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May-June, 1988. Number 17.

RON WYATT: ARE HIS CLAIMS BONAFIDE?

by Bill Crouse

This is a slightly revised form of the report that first appeared in 1988. Ron Wyatt [Editor's Note - this article was written prior to Ron Wyatt's death] continues to make incredible claims of significant archaeological discovery. Currently he claims to have found the blood of Christ and that DNA analysis indicates that Christ was born of a virgin. What is he going to do for an encore? In our opinion Ron is either fraudulent or delusional. There does not seem to be any middle ground. What may be even more incredible than his claims are the number of evangelical leaders and tele-evangelists that believe him! It should also be pointed out to their credit, that at least two evangelical scholars who initially believed Ron Wyatt had found Noah's Ark now know from their own investigation that this site is certainly a natural formation. These two scholars are William Shea and John Baumgardner.

The Durupinar Site 2000 by Rex Geissler
The Durupinar Site 2000 by Rex Geissler

Historical Background

In 1959 a pilot in the Turkish Air Force on a NATO mapping-mission in the mountainous terrain of eastern Turkey photographed an unusual ship-shaped object near Mt. Ararat. Later when these aerial photographs were viewed stereo-scopically by Captain Ilhan Durupinar, he noticed that the object looked even more like a ship.

But what was a ship doing in those rugged mountains? After examining the stereo photos, photogrammetry expert, Dr. Arthur Brandenberger of Ohio State, declared that the object was entirely foreign to the area, and if the object proved to be a ship someone had better explain how it got there.

Photographs of the strange formation appeared in the world press and created a sensation. Speculations abounded that it was Noah's Ark. This editor remembers well seeing the photo in LIFE MAGAZINE (9/5/60) as a teenager. At that time there were already those who were interested in mounting expeditions to search for Noah's Ark. The new discovery caught them quite unawares since most believed the Ark was actually on Mt. Ararat and not on a foothill some 15 miles away.

A group calling themselves the Archaeological Research Foundation (ARF), investigated the "ship" with the full cooperation of the Turkish government in the summer of 1960. After doing preliminary excavation and dynamiting one of the sides, they concluded that the formation was only a freak of nature, a clay upthrust in a lava field. No artifacts or petrified wood were found.

For the next 20 years the Ark search was concentrated on Mt. Ararat itself. From 1960 till 1984 nothing was heard of the "ship" formation. Attention again focused on the Durupinar site (which is what we have been calling it in this report) in the summer of '84 when Ron Wyatt convinced Col. Jim Irwin, Dr. John Morris and Marvin Steffins to take a look at the site.

Ron, who can be a very persuasive fellow, succeeded in convincing Steffins it was the Ark. Steffins immediately flew to Ankara to hold a news conference and announce the discovery. The next day the news was broadcast throughout the world.

Some Christian radio and TV stations played it up pretty big. This editor was in Denver at the time, and one radio station was reporting that the explorers had succeeded in getting inside the Ark and that wood was being flown back to the states for testing.

I was ecstatic since I had just returned from a trip to Ararat myself. Ark fever was at a high pitch. I was puzzled however, by the report that the Ark was only at the 6300 feet level. It was not until two days later that I learned that the "Ark" discovered was none other than the "phenomenon ship" written of in Violet Cummings' book (NOAH'S ARK: FACT OR FABLE, Pp 204ff.)

During the summer of 1985 there were Kurdish insurgents on Mt. Ararat preventing any teams from carrying out their exploration plans. The focus instead was on the Durupinar site.

Indeed so much interest was being generated that ABC filmed a special which was later aired on the television program "20/20". It was also highlighted on Christian Broadcasting Network newscasts.

Today, as most of our readers know, there is mounting controversy as to whether or not there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the ship-shape is Noah's Ark. It is the purpose of this issue of AR to take a careful look at what has been put forth as evidence, and to focus on Ron Wyatt's claims since he is the one who is chiefly responsible for reviving interest in this site.

