‘One of the most important human documents ever discovered’
Irving Finkel, British Museum curator and author of “The Ark Before Noah,”
has found a 4,000-year-old tablet that describes the materials and measurements
for building Noah’s Ark.
Finkel writes in a museum blog post of his discovery. He was at a press conference to promote his book, when Douglas Simmonds approached him with a tablet given to him by his father. His father had picked up some artifacts from Egypt and China after the war in the late 1940s.
The tablet “turned out to be one in a million,” said Finkel. Dating from 1750 B.C., it tells the Babylonian “Story of the Flood.” The Babylonian story, and its similarities to the story recounted in the Book of Genesis, were already known, but this table “has startling new contents,” Finkel said.
He lists off some of the materials a God told the Babylonian Noah to use for his ark: “Quantities of palm-fibre rope, wooden ribs and bathfuls of hot bitumen to waterproof the finished vessel … The amount of rope prescribed, stretched out in a line, would reach from London to Edinburgh!”
The ark would have had an area of about 2.2 miles squared (3.6 kilometers squared)—about the size of one and a half football fields—with walls 20 feet high.
The aspect of the description that most stunned Finkel, however, is that the ark was round. He said: “To my knowledge, no one has ever thought of that possibility.”
Finkel told the Associated Press that the tablet is “one of the most important human documents ever discovered.”