Way back in July of 2006, I criticized the Christian fundamentalist group Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration (aka: BASE) when they announced their "finding" of the remnants of Noah's Ark in Iran (for those interested in that criticism, you can read it here). I called BS back then (and I still call BS) primarily because of the existence of two previous flood-ark stories, one Sumerian and one Greek.
Yesterday, when perusing the Internet, I came across news reports concerning the finding of yet a third flood-ark story that predates the Judeo-Christian story. This one, perhaps unsurprisingly, from the Babylonians.
Apparently, while a certain Leonard Simmons was serving with the Royal Air Force in the Middle East after World War II, he came across a Babylonian tablet that he gave to his son, who ultimately brought it to one Irving Finkel. Finkel, a British expert on Ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), then translated the tablet and came up with some startling discoveries.
The first discovery, obviously, is this Babylonian version of the Noah's Ark. The second discovery, one that the other Ark stories in question all lack, is that the Babylonian version actually describes what the Ark looked like. What's so surprising about this? Well, it appears that the Ark was a circular vessel, and that an overwhelming amount of archaeological evidence supports this likelihood.
In other words, another nail in the coffin for the BASE team.
Some Notes From the Babylonian Tale
"Noah" in the Babylonian version is named Atram-Hasis, who in the story is a Sumerian king (there's those blasted Sumerians again).
The flood is the result of various gods screwing with each other, and the god who sympathizes with the humans who are going to be killed by the flood is named Enki (strange, too, that a character named Enkidu plays heavily in the Sumerian version of the tale, The Epic of Gilgamesh... then again, as the Babylonians basically took over from the Sumerians, this probably isn't strange at all).
In the Babylonian version, the main boat-builder is left to die (he has to stay outside to seal the ark) while Atram-Hasis gets all the glory.