It is safe to say that without Ron Wyatt's efforts there still would be no interest in the "ship" discovered in 1959 by Durupinar. With varying degrees the following men have either advocated the site as the authentic Ark of Noah, or feel that it deserves further inquiry: David Fasold, Marvin Steffins, Dr. William Shea, Rene Noorbergen, and Dr. John Baumgardner. All of them owe their initial interest in this site to Ron Wyatt.

"Who is Ron Wyatt?" is certainly a legitimate question our readers must have. We will deal with it later in the article. Now it is sufficient to say that Wyatt is a nurse anesthetist (a CRNA) from Madison, TN., who claims he has been searching for Noah's Ark for 25 years, and believes he deserves most of the credit for its discovery.

To this we would agree, if it indeed proves to be Noah's Ark!

Ron Wyatt is a person with above average intelligence. He has read all the previous accounts of Ark sightings and rejected the thesis that the Ark must be high on Mt. Ararat. To him the accounts were too contradictory and unreliable. Too many accounts were hoaxes, and after many years of searching on the mountain not a shred of evidence was uncovered.

Wyatt became convinced that the crew that investigated the ship- shape in 1960 made too hasty a conclusion. According to Wyatt, one of the scientists on that expedition agreed (Brandenburger). Therefore, without any big money behind him, Ron traveled to Turkey in 1977 with his two sons to investigate for himself the formation he believed could be Noah's Ark. This was to be the first of many trips. The experiences that he claims he had on this trip with the local criminal element could easily be made into a thriller of an adventure movie. The story is told in a self-published, 36 page booklet, authored by Wyatt and entitled NOAH'S ARK FOUND.

When Ron arrived in eastern Turkey in the Ararat area, he did not know immediately where to locate the ship-shape. Ron's procedure for finding the location of what he believed to be the Ark was to hire a cab (at night) to drive around the area on the outskirts of Dogubayazit.

He then prayed that God would stall the taxi in the areas where he was to look. Each time the cab stalled Ron jumped out of the cab and made a pile of stones (see p. 4). The next day the Wyatts located the stones and walked perpendicular to the road to see what it was God wanted him to find.

During this first trip, according to his written account, he did not actually get to the site to do any investigation. However, he did manage to turn up a good number of artifacts that he associates with Noah.

Among these are: (1) stone sea anchors that he believes were used by Noah to steer the vessel into the wind, (2) petrified timbers from the Ark that were used as memorials in an Armenian graveyard, (3) a house that Noah built, and (4) on this house stones containing inscriptions which recorded details about the Deluge, (5) a pictograph depicting eight people leaving a large wave of water with a boat perched above it, (6) and the burial place of Noah.

Wyatt says he arrived at the latter conclusion after close study, prayer, and reflection (p.9).

Ron returned to Ararat for the second time in 1979, but prior to going he prayed that an earthquake would split the Ark so he could investigate the interior. Sure enough, according to Wyatt, before he departed he heard on the news that an earthquake had struck eastern Turkey.

When he arrived there, it was split down the middle from bow to stern. When Ron peered into the crack he claimed he saw petrified timbers.

It was on this trip that Ron took his first soil samples from both inside and outside the formation for testing. He also claims he located the foundation and floor of an observation tower in the middle of the formation that the ancients built for the tourists and travelers to observe the Ark. Also, he discovered pottery fragments near the "anchor stones" he dated from the third millennium B.C. to late Byzantine (p. 29)!!

We are uncertain as to whether or not Wyatt returned to the site between '79 and '84.

The Evidence

Both Ron Wyatt and David Fasold believe the evidence is conclusive that the ship-shape is the remains of Noah's Ark. Since we do not consider ourselves expert, we cannot say definitively one way or another. We can give you our current opinion which was wrought by many hours of consultation with experts in various fields.

Our opinion is that it is very premature to call this Noah's Ark. It is highly probable that this ship-shape is a purely natural phenomenon.

