Greetings from the mountains of Ararat in eastern Turkey! Just over a week ago the leadership team for the Noahs Ark Scans project met on the Noah’s ark boat formation site and spent 4 days in the region surveying the ark site, filming videos, examining fossils and geological layers and meeting with other professors of archaeology doing work in this region. Assist. Prof. Dr. Fethi Yuksel from Istanbul University and Sait Yardimci, chairman of the Turkish Film Commission, joined us in Dogubayazit for this trip.
Last summer (2020), Zafer Onay and I were invited to a meeting with a group of Turkish scientists and officials at the Noah’s ark boat formation site. It was some of the same scientists and officials from our 2019 meeting on the site except this time we, also, met an archaeo-geophysicist / geophysical engineer from Istanbul University. We had in the group two Turkish archaeologists (one a professor of archaeology doing work in the region at Urartu archaeological sites), Assist. Prof. Dr. Fethi Yuksel, and two Ministry of Culture and Tourism officials (one from Ankara and the other the tourism manager of this province). After an initial meeting at the visitor center, five of us headed down to the boat formation for a survey of the ark site.
Dr. Yuksel did a field-walking or pedestrian survey of the ark site along with one of the other archaeologists and Zafer Onay and myself. Dr. Yuksel is a professor in the geophysical engineering department at Istanbul University and an expert in geophysical surveys (i.e. Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and Ground-penetrating Radar (GPR)). After the pedestrian survey was completed we held another meeting at the visitor center and Dr. Yuksel was tasked with writing up the project plan and budget for phase one. We finally received the project documents in October 2020. This plan is the basis for the scientific project on NoahsArkScans.com.
Last November, after we received the project documents, Zafer and I flew to Istanbul to meet with Dr. Yuksel and Sait Yardimci. We were able to go over the project budget in detail.
With winter arriving in the mountains of eastern Turkey and snow falling already in Dogubayazit I decided to stay in Istanbul over the winter after guiding some friends from California around there in early December. I met up with Dr. Yuksel and Sait Yardimci a number of times during my winter stay in Istanbul. We were able to film some promo videos and I was able to visit Dr. Yuksel at Istanbul University and get a private tour of some of the sites he has done GPR scans at on the university property.
With summer here a date was set for the whole team to come out to eastern Turkey to finalize the plans for the project on-site. With 4 days on the ground, the team was able to meet daily and see the different sites associated with the Noah’s ark research project and meet key archaeologists doing other work in the region. This year’s work is a necessary step and the most important one to reach our goal.