Turkish-Chinese Expedition Claim Finding Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat Was Fraudulent Hoax

CHINESE DISCOVERY REPORT I have been asked about a joint Turkish-Chinese expedition that claimed to have found Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey. They took pictures of what they alleged were inside a  structure that contained wooden beams carbon-dated to  4,800 years old.

However, a member of the expedition, Dr Randall Price,  reports:

“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,  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.”

In short, Randall was duped.


This is certainly not the first time phony claims have  been floated.

Among the best-known scams is one from 1993, when  California actor George Jammal deliberately duped CBS  Television and the filmmakers of “The Incredible  Discovery of Noah’s Ark” into believing he saw and  touched the vessel on Mount Ararat.

Jammal made the hoax as blatant as possible, making up  persons with names such as “the Armenian friend, Mr.  Allis Buls Hitian” or “my dear Polish companion Vladimir  Sobitchsky”, and cooking a piece of pine in sauce to  present it as “a piece of the Ark”.

And yet his story was presented as the real thing and  shown as the key testimony in the video; after some time,  humiliating its makers, Jammal publicly revealed the  details of his hoax. In our popular book “The Ark Conspiracy” are related other  false reports.


For example, a Frenchman, Ferdinand Navarra, climbed  Ararat three times in the 1950s. After his first expedition, he claimed to have seen an  unusual dark patch within the ice, which was a ship’s
hull. The discovery was at approximately 14,000  feet  altitude. During a third climb, on July 6, 1955, Navarra  “discovered” hand-hewn timber on the slope.


From numerous claimed sightings of the Ark during the  20th century, the belief grew that the Ark lay partly  hidden by ice on a large ledge 13,000 to 15,000 feet up  on Mount Ararat. The public was fascinated. And I was “hooked” on the  gigantic Mount Ararat as being the site.

In my scientific research I had investigated hundreds of  archaeological reports and was well aware of the  difference between anecdote and evidence. One thing had been bothering me. For more than seventy years, so many expeditions had  failed to produce any hard evidence.

Great stories were told, which captivated the listener;  but of all the rumoured sightings, none had ever been  authenticated. Photographs reportedly taken had either been lost or considered inconclusive. Then my attention was drawn to the site twelve miles  south of Mount Ararat proper – the site to which American archaeologist Ron  Wyatt kept returning.

Ron supplied a stunning piece of information – the “anchor stones”.

That got me started – reluctantly. I was keen on the  Mount Ararat site, to the rumours of a ship high up in a  canyon half buried in ice. I didn’t want to believe that  THIS thing covered in mud on a plateau to the south was the Ark.

I went out with a whole brief case full of objections to shoot down Wyatt’s claim.

What about the reports in Rene Noorbergen’s The Ark File;  in Tim La Haye and John Morris’ The Ark on Ararat and  Violet Cummings’ Has Anybody Really Seen Noah’s Ark? –  what about all these?

Painstaking research would eventually uncover the truth.  And it wasn’t pretty. Supposed documented eyewitness  accounts would evaporate. I learned that the Turkish government had meticulously  observed the activities of all who had “looked for Noah’s  Ark” over the past 50 years.

It was required that Turkish guides accompany each  expedition. These guides reported back to government  officials, who kept files on the reports. Thus the claims  of expedition members could be checked  against the facts recorded.

And can you wonder that the Turks were suspicious?  Schliemann stole priceless treasures when he dug up Troy  and others since had behaved similarly. So was it  surprising that the Turks kept tabs on every Ararat  expedition?


Information in the Turkish files showed that Navarra
first took wood up Mount Ararat, and on the next visit in
the company of witnesses “found” this wood “from the Ark”.


As for the 1916-17 Roskovitsky (Russian) discovery story,   it was an embarrassing reality that the original tale had  been a complete fabrication by one Benjamin Allen. Its  purpose: to raise funds for the Sacred History Research  expedition in the forties.

Another report was given by Georgie Hagopian, who lived  near Van about ninety miles from Ararat. Interviewed when  he was an old man, he was “led” with questions.

In truth, as a small child, he had been taken “up the  mountain” (a mountain near Van, not Ararat) and while his  uncle tended the flocks, he had sat Georgie on a big flat  rock and said, “Here’s Noah’s Ark; you sit on it.”

In imagination the child was sitting on the Ark. In the  interview many years later, the fantasy was relived.


And about that movie screened in the seventies which  showed the Ark in a valley on Mount Ararat? A gentleman named Elfred Lee PAINTED IN the boat-shape on  to a photo of Ararat. That’s right.

And what is more, a gentleman named Sallier, who prepared  a picture for the film In Search of Noah’s Ark, took a  tiny stone about an inch high, shaped it into a model of  the Ark, and placed it against some soil in a little dry  wash-out about a foot high, in Utah. The film commentary  stated: “This is in a canyon on Mount

They also placed it against some snow and photographed it  close up in such a way you couldn’t tell how big it was. Talk about doing a snow job! One man had his picture taken while he stood in the
so-called “canyon” with the mini “Ark” beside him.

Some time later, Mr Lee told Mr Wyatt that “a Mr …. gave me $500 to paint it in.”


My friend Dr. M. Salih Bayraktutan, Turkish geologist,  was reported in 1987 and 1988 as saying that “Mt. Big  Ararat is volcanic and if the Ark landed there it would  be under four to five thousand feet of lava. “Furthermore, the hydrodynamics of a cone shape volcanic  mountain would push the Ark away from it. ”

From pillow lava on Ararat (pillow lava forms under  water), it is evident that Ararat was totally submerged  during the Flood. Since the Flood waters did not reach 17,000 feet (Ararat’s present height), this mountain has been raised  higher since the Flood. Such a volcanic upheaval would in  all likelihood have  destroyed the Ark, had it been there. [BELOW: See the darker igneous lava rock under Ararat 1  & 2, mountains that only rose up on and after the sediments were deposited during the flood !]


Almost any unusual feature of the mountain is likely to  be associated with the Ark by observers from the air, the  plain or the nearby hills. One series of climbs up the Ahora trail toward Kup Lake  has revealed that what many thought may have been the Ark  was simply a large rock spur.


Of course many of the reported sightings could have been  of the other site twelve miles south of Mount Ararat. Others would have misinterpreted such sightings as having  been made on Mt. Ararat. My earlier question now demanded an answer: “Didn’t the  Bible say the Ark was on Ararat?”

I leafed through to Genesis 8:4. There it was, now, as  clear as distilled water: “And the ark rested… upon the mountains of Ararat.” Mountains, plural, indicating a  range of mountains. And that was why I turned my attention to the Ararat  mountains further south. The evidence at a site there –  well, that is definitely worth writing home about!

There’s definitely a boat there – 525 feet long (longer  than a football field), which the identical length of the  Ark as recorded in the book of Genesis, as well as the  same average beam width. But that’s only the start of where things match up.


As for the latest Chinese claim, as you can see, we hear  these reports from time to time. They always turn out to   be  something else. This latest team could have saved their breath if they  had kept up with real discovery already made about 12  miles to the south, and documented in detail by more than  35 expeditions.

The Turkish government has even turned it into an  international historical park named “Noah’s Ark  Historical Park”.


Jonathan Gray

International explorer, archaeologist and author
Jonathan Gray has traveled the world to gather data on
ancient mysteries. He has penetrated some largely
unexplored areas, including parts of the Amazon
headwaters. The author has also led expeditions to the
bottom of the sea and to remote mountain and desert
regions of the world. He lectures internationally.

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