Ronald Eldon Wyatt (2 June 1933 – August 4, 1999) was an adventurer noted for advocating the Durupınar site as the site of Noah’s Ark, along with almost 100 other alleged Bible-related discoveries. He has been dismissed by scientists, historians, biblical scholars, and other creationists but his work continues to have a following.
By the time of his death in 1999, Wyatt claimed to have discovered several sites and artifacts related to the Bible and Biblical archaeology. These included:
- Noah’s Ark (the Durupınar site, located approximately 29 kilometres (18 mi) south of Mount Ararat)
- Anchor stones (or drogue stones) used by Noah on the Ark
- The post-flood house, grave markers and tombs of Noah and his wife
- The location of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other Cities of the Plain: Zoar, Zeboim and Admah
Sulfur/brimstone balls from the ashen remains of Sodom and Gomorrah
- The area of Djoser’s pyramid complex believed to be the remains of Joseph’s grain distribution bins used during the seven-year famine
- The Tower of Babel site (in southern Turkey)
- How the Egyptians may have built the pyramids
- The site of the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea (located in the Gulf of Aqaba)
- Chariot wheels and other relics of the army of Pharaoh at the bottom of the Red Sea
- The site of the biblical Mount Sinai (in Saudi Arabia at Jabal al-Lawz)
- A chamber at the end of a maze of tunnels under Jerusalem containing artifacts from Solomon’s Temple, including the Ark of the Covenant
- The site of the Crucifixion of Jesus
- Christ’s blood in an “earthquake crack” beneath the crucifixion site, the DNA of which, according to Wyatt, contained only 24 chromosomes, one from his mother and the other from God, rather than 46
- Burial pots off the coast of Ashkelon
Wyatt was not considered credible by professional archaeologists and biblical scholars. The Garden Tomb Association of Jerusalem state in a letter they issue to visitors on request:
The Council of the Garden Tomb Association (London) totally refute the claim of Wyatt to have discovered the original Ark of the Covenant or any other biblical artifacts within the boundaries of the area known as the Garden Tomb Jerusalem. Though Wyatt was allowed to dig within this privately owned garden on a number of occasions (the last occasion being the summer of 1991) staff members of the Association observed his progress and entered his excavated shaft. As far as we are aware nothing was ever discovered to support his claims nor have we seen any evidence of biblical artifacts or temple treasures.
Archaeologist Joe Zias of Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has stated that “Ron Wyatt is neither an archaeologist nor has he ever carried out a legally licensed excavation in Israel or Jerusalem. In order to excavate one must have at least a BA in archaeology which he does not possess despite his claims to the contrary. … [His claims] fall into the category of trash which one finds in tabloids such as the National Enquirer, Sun etc.”
Wyatt’s official organization, Wyatt Archaeological Research (WAR), claims that the IAA have always been aware of the excavations and issued “verbal permits” for most of them and official permits to all WAR excavations since 2002. Nevertheless, the only evidence of WAR involvement in a legitimate excavation sanctioned by the IAA relates to WAR part-funding of a 2005 dig.
Evangelicals have also been critical of Wyatt’s claims: Answers in Genesis called Wyatt’s claims “fraudulent”, and David Merling, a Seventh-day Adventist professor of archaeology addressed the issues of Wyatt’s Noah’s Ark and anchor stones with the following:
While the Durupinar site is about the right length for Noah’s ark, [it is] … too wide to be Noah’s ark. Wyatt has claimed that the “boat-shapedness” of this formation can only be explained by its being Noah’s ark, but both Shea and Morris have offered other plausible explanations. Likewise, Wyatt has argued that the standing stones he has found are anchors, while Terian is aware of similar stones outside the Durupinar site area that were pagan cultic stones later converted by Christians for Christian purposes.