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The story of Noah, iconic in the Book of Genesis, and as a consequence a central motif in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, invites the greatest attention. Since the Victorian-period discoveries of George Smith it has been understood that the Hebrew account derives, in its turn, from that in Babylonian cuneiform, much older and surely the original that launched the story on its journey.

People have long been concerned with the question of whether there really was a flood , and been on the lookout for evidence to support the story, and I imagine all Mesopotamian archaeologists have kept the Flood at the back of their mind. In the years and important discoveries were made on sites in Iraq that were taken to be evidence of the biblical Flood itself. At Ur, excavation beneath the Royal Cemetery disclosed more than 10ft of empty mud, below which earlier settlement material came to light.

A similar discovery was made at the site of Kish in southern Iraq. To both teams it seemed inescapable that here was evidence of the biblical Flood itself. In more recent times scholars have turned to geological rather than archaeological investigation, pursuing data about earthquakes, tidal waves or melting glaciers in the hunt for the Flood at a dizzying pace. Another big Flood question is where did the Ark end up?

But what, we have to ask, is Ararat? There is more than one candidate mountain. Rival set-ups allowed for vigorous local trade in Ark mementoes. The tablet was written during the Old Babylonian period, broadly —BC. The document was not dated by the scribe, but from the shape and appearance of the tablet itself, the character and composition of the cuneiform and the grammatical forms and usages, we can be sure that this is the period in which it was written. It was composed in Semitic Babylonian Akkadian in a literary style.

The hand is neat and that of a fully trained cuneiform scribe. The text has been written out very ably without error and for a specific purpose; it is certainly not a school practice tablet from a beginner, or anything of that kind. It measures The front or obverse is in fine condition and virtually everything can be read.

The back or reverse is damaged in the middle of most lines, with the result that not everything there can be read now, although much of substantial importance can be deciphered; some parts are simply missing altogether and other parts are very badly worn. Confronting the fact comes, initially, as a shock.

The tenacity of the conventional Western vision of the Ark is remarkable, and remains, at least to me, inexplicable, for where did it come from in the first place? Indeed, the key words in the description of the Ark are used nowhere else in the Bible, and no one knows what language they are written in. As I stared into space with the tablet precariously poised over the desk, the idea of a round ark began to make sense.

A truly round boat would be a coracle, and they certainly had coracles in ancient Mesopotamia; a coracle is exceptionally buoyant and would never sink, and if it happened to be difficult to steer or stop from going around and round that would not matter, because all it had to do was keep its contents safe and dry until the waters receded. They belong, like dugout canoes and rafts, to the most practical stratum of invention: natural resources giving rise to simple solutions that can hardly be improved upon.

The reed coracle is effectively a large basket, sealed with bitumen to prevent waterlogging. Its construction is somehow natural to riverine communities; coracles from India and Iraq, Tibet and Wales are close cousins. These traditional craft remained in use, unchanged, on the rivers of Mesopotamia into the first half of the last century. Before the arrival of the Ark Tablet, hard facts for the boatbuilder were sparse.

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We have had to wait until now for the statistics of shape, size and dimensions, as well as everything to do with the matter of waterproofing. The information that has now become available could be turned into a printed set of specifications sufficient for any would-be ark-builder today. The simplest way to do this would have been with a peg and a long string. The walls, at about 20ft, would effectively inhibit an upright male giraffe from looking over at us. This rope was made of palm fibre, and vast quantities of it were going to be needed. Coiling the rope and weaving between the rows eventually produces a giant round floppy basket, which is then stiffened with a set of J-shaped wooden ribs.

These stanchions could be placed in diverse arrangements; set flat on the interlocked square ends of the ribs, they would facilitate subdivision of the lower floor space into suitable areas for bulky or fatally incompatible animals. The next stage is crucial: the application of bitumen for waterproofing, inside and out, a job to be taken very seriously considering the load and the likely weather conditions. Some of the They've settled on the size of their ark, about 40 feet in diameter, just a fifth the size of the ark described in the tablet.

But at 40 feet, it will weigh 35 tons, right at the limit of what they believe the materials and the ancient techniques will stand. Once the ark is in the water, the bottom will flex, straining the frame, possibly causing it to break. The bigger the ark, the bigger the pressure. This, we're pushing beyond that. It's actually eight times as big as the six-meter one. So we're increasing the forces we have to contend with, exponentially.

The Ark tablet states that the flood vessel has 30 ribs. They lock these ribs in a latticework. Tensioned bands will hold the tops of the ribs together. The deck layer will add further rigidity. And a forest of stanchions will prevent the bottom from collapsing upwards. Who knows? There will be no metal, modern sealant or adhesive. As instructed by the tablet, the team also begins to bind reeds into tightly packed lengths of rope. They'll need a mile and a half to cover the entire hull.

