It is with some sense of irony that Arch Bonnema says he doesn’t claim to have found Noah’s Ark.
He said 16 pieces of what he thinks is the fabled ark were sent to five scientific laboratories for examination. All five confirmed them to be parts of a ship. But a ship discovered resting on a mountain top at 13,126 feet begs the question of how it got there. Bonnema said scientists admit one possibility is that it is Noah’s Ark.
Scientists also postulated another possibility is space aliens put it there. Bonnema prefers to believe it is Noah’s Ark.
For some, though, the rub is Bonnema and his other team members didn’t find it in Turkey, traditionally thought to be the ark’s resting place, but in Iran.
“For fifteen hundred years, from 600 B.C. to 900 A.D., four different maps from four different explorers called the region in Iran Mt. Ararat,” Bonnema said. “It’s only been since the 11th century A.D. that Mt. Ararat in Turkey has been called that. Marco Polo dubbed it that when natives of the area told him that’s where Noah’s Ark was.”
He said Mt. Ararat in Turkey is only one mountain. But all Biblical references to the area refer to mountains, plural. The region in Iran fills the bill, with multiple mountains, he said.
Bonnema said the U.S. State Department said he would not be able to get into Iran, but if he did to be sure to get his financial affairs in order because the likelihood of returning was not good. Instead, it turned out to be relatively easy. He accessed an Iran government Web site, filled out an application and gained entry. He said the only real trouble getting out was when his team landed back in America and had to endure three hours of grilling by customs agents and the INS.
“They just weren’t used to seeing people coming from Iran to America,” he said.
Bonnema is bringing his 16 pieces of ark and hundreds of verifying photos to Pontotoc Technology Center Friday at 7 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited. The event is being hosted by The Gospel Station 88.3 and 105.1.