Our brief evaluation of the evidence is as follows:

1. The site is within the borders of the Biblical region of Ararat. We believe this to be the case, although there is the opinion of some scholars that Ararat did not extend that far north at the time Genesis was written (See the April, 1988 issue of AR, #16, for discussion of this problem.).

2. The size of the formation conforms to the Biblical dimensions of 300 cubits by 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. The formation is approximately 530 feet long by 160 wide. Wyatt argues that this is a perfect match since Moses would have used the longer Egyptian cubit of 20.6 inches. Almost all Biblical commentators and reference works state that the cubit used by the Hebrews was approximately 18 inches. Wyatt could be right on this one, since Moses was indeed educated in Egypt. However, it should be pointed out that the Egyptians had two different standards: a royal cubit of 20.6 inches and a shorter common cubit of around 18 inches.

Assuming Wyatt is correct that the cubit was 20.6 inches, that would make the width of the Ark 86 feet. The formation, however, is close to 160 feet in width! Ron believes this discrepancy is due to a splaying (widening) effect as the Ark decayed and slide down the mountain (Ron says the Ark landed about two miles higher than its present location).

To this we would say: How could the width almost double with the length staying the same? And if the Ark had straight sides originally (as in Ron's model, see photo #2) how do we explain the almost perfectly symmetrical almond shape that we see in the early photos? (the formation does not look like a ship near as much as it did when first photographed due to rapid erosion of the soft clay over the years.)

3. Wyatt's literature repeatedly states that photogrammetry proves that the formation is a ship. The science of photogrammetry cannot prove this. This is a discipline that deals with the size and shape of objects that appear on film. For example, photogrammetry is used to calculate the size of lunar craters and the height of the moon's mountains. Photogrammetry can only tell us the size and shape of the object. When the original photographs were viewed by Durupinar they were viewed through a stereo-scope. This of course gave them a three dimensional perspective, and the object in question did indeed look like a ship. Because of its shape, the initial response was that something that symmetrical could not be a natural object.

We agree that it is unusual, but we would also assert that such configurations have been observed on the ocean bottom, on the planet Mars, and on Little Ararat (see photo #3). (Note after this report was publised Wyatt claimed this photo was doctored by the Turkish Air Force.)

Furthermore, geologists have offered credible explanations as to their probable formation: The next time you are near a swift moving mountain stream observe how the water flows around an exposed rock. Generally you will observe an almost perfect almond shape as the water passes around the rock. This object results from similar action of mud flowing around basement rock.

4. Soil samples indicate the residue of a decayed wooden vessel with sophisticated metals used for bracing. Wyatt shows lab test reports from the Galbraith Laboratories in Knoxville, TN. He interprets these as indicating that a slightly higher carbon content inside the formation indicates that it was once a wooden vessel. He also believes the metal content revealed in these tests indicates that Noah used such metals as aluminum, titanium, and iron!

Rock specimens and soil samples were also tested by geologists Clifford Burdick and John Morris on separate occasions. Thin sections of rock samples were examined with petrographic microscopes and in no case was there any hint of decayed or petrified wood.

They concluded that the elevated elemental carbon levels were due to the presence of calcium carbonate in some of the rocks. The metallic levels were consistent with the ores found in the region.

When in our office several weeks ago--at which time we extensively questioned Ron about his claims--he produced a black rock which he claimed was a ballast stone taken from the formation. According to tests, the rock was manganese dioxide. This again is a mineral fairly common to the region.

Ron suggested that there were train loads of this inside the formation, and that this was probably tailings from Noah's production of aluminum. Noah simply used the tailings for ballast!

Our question here is why would there be a need for ballast on the Ark? It seems the load on the Ark would be sufficient.

5. Both Wyatt and Fasold claim to have found metal readings at regular intervals on the formation indicating remains of metals which were used in the construction of the Ark (see photo #4). If this can be scientifically verified, then this line of evidence may be indicative of something man- made underneath the surface. The reasoning is that one would not find such regular metal readings in a purely natural setting.

