Babylonian Tablet 'Confirms' Noah's Ark, With a Twist
The boat was round, says expert at the British Museum
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2014 4:45 PM CST
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Anyone seeking alternate versions of the Noah's Ark tale need look no further than Babylonian cuneiform tablets. One, discovered in 1872, pre-dated the Bible and told its own Ark story. Now a tablet has arrived at the British Museum that actually describes how to build the ark, according to Irving Finkel, who works at the museum's Middle East department. The palm-sized tablet dates back to 1900-1700BC, is written in Semitic Babylonian, and has exactly 60 lines of text, writes Finkel in the Telegraph. It also explains that the ark built by Artra-hasis—a Noah-like figure who took instructions from the god Enki—was completely round.

"Draw out the boat that you will make," Artra-hasis is told, "on a circular plan." That contradicts our usual Ark image but does makes sense, because ancient Mesopotamian round boats—called coracles—were hard to sink and hard to steer, but who needs steering during a world-wide flood? The boat was made of coiled, waterproofed rope with a base area of 38,750 square feet, about an acre in all, according to the tablet—which then reads, "and the wild animal[s of the st]ep[pe], two each, two by two." (Read about a modern-day replica of Noah's Ark.)

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Showing 3 of 217 comments
Dreezeez
Apr 8, 2014 5:42 AM CDT
Seriously Christians! The existence of pre biblical texts that the Bible is ripped off from should get you thinking. Here is a hot tip: Every Bible story has pre biblical origins including the Jeezy.
JonaD
Jan 21, 2014 9:19 AM CST
I don't believe in ANY of these myths, and if you wish to maintain, or as the case may be, regain your SANITY... you won't either. On the other hand, every new myth is a great potential reality TV show... this one too!
EdCoulter
Jan 21, 2014 6:36 AM CST
Is this ark story of Artrahasis older than the story of Utnapishtim in the epic of Gilgamesh?