgun and a handgun. He fled in a 2004 gray Dodge Ram pickup, bearing Oklahoma tag number 146 QAO. The 26-year old victim's name has not been released.
  • It’s common knowledge that when arrested for a crime, you have the right to speak to an attorney before answering questions from police. But as of November 1st, DUI suspects will not be allowed to contact an attorney before taking a breath test for alcohol, and could be charged with an additional crime if they refuse to take the test. Attorney Bruce Edge of Tulsa and other defense lawyers who handle DUI cases have filed a lawsuit to block that law from taking effect. Even as the legislature was considering Senate Bill 643 in March, Edge told KRMG he had serious concerns with the way it was written. In a statement sent to KRMG, he argued that it would: Make it a Crime to exercise your Constitutional Rights Punish drivers for even requesting a hearing Consider a person guilty until proven innocent Result in a person losing their Driver’s License even if they were found not guilty in court Result in a person losing their Driver’s License even if the court case were dismissed Result in DPS having to fire almost all of the attorneys within its agency “They’re going to shift the burden of proof in the administrative hearing to where the license holder has to prove their innocence,” Edge said. “I know it’s probably hard to believe what I’m telling you, but it’s in this (Senate) Bill 643.”  He went on to describe the scenario a defendant would face. “This implied consent will say ‘you do not have the right to speak to an attorney. If you refuse, you’ll lose your license. If you take the test and it’s over the limit, you’ll lose your license. Will you take the test?’ I think a lot of people might stand back and say ‘wait a minute, I want to talk to my lawyer, I don’t know what this is talking about, this doesn’t make sense.’ You’d be put down as a refusal, and you would be facing a separate criminal charge - not administrative, criminal charge - under this bill. I don’t think that passes constitutional muster.”  The governor signed the bill, but that same day issued an executive order which seems to contradict part of the new law. Her order would require the Department of Public Safety to allow an administrative hearing if it planned to confiscate a person's license.
  • The report does not say why the deputy was pursuing the driver and the crash is still under investigation. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says an 18-year-old man was killed when the pickup truck he was driving crashed while he was leading a law officer on a police pursuit.    An OHP report says Shane Russell of Grove died in the crash shortly before 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.    The report says Russell was driving the truck on a Delaware County road near Jay and being pursued by a county deputy when the truck went off the roadway and overturned.  A passenger was treated and released at a hospital for head and other injuries.