However, we have the following objections and observations:

(a) At least one of the detection devices used in this survey is certainly not scientifically valid, and is forbidden in the Bible (Deut. 18:10) as a tool of divination. This device is given the high-sounding name of molecular frequency generator, but in reality is nothing more than brass welding rods used as divining rods.

Advertising for such gadgets can be seen in the back of any treasure hunting magazine. The brass welding rods are bent at 90 degrees near the ends and placed in sleeves for ease of movement. They are both connected by wires to a set of flashlight batteries which one carries in his pocket. The electrical source is supposed to make the device more sensitive!

Then an actual frequency generator (presumably from a kit purchased at any Radio Shack store) is placed nearby. If one wants to look for gold then the frequency generator is tuned to emit the inaudible frequency of gold. How this frequency generator effects the brass rods is unknown.

We consulted four qualified scientists about this gadget and they were unanimous that there were no scientific principles being employed. Two of these scientists built and tested working models.

When questioned about how the parallel lines were drawn in the formation Wyatt claimed that they were not only found by the above mentioned divining rods but also with two other kinds of metal detection machines. If this be so, then more tests are called for.

(b) We think a perfectly valid natural explanation exists for the regular metal readings. This type of volcanic rock, as it cools and contracts, typically fractures into perpendicular joint sets, based on regional stress orientation. The metal readings can then be accounted for as ground water laden with metallic minerals which over the years has been deposited in the cracks.

So, are the regular metal readings the results of the decayed ribs of a ship or from natural causes? This also needs further examination.

6. When Wyatt paid us a visit to discuss the evidence he had found, he produced a very heavy rock approximately 18 inches in length and about 12 wide. He claims it to be a piece of petrified wood from the deck of the Ark. I looked it over pretty closely, and to my untrained eye it certainly looked like petrified wood. I might even go a step further and say it looked like the wood had been hand-tooled.

My response to Ron was: "If you can prove this came from the formation you may have an Ark on your hands." Ron's reply was that there was a train load of the stuff on the site! We stick by our initial response. If that is indeed petrified wood, and if it can be proven that it came from the "ship", then we may have something.

However, Ron does not seem to understand scientific protocol. He consistently violates the procedures for verification. Right now we do not know where that rock came from. He has had it analyzed by the Galbraith laboratories and the tests indicate that it is silicate replacement.

Ron was offered the free services of Los Alamos National Laboratories who would not only test its mineral content but view a thin section under a microscope. So far, he has not availed himself of the offer.

Dr. John Baumgardner, Dr. John Morris, Dr. Clifford Burdick, and a Turkish geologist have examined the site and have not seen any evidence of petrified wood. Wyatt, however, claims there is trainload of it there. If this is the case, hopefully, Ron will produce more under the proper procedures for excavation.

7. One of the more interesting lines of evidence that Wyatt has put forth for the formation being the Ark is his alleged discovery of giant anchor stones that Noah used to steer the ship and keep it facing the wind (see photo #5). Fasold has researched this and contributed quite a bit to this argument as well as Dr. William Shea.

Ten of these stones have been found in the same general vicinity near the village of Kazan about 14 miles from the site of the "ship". Since some of these megaliths have 8 crosses carved on them it is assumed this is a reference to Noah and his family. The stones all have a hole carved on one end in which Noah supposedly secured them with ropes.

We have several reasons for disagreement with the idea that these were anchor or drogue stones used on the Ark:

a. Our impression from Scripture is that Noah had no kind of mechanism to steer the ship; he could not even close the door himself. When he and his family were inside the Ark they were at the total mercy of God, Who was providing for their safety from the flood waters.

I feel fairly certain that the design of the ship was such that it was kept from going around in endless circles as result of the wind and currents.

