According to newly translated instructions inscribed in ancient Babylonian on a clay tablet telling the story of the ark, the vessel that saved one virtuous man, his family and the animals from god's watery wrath was not the pointy-prowed craft of popular imagination but rather a giant circular reed raft.
The now battered tablet, aged about 3,700 years, was found somewhere in the Middle East by Leonard Simmons, a largely self-educated Londoner who indulged his passion for history while serving in the RAF from 1945 to 1948.
The relic was passed to his son Douglas, who took it to one of the few people in the world who could read it as easily as the back of a cornflakes box; he gave it to Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, who translated its 60 lines of neat cuneiform script.
There are dozens of ancient tablets that have been found which describe the flood story but Finkel says this one is the first to describe the vessel's shape.
Read it all here.
This is credible only for those who believe (against the evidence) that Noah lived in the region of Babylonia. Noah's flood took place in the area of Lake Chad in Africa. He was a ruler-priest at a time when the great rivers were much wider and floods were common. There are common features to these flood stories since the peoples who lived from west central Africa to the Indus River Valley were all Afro-Asiatics. Flood stories were widely circulated among the ancient Afro-Asiatics whose chiefs controlled the major water systems. Therefore, we should not be surprised to find various stories of the time of flooding: some from the eastern Afro-Asiatics and others from the western Afro-Asiatics. The Western flood tradition is the one most consistently ignored.
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