Have Archaeologists Discovered Noah’s Ark?

No-ah they haven’t!

Russell is a Science Writer with IFLScience and has a PhD in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology

Dr. Russell Moul

Russell is a Science Writer with IFLScience and has a PhD in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology.

Science Writer

A photograph showing the geological formation of at the Durupinar site. The rock shape is nestled into the landscape and could be interpreted as being slightly "ark" shaped by liberal eyes.

The Durupinar formation is thought to be the possible resting place of Noah's Ark near Mount Ararat, but what do the archaeologists say about this?

 Image credit: alex9330/

There is a geological formation in Turkey that some believe could be the site where Noah’s legendary ark came to rest after the Biblical flood. Now, a team excavating the area thinks it has evidence that confirms the ancient vessel landed there. But before we all get excited about this potential revelation, is it as convincing as they claim? 

According to the Book of Genesis, when the flood waters that drowned all the wicked and sinful souls on Earth eventually receded, the ark – which carried Noah, his family, and pairs of animals – came to rest on top of the mountains of Ararat. 


The ark itself was said to have been 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high, which translates to around 134 x 22 x 13 meters (440 x 72 x 43 feet). There are various numerological reasons for these dimensions, but if it was real, then the ark would have been enormous. Surely then, something so monumental would have left clear archaeological evidence for its existence – right?

This is where the Durupinar formation enters the scene. The formation is located in Doğubayazıt, in the Ağrı province, Turkey, and has been regarded as the potential resting place of the Biblical boat ever since it was identified in 1956. Why? Because it has an unusual hollow that looks like it could have been made by something large and ark-shaped. 

Over the decades, various people have claimed to have found evidence that proves the diluvian vessel did indeed cause this shape. Now, a team that has been searching for the ark since 2021 believes it has unearthed even more proof.

The team, consisting of Turkish and American researchers, analyzed rock and soil samples that were believed to contain remnants of the vessel. According to their work, the soil shows signs of clay materials, marine substances, and seafood from between 5,000 and 3,000 BCE. This, argued Faruk Kaya, vice rector and a professor from Ağrı İbrahim Çeçen University, shows there was human activity in the mountains at the time when the Biblical flood is meant to have occurred. 


“It is known that the flood of Prophet Noah went back 5,000 years ago”, Kaya told the Daily Mail

'In terms of dating, it is stated that there was life in this region as well. This was revealed in the laboratory results.”

However, evidence of human activity is not equal to evidence of a cataclysmic flood or the presence of an enormous wooden boat. This alone should give pause for thought, but the whole idea that the Durupinar formation is the resting place of the ark has been proven false many times. 

Although it may look like the shape of a large vessel to those hoping for physical signs of the Bible’s reality, the formation is actually completely natural; its appearance is completely coincidental. This has been shown by archaeologists many times. Moreover, there is no geological record of a global flood event similar to the one mentioned in the Bible or other religious texts. 


To be sure, the theme of the great flood predates the Bible by a long way. It is likely it is a later version of a Mesopotamian flood story mentioned in the epic of Gilgamesh. There is some evidence that a more local flood event may have occurred around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea around 7,500 years ago, which could have inspired these stories, but even this interpretation is debatable.   

Ultimately, the search for Noah’s Ark runs into the same problems as the search for Atlantis. Both rely on seeking evidence for something that has no basis outside of specific stories. The pursuit of such evidence can blind people to confounding information while they focus solely on things that prove their beliefs. Sure, we might like to say that such things may be out there awaiting discovery, but the surrounding evidence for their existence would suggest it is extremely unlikely. 


  • tag
  • Turkey,

  • floods,

  • archaeology,

  • Bible,

  • Noah's ark,

  • biblical archaeology