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Prehistoric Near East

Great Flood Clue Found

Edited from BBC News, 13 September 2000. Updated 9 May 2017

Scientists in the year 2000 uncovered ancient ruins under the Black Sea which indicated that people lived in the area prior to the onset of a cataclysmic flood.

Over the years, many scholars and scientists have linked this seven thousand year-old event, thought to have been caused by waters bursting through from the Mediterranean Sea, to the Biblical story of Noah.

The American team of explorers behind this latest research said at the time that this 'major' find off the Turkish coast could see history being rewritten and debate revived over the biblical Noah's ark. The team was sponsored by National Geographic. During its mission it found a rectangular structure, possibly a building, with wooden beam, branches, and stone tools lying ninety metres under the sea, off the coast of Sinop.

It became clear that a vast amount of 'lost' human structures were now under water and a vast amount of people were once living here. The possible building was dated to the Neolithic Bronze Age at around 5000 BC, and was described as the 'Pompeii of landscapes' by the team's chief archaeologist, Fredrik Hiebert.

Noah's Ark theories

Scientists believe that the Black Sea was previously a smaller freshwater lake which was flooded by the Mediterranean Sea around 7,000 years ago, when European glaciers melted, raising sea levels worldwide. In 1997, two geologists from Columbia University published a book which argued that Noah's Flood took place around the Black Sea, and not in the Near East.

Team leader, Dr Ballard, pointed out that it was too early to make a link between the Black Sea's flood and the Biblical story of Noah. Many ancient Near Eastern cultures also have legends of a great flood, most notably the Sumerians, from where the Bible's flood story originates. That flood can be linked to flood-related deposits which were laid down between 2900-2750 BC, around two thousand years after the Black Sea flood event. So Noah's Ark was clearly not related to the Black Sea event.

The team left the relics untouched and captured sonar pictures taken by a mobile machine called Argus. Dr Ballard stated that the wood in the structure had been preserved to an unusual degree because of the Black Sea's deep, oxygen-free waters.

The team hoped to carry out precise mapping and photo documentation as well as recovering human remains for DNA studies so that they could learn more about the ancestry of the people involved.



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