The Site Of Noah’s Shipyard
Not knowing Noah’s precise pre-flood location makes it difficult to know the true extent of the flood. It is likely that Noah had lived in the region east of the Garden of Eden (east of Iraq). Recall that as Adam and Eve departed the garden, they settled in areas to the east. Civilization certainly existed there. In addition, Noah could have lived in Armenia, or in northern Iran. Then, after being informed of the flood event to come, Noah likely moved from his home, away from prying eyes in search of a suitably large, flat, and level site to build his ship- not a mountaintop. He would have been considered crazy by civilization and would have been the subject of ridicule and scorn. Others, thinking him vulnerable, may have murdered him and his family and stolen their belongings. The story makes it clear he had few friendly, caring neighbors. Noah’s family and relatives and Cain’s descendants were his only friendly support.
Although Noah’s shipyard location is not biblically specified, the location has been identified. This shipyard site is Zorats Karer, Armenia just north of Sisian. At this site, there are cut stones suitable for a ships foundation and in the correct quantities. Pieces of tooled obsidian have been found there as well. There is also a natural supply of pitch near there. This site, called Karahunj(Carahunj, Karahundj), was discovered with its stones organized as a memorial with human bones, dated at between 3000 and 1500 BC, buried at its center (please see Figure 3d). Although the information used to establish the age of the human bones is not readily available, Noah’s immediate descendants are likely buried there. At least the family of one of Noah’s sons, possibly two, is buried there.
Consider the 1500-year age range for the few remains found at Zorats Karer=Karahunj=Noah’s shipyard. That age range is consistent with the biblical longevity of Noah and his immediate descendants. If the site were used as a cemetery for modern humans with modern longevity, one would expect many thousands of remains to be there all within a couple hundred years- not a few remains spread over 1500 years. Surely, the site was not rediscovered and reused as a burial site every few hundred years.
Figure 3d. A monument of many stones (on the right and contrasted by snow) at Zorats Karer (called Karahunj) near Sisian Armenia. This is the likely site of Noah’s shipyard with disarrayed foundation stones later arranged to mark the burial of Noah’s descendants. There are some 223 cut stones at the site- 84 with chamfered rope holes in them. This image was provided by GeoEye.
The memorial at the Karahunj site is arranged in a peculiar shape using available stones cut for a purpose other than a memorial. The purpose, for which they were originally cut, was the foundation of a ship. The holes in the stones are rope holes and are ~5 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter with chamfered outer edges.
Opinions will certainly differ as to what the stone arrangement of Figure 3d may symbolize. After the flood, the stones could have been arranged with some astronomical alignment. In addition, the stones could be arranged to represent an egg with wings, a poor attempt at a circle, a bird, or an insect. They may be arranged to symbolize a ship floating in water. It is also possible that the stones were not arranged to symbolize anything at all. The stones were simply rough-cut for supporting a ship. Later in disarray, they were collected back together to mark the burial sight of someone special. Clearly, they had the ability to move the stones without the aid of modern equipment- how else could they be there no matter what their purpose. The “wings” appear to block off the cemetery area, the other sides of which, are blocked by hills and cliffs. There are carvings and writings there.
There are four sites of particular interest in the region; three sites have tombs; all sites have similar carvings and writings related to Noah’s flood. The fourth site is covered later.
As for the tombs, as per Dr. William H. Shea, based on markings, Zorats Karer=Karahunj=Noah’s shipyard= Figure 3d, is the location of the remains of Shem and his wife- one of Noah’s three sons. From the same source, Noah himself is buried with his wife on Mount Aragatz on the inside of Lake Qare (Qari). Japheth, another son of Noah, is buried with his wife at the site of the Tatev monastery south of Sisian. This is all based on writings in an ancient alphabetic script related to Proto-Sinaitic found at the sites; the earliest known quasi-alphabetic script also found in Egypt and in turquoise mines in the Sinai. In addition to the tomb of Shem at Zorats Karer=Noah’s shipyard, there is a second well-designated tomb but without markings. It may be the tomb of Noah’s third son Ham and Ham’s wife. If it is Ham and his wife’s tomb, this accounts for the buried remains of all human passengers on Noah’s ship.