When I asked Wyatt why the anchor stones were found so far away from the site, his reply was that one day when Noah was looking out the window he discovered that the Ark was heading in the direction of dry land so he cut the anchor stones. But this means Noah had something to do with the destiny and direction of the Ark!

b. We feel there is a far better explanation for these giant stones. After studying these stones, it seemed obvious that the crosses carved on them were from the previous Armenian inhabitants. So, we decided to consult with Dr. Abraham Terian, of Andrews University. Dr. Terian is recognized as an authority on classical Armenian studies.

He was readily interested in this project and offered that these stones are not unique to that specific location. The crosses carved on the stones are known as Armenian "khatchkars" and they were probably carved between 301 A.D. and 406 A.D.

These dates are significant in that the former is the date the Armenian nation was converted to Christianity. The later date is when the Armenian language was first put down in written form.

Dr. Terian is fairly certain that these stones were originally pre-christian Armenian "stelae" containing pagan inscriptions. Armenian historians note that immediately after their conversion, in there zeal for Christ, they removed all remnants of paganism from such "stelae" and replaced them with crosses.

According to those who have examined these "stelae" closely there is evidence of an earlier defacement. Dr. Terian believes that this was done before 406 because after that they probably would have written something in their new alphabet.

The holes in these "stelae" was put there by the pre- christian Armenians according to Terian, and had occultic significance, possibly as the "eye of the dragon".

c. The theory that these are Armenian "stelae" is also supported by the fact that the stones are located in an ancient Armenian graveyard.

d. If these were "drogue" stones as Wyatt says, the holes were carved too near the edge of the rock and the ropes would have easily become broken off. There is also no sign of wear which one would expect if ropes had been tied through them to drag in the water for one year.

e. It has been stated that these stones are not indigenous to the area. In fact, Wyatt in one news report, said they were cut out of precambrian rock. This is false. To our knowledge these are huge chunks of basalt which are found in abundance in the area.

f. The number of crosses on these rocks number anywhere from 3 to 20. The number eight has been vastly overplayed.

8. By far the most interesting evidence thus far submitted that the formation may be an artifact is a result of readings from ground penetrating radar (see AR Oct. 1987, #11). The survey reveals an almost planar surface beneath a large portion of the site approximately 25 feet below ground level.

What this flat surface is cannot be known at this time. It could be some kind of bedrock, or it could be the remains of a deck of the Ark. It is essential that core-drilling be done, or some kind of excavation. Since the other evidence thus far given appears (from our perspective at least) to be shaky, confirmation one way or another will have to come from actual digging in the site.

9. Ron claims that he has located Summerian, Hurrian, and Urartian inscriptions which identify this formation as the Ark of Noah. Ron has yet to produce these inscriptions so far as we know. We would also like to know who has translated them.

The lines of argument have all come from Wyatt's own publications, tapes, or personal interviews. To the best of our knowledge we have represented his major points fairly. Ron believes the formation is the Ark without a doubt. He is so sure of this that he and others have contracted to make a major documentary entitled "Noah's Ark Found". In just a few weeks this will be premiered and released by a national distribution company. We have seen a 15 minute preview of this and report that it is professionally done.

We know that thousands of dollars have been spent on this project. We do not have an exact figure but we have seen a prospectus for a stock offering to fund the project for nearly three quarters of a million dollars!

The Turkish government is likewise reportedly ready to spend large sums of money developing the area as a tourist center. Already the road has been widened to the area, an observation deck built, and a sign erected marking the site as Noah's Ark.

Last winter, a group of high Turkish officials met to discuss how the site should be preserved and protected.

So, should Christians celebrate what could be the most monumental archaeological discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Again from our perspective, we think it would be very premature to do so. As we have just briefly pointed out, we have yet to see any evidence that could be put in the definitive category. In fact, the evidence that we have just outlined seems to require the conclusion that the formation is not the remains of Noah's Ark, but a purely natural formation.

See the photograph (photo #3) displayed in this issue of similar "ship-ships" in the region we feel is particularly devastating evidence to the claim.