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The idea is that you gradually create a gigantic basket, basically made of grass. The tablet calls for natural bitumen, which doesn't exist in India but is found, oozing out of the ground, in Iraq. Natural bitumen has unique impurities, which make it adhesive and resistant to heat. Alessandro, the team's expert in ancient boat technology, needs to re-create these properties, starting with refined, industrial bitumen. He adds animal fat and fish oil to make it sticky, and lime powder made from burnt lake shells, to give it heat tolerance.

Getting the balance of these ingredients right is critical. If you put too much fish oil or animal fat it will, it will stick easily, but it will melt under the sun, basically. Then, they'll face the greatest challenge of all: getting the ark into the lake. A boat usually has a keel that can support it as it slides into the water. A round boat has no keel.

And this one will be covered in a fragile layer of bitumen. The bitumen layer is extremely delicate. It's very soft. And you don't want it damaged, because it's the only, basically, layer that keeps your boat waterproof. Without the bitumen, the boat won't float. The Ark tablet doesn't say. The hero, Atra Hasis simply waits for the flood. Unless there was a flood, it would have been incredibly difficult to launch. But at some point, those floods become mythologized into a single great deluge, and real coracles are turned into a single giant ark of legend.

And somehow, that legend of the round ark becomes the familiar boat shape in the story of Noah. How does such a transition occur? The answer lies in a great innovation of the ancient world: cuneiform writing. Around B. And from that moment, they are fixed rigidly, so, you have an established text, which all the scribes copy. Irving Finkel believes one of these errors changes the shape of the ark. The Ark tablet, dated around B.

But here, scribes omit the mention of the circle. What would happen if that were put in the water? It would sink, wouldn't it? Especially if it was full of animals. It's absolutely hopeless! It sets off on a literary journey, changing with new interpretations. You have the possibility of an error being consolidated, copied and recopied, until nobody thinks about it anymore and just take it for granted.

And that is surely what happened with the shape of the ark. Almost 2, years after the first Babylonian version, the flood story is found outside Mesopotamia, in the Hebrew Bible. The question is when, how and why?

NARRATOR : It's long been assumed that trade and cultural exchange bring the Babylonian story to ancient Israel, but this doesn't explain why Biblical writers adopt the tale, and give it a moral twist. In the Mesopotamian myth, pagan gods are disturbed by human noise and use the flood to reduce their numbers, but in the Book of Genesis, the flood is a disaster that God uses to punish people for their sins. But many experts believe there is one, in particular, which provides an explanation for the story of Noah: the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in B.

DAVID ILAN Hebrew Union College : If somebody is not paying their taxes, not paying tribute as they're supposed to, you have to make an example of them, so you need to come in and show what your powers are capable of enforcing. They had fields that needed to be cultivated and craftsmen that needed to be imported, to make their tremendous buildings and other things that they did. So, you imported manpower to do those kinds of things.

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I think, for a lot of people, there probably was a sense that this is the end of the world as we know it. One of the greatest collections of Babylonian relics in the world is found here, at the Pergamon Museum, in Berlin. It includes a reconstruction of the entrance to Babylon. The newly arrived Judeans would have walked through this gate. On the other side was a world they could scarcely have imagined. In the 6th century B. But what was the Judean experience?

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Cornelia Wunsch is an Expert in Neo-Babylonian culture. She has evidence suggesting exile in Babylon wasn't as bad as the Judeans might have feared. Judea made it after one or two generations. They were well-ensconced into the Babylonian economies. They did well.

Arricam is clearly showing himself as a person of Judean descent, but on the other hand a typical Babylonian businessman.

ftp.mail.ruk-com.in.th/la-primera-repblica-episodios-nacionales.php This was the case for Judean scribes, who were editing traditional stories and prayers and writing new ones that would ultimately become the Hebrew Bible. And one of the most significant aspects of this event was the formation of the Bible. It began in Babylon. In the Book of Genesis, it becomes the ultimate symbol of human folly, the Tower of Babel.

For Irving Finkel, this borrowing is just one of many. In collaboration with the Archaeological Institute, in Berlin, he examines extraordinary evidence that links some elements of Babylonian literature with the beginnings of the Hebrew Bible. One is the story of King Sargon, who was cast adrift by his mother, in a round basket, to save him from being discovered. Now, this is a story that has a certain familiar ring about it, from the Book of Exodus point of view, because Moses was given the same kind of origin. But the most amazing piece of evidence is written on a Babylonian school tablet, a re-telling of Gilgamesh, the epic poem that contains the flood story.

It tells us that you have, at this time, at Babylonia, schoolrooms where the Gilgamesh story, undoubtedly including the flood story, was on the curriculum. A detail in the Bible's Book of Daniel, suggests they did. According to the story, Daniel was the son of an exiled Judean nobleman.

The Bible, however, says that a flood covered the whole earth see Genesis This means we should find places where the water drained. The Grand Canyon is one of those places. The other believes it formed quickly, with a lot of water and a little time. Noah and his sons collect two of every animal and herd them onto the ark to save them from the flood Image: Getty.