As per Dr. Shea, there are figures carved on stones at the Tatev Monastery= Japheth’s tomb representing Noah, his sons, and all of their wives- all shown occupying a ship (see ref. 14). There are similar figures carved at the Lake Qari, Mt Aragatz site= Noah’s tomb, and then at one other location (upcoming). Ancient writing is included and the writings name the figures except for the women. Only writings have been found at Zorats Karer=Karahunj= Noah’s shipyard (that I am aware of).
Hopefully, extensive genetic studies will be conducted on the human remains buried at the Zorats Karer, Mount Aragatz, and Tatev sites. They were likely all related and may possess a sampling of the DNA of all existing humans.
The sight called Karahunj=Zorats Karer=Noah’s shipyard is considered by some to be a pagan sight. In the absence of any other explanation that may be a plausible general description of the site, but the evidence they present is inconclusive. They suggest that the horizontally bored holes in the stones may be telescope holes all pointed at the horizon yet they are tall and generally out of any sort of comfortable reach. In addition, a vertical hole cut in one stone, they suggest, might have been a periscope. The stones are said to have been ancient astronomical instruments.
With all due respect to those investigators, the idea of Karahunj being a pagan astronomical site raises many questions. Can’t it be said with certainty that any two stones lined up randomly will be in line with some star or constellation? Aren’t many of the holes in the stones actually aligned with the mountainsides and not the horizon? Why did pagans need to look through a big hole in a stone to see the horizon? Wouldn’t their view have been better if the holes were even bigger? Why not just look at the horizon without a stone in the way at all?
One should consider that a common modern telescope does not allow one to see a particular star better, nor do holes in stones. They are still just dots of light even at high magnification. If one truly wanted to achieve yearly alignment with a rising star, a flat toped stationary stone with a line on its surface is reasonable- not a large chamfered rope size hole.
Nevertheless, the stones could purposely have some astronomical alignment. When re-gathering the stones for the memorial, the gatherers may have arranged them in unison with the rising and setting Sun and stars. Yet, Noah’s immediate descendants were not pagan. The directions east and west have long been significant directions to all people; modern and ancient; pagan or otherwise.
If the memorial of stones is pointed at anything, it is pointed east to west. The mountains of Ararat are west of Karahunj. The biblical destination of Noah’s ship is west of Karahunj. West of the stones arranged as a memorial, and at about the same altitude, is another site of interest; the final location of Noah’s ship.
In addition to a full set of foundation stones found at Karahunj was one peculiar stone. This one large stone (Figure 3e) had a hollowed out bowl in its base and a hole bored vertically down into the top (the so-called periscope). This stone looks like it may have been used to hold pitch. Recall that all lumber used on the ship was to be covered with pitch. The probable process was lumber was hoisted onto the ship, fitted as required, sent back down off the ship and coated with pitch. Once coated, the lumber was returned to the ship and installed permanently. Lumber, at the pitch container, was slid across the bowl surface and treated with pitch in a sort of workstation/ assembly line fashion.
Although pitch was available near Noah’s shipyard area, having the pitch on site required a trip with containers to a site where it was available above ground. The pitch was then brought back and put in the stone bowl. As would be true for modern paint, an open rigid bowl or container was necessary for the application of the pitch. Its application to the lumber occurred at the stone bowl. This approach minimized waste, handling, contamination, and centralized the pitch coating process.
The vertical hole in the hollowed out stone may have been used to support a simple mast with rigging allowing pitch treated lumber to be hoisted up on the ship with minimal handling. The pitch container could have been moved along as each portion of the ship was completed. A heavy base was essential support for such a mast. It seems rather Stone Age, but they clearly knew how to cut and move large stones with ease and stones large and small were in common use. After construction ended, a horizontal hole connecting to the vertical hole may have been added to allow a rope to be passed through the stone. Alternatively, and also more likely, this hole may have been used for a strut helping to counterbalance deflection in the mast caused by the weight of the hoisted lumber.
To light his ship internally, Noah fitted translucent obsidian into his ship’s window and possibly the decks and upper sides. Tooled obsidian was found at the Karahunj shipyard site but does not naturally occur there. The obsidian was sealed against water leakage and allowed some sunlight throughout the ship.
Figure 3e. A multipurpose stone found at Karahunj= Noah’s shipyard. In addition to a reservoir for pitch used in the pitch coating process, this stone was used to support a mast. The mast with rigging was used to hoist lumber up the side of the ship and to the ship’s deck.