However, we do not claim to have the last word on anything much less something of this importance. Therefore, we stand open to correction and further enlightenment. It may yet prove to be the Ark, but our advice to the Christian community is caution.

Who Is Ron Wyatt?

Evidence generally stands or falls on its own merits. Rarely is there a need to delve into the nature and character of the one making a claim. A careful evaluation of the facts is usually sufficient. Unless of course, the one making the claim calls attention to himself in such a way that makes us openly skeptical.

Would you the readers of ARARAT REPORT not question someone who not only claims to have found Noah's Ark, but also every archaeological site of interest to Christians?

Ron Waytt has made such claims. We have him saying it on tape.

Ron claims that on January 6, 1982 at 2:00 P.M. he found the Ark of the Covenant under the escarpment of Calvary.

A credible source heard him say on a Nashville television program that he held in his hands the stone tablets of the ten commandments and that they were fastened with golden hinges!

He claims he found the Ark of the Covenant under the exact spot where Jesus was crucified. He found the stone socket in which the cross of Christ was placed. When pierced by the sword, Ron believes the blood dripped down into the socket and dripped through a crack caused by the earthquake and landed on the mercy seat 60 feet down in a subterranean chamber!

He has also found the mountain that is the biblical Mt. Sinai where God dispensed the law to His people. This mountain is located in Saudi Arabia (Jabal Al Lawz), and is strangely enough, one of the legendary places for the mountain. Dr. Frank Cross of Harvard thinks it is a good candidate, but admits that there is as of now no evidence to confirm it.

Ron believes he has located the 12 altars build by Moses in Exodus 24. This strains credulity again since Moses built these in one day and the rocks were not to be handhewn. How could they possibly be recognizable today? Ron is undaunted.

He also found the spot where the ground swallowed up Korah and his followers.

Ron also knows exactly where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and has even located chariot parts from Pharaoh's army. He claims he found a chariot wheel one and a half miles out in the Gulf of Aqaba and in two hundred feet of water! Professional skin divers say this would be quite a feat to dive that far down and impossible to photograph without sophisticated lighting equipment.

Ron also claims that he found a stone monument near the site of the crossing erected by Solomon. He claims it is inscribed with the ancient Hebrew script.

Ron claims that he has solved the problem of the construction of the pyramids, and the problems in Egyptian chronology. Indeed, he has even constructed a working model of the machine he believes the Egyptians used to build the pyramids. It is indeed an interesting looking device!

Ron knows how the Shroud of Turin was forged; he has cracked the code of the Copper Scroll; in fact he has claimed to mutual acquaintances that he can read any ancient inscription.

Is Ron Wyatt the greatest archaeologist that ever lived? Or is there a better conclusion? Who is Ron Wyatt? We found this a very difficult question to answer.

Almost no one knew Ron Wyatt outside of his claim to have found Noah's Ark. Prior to 1984 his life is pretty much a mystery.

He is a man in his middle fifties. He came from a large family and spent most of his days in the Kentucky-Tennessee area.

He was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and believes currently that the beliefs of this church are the purist representation of the Church found in the Bible. He gives much credit to Seventh Day Adventist Prophetess, Ellen G. White, for help in many of his discoveries. He names her book PATRIARCHS AND PROPHETS as being particular helpful in aiding him in finding the Red Sea crossing.

For the benefit of our readers who are not acquainted with the Adventist church, Ellen G. White was one of the founders of that church and was to have experienced over 100 visions.

As we mentioned earlier, Ron is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, one of 23,000 in the U.S. Since 1984, however, he has had little time to practice his profession.

Ron has literally spent thousands of dollars, some of it his own, to make his "discoveries".

We know of one party who has donated around $30,000 to Ron's various expeditions. This gentlemen claims he was approached for more money, but the man refused unless Ron agreed to be tested by a polygraph. According to this man's testimony, the results were not positive for Ron's claims.

Ron hired the public relations firm of Jeff Roberts and Associates in Hendersonville, TN to handle his bookings for speaking engagements. This firm has produced a slick brochure and packet of materials intended for press releases. We found some of the information disturbing because it was misleading.

