Prototype For Noah’s Ark Was Round Per 4,000-Year-Old Tablet

Mesopotamian tablet at British Museum

The Mesopotamian tablet at British Museum

So might there be some truth the the biblical story of Noah, his ark and the animals entering two by two? A 4000-year-old stone tablet that’s just gone on display at the British Museum suggests exactly that. Oh, and the ark was round, per this report from AP:

It was a vast boat that saved two of each animal and a handful of humans from a catastrophic flood.

But forget all those images of a long vessel with a pointy bow – the original Noah’s Ark, new research suggests, was round.

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. 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.”

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’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 turned out, Finkel said Friday, to be “one of the most important human documents ever discovered.”…

[continues at AP]


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12 Comments on "Prototype For Noah’s Ark Was Round Per 4,000-Year-Old Tablet"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Jan 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm |

    the real mystery is
    how come wee know so little about humanity’s recent past
    wee can barely keep track of what happened a few centuries ago

  2. Jin The Ninja | Jan 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm |

    of course. the canonical bible is a redacted collection of previous semitic and mesopotamian myths. the apocrypha- particularly pre-old testament works like the book of jubilees are filled with stories that uncannily parallel babylonian myths of angels, demons and female divinity. the old testament is terrifyingly ethnocentric for a reason. it is no surprise, unless you haven’t been paying attention.

    • My first thought upon reading the title was of Enki and Enlil.

      Utnapishtim (or Utanapishtim) is a character in the epic of Gilgamesh who is tasked by Enki (Ea) to abandon his worldly possessions and create a giant ship to be called The Preserver of Life.He was also tasked with bringing his wife, family, and relatives along with the craftsmen of his village, baby animals and grains.[1] The oncoming flood would wipe out all animals and humans that were not on the ship, similar to that of the later Noah’s Ark story.

      After twelve days on the water, Utanapishtim opened the hatch of his ship to look around and saw the slopes of Mount Nisir,where he rested his ship for seven days. On the seventh day, he sent a dove out to see if the water had receded, and the dove could find nothing but water, so it returned.

      Then he sent out a swallow, and just as before, it returned, having found nothing. Finally, Utanapishtim sentout a raven, and the raven saw that the waters had receded, so it circled around, but did not return. Utanapishtim then set all the animals free, and made a sacrifice to the gods. The gods came, and because he had preserved the seed of man while remaining loyal and trusting of his gods, Utanapishtim and his wife were given immortality, as well as a place among the heavenly gods.

      Although, I remember “the ship” as being a raft made of reeds.

      • InfvoCuernos | Jan 26, 2014 at 1:04 am |

        so basicly, the authors of the bible plagerised this, added some days at sea, made it a little more farfetched, and added the meatgazing Ham at the end. I like the original version better.

        • It’s more likely that the allegory got morphed into something else through oral-tradition. Much like the game telephone played in grade school, the details shift.

          Take for example

          Written Cuneiform

          Sumerian myths were passed down through the oral tradition until the invention of writing. Early Sumerian cuneiform was used primarily as a record-keeping tool; it was not until the late early dynastic period that religious writings first became prevalent as temple praise hymns[1] and as a form of “incantation” called the nam-šub (prefix + “to cast”).[2]

  3. InfvoCuernos | Jan 25, 2014 at 3:43 pm |

    I’ll wait for the movie. I’m eager to see how Russel Crowe can play a badass Noah, also if they’re going to show him getting wasted and humping his daughters.

    • Cortacespedes | Jan 25, 2014 at 7:12 pm |

      You’re thinking of Lot, but it’s funny anyway. Noah got drunk and his son, Ham, saw him nekkid. There’s a bit of a dispute over what happened, but apparently, Canaan was cursed over it.

      Sins of the fathers and all that.

      • InfvoCuernos | Jan 25, 2014 at 7:42 pm |

        Now you’re going to make get out my bible and read that damn thing.

      • InfvoCuernos | Jan 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm |

        I stand corrected, but what the fuck was that all about with Ham? What kind of weird shit was that? Cursing a whole nation because your son saw you nekkid?!?! Everytime I look into that book, I am astounded that people have followed it for thousands of years. Shit makes no sense.

  4. The Ark story goes back to the Vedic Civilization as does the circular
    nature of the Ark.

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