Further Signs of Big Flood Evoking Noah - NYTimes
October 1, 2001
Scholars Find Further Signs of Big Flood Evoking Noah
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Archaeologists have found evidence that appears to
support the theory that a catastrophic flood struck
the Black Sea region more than 7,000 years ago,
turning the sea saline, submerging surrounding plains
and possibly inspiring the flood legends of
Mesopotamia and the Bible.
In their first scientific report, the expedition
leaders said that a sonar survey in the sea off Sinop,
a city on the northern coast of Turkey, conducted in
the summer of 2000, revealed the first distinct traces
of the preflood shoreline, now about 500 feet
At one site, the sonar detected more than 30 stone
blocks on a gently sloping but otherwise featureless
bottom. Further investigation with remote controlled
cameras revealed pieces of wood and other objects,
The site "appeared uniquely rectangular" in the sonar
image, and the stone blocks did not appear to be part
of a natural geological formation, expedition
scientists reported in today's issue of The American
Journal of Archaeology. Analysis of core samples
yielded chemical evidence that archaeologists said
were consistent with the interpretation that the site
was once occupied by people.
"The expedition clearly has found a subaquatic
landscape with materials that belong to the period
before the inundation," said Dr. Bruce Hitchner, an
archaeologist at the University of Dayton, Ohio, and
editor of the journal, a publication of the
Archaeological Institute of America. "They have
confirmed an important element of the flood theory,
quite convincingly I think."
The expedition was led by Dr. Robert D. Ballard, an
oceanographer and president of the Institute for
Exploration in Mystic, Conn., and Dr. Fredrik T.
Hiebert, an archaeologist at the University of
Pennsylvania. The research was supported in part by
the National Geographic Society.
Among the expedition's most striking discoveries were
four Roman and Byzantine shipwrecks, several of them
surprisingly well preserved because of the
oxygen-deficient waters at the bottom of the sea.
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