It lists Ron as graduating from the University of Michigan with honors in Pre-med and as having finished all the requirements for an M.A. and Ph.D. in antiquities. It also lists him as being a Korean war veteran.

We found none of the above to be true. When we called the P.R. firm about these discrepancies, they admitted that the document needed to be re-written, but they did not know who was to blame for the inaccuracies.

We did learn that Ron attended Western Michigan for a number of years as well as several other schools. So far as we know, he does not have any earned degree (which of course does not preclude him from making a discovery) and there is no record of him serving in the Korean War.

Ron is a very friendly person. We would add that he is also a very colorful person. He is the type that could sell sand to an Arab Sheik. We do not doubt his intelligence. We are uncertain of his motivation. It doesn't appear to be money. It appears to us that he really believes he has found Noah's Ark, and that he is pretty committed to following it through.

To us it seems incredible that Ron could have found and solved problems that have baffled professional archaeologists for more than a century. We think Ron missed his calling. He could be a "can't lose" writer for episodes of "Indiana Jones" movies.

As a Christian I can't think of anything that would be more exciting than to learn of the discovery of Noah's Ark. And, if Ron turns out to be right, you'd better believe we'll be among the first apologize for doubting his claims.

News and Notes

Summer Plans

Several of our readers have written requesting that we report more detail on the summer's expedition plans. We appreciate such requests and want our readers to know that we report all that we know and have permission to report. Some groups are very secretive of their plans (for security reasons, we guess) and do not wish to divulge the line of evidence that they are following. Regardless of denials there is competition among the various groups.

This summer's plans for exploration are very tentative even at this late date. In fact, we have not seen such a skeptical, pessimistic attitude among Ark explorers in quite a few years. Most of this can be attributed to last summer's events as we have reported on these pages.

The Turkish government's mostly amenable attitude toward exploration on Mt. Ararat took a negative turn last summer. The reasons for this can only be guessed at. We feel that the official government declaration that the Durupinar Site is the remains of the Ark of Noah may have a large part in the new reluctance to keep Americans off the mountain.

Kurdish insurrection may be another reason. The recent attempt to assassinate the Prime Minister has the whole nation jittery. Several Kurdish rebel groups claimed credit for the attempt.

We are aware, however, of several groups that have cautiously applied for permits and are awaiting responses from the Turkish embassy in Washington. For one, Col. Irwin has written to some high government officials to try to determine whether it would be feasible to proceed with any plans for the summer. The most recent word is that replies have not been received, and he himself does not plan to return.

The Turkish embassy in Washington reports that only one group so far has received approval for climbing on Mt. Ararat for this summer. We were not given any names, so we are unsure if this is just a climbing group or a research expedition.

Dr. John Baumgardner and a Turkish professor will again attempt to drill core samples on the Durupinar site this summer. As we write this, their permit has yet to clear all the bureaucratic hurdles which seem to multiple yearly. At the last report, John was still optimistic that they would be permitted to carry out this important research. Because of the claims already made for this site we view these experiments as crucial.

Satellite studies are also continuing. One group is attempting to raise funds for another shot of the mountain--possibly using a Russian satellite this time. This group, which wishes anonymity at this time, is interested in verifying the testimony of Ed Davis (See AR Jan.-Feb. 1988, # ) as to whether or not there is an object in the narrow canyon on the northwest side of the Ahora Gorge as indicated by Mr. Davis.

AR is aware of rumors (actually more than rumors) of some possible unauthorized attempts to get on the mountain. We will not divulge details but we will inform our readers of any results at the end of the summer.

We have also received a report of a very mysterious archaeological discovery on the north side of Mt. Ararat. Details are very scanty. It is not supposed to be the Ark, but is in some way connected to Noah. The Turkish government is supposed to be involved. We are trying to confirm details and will report them here if they have any substance.

Readers should rest assured: AR will keep them posted of developments.

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