Biblical Archaeology Review 40:6, November/December 2014

Strata: Where Noah Landed?

Still another group is looking for Mt. Ararat, where the Bible says Noah landed after the flood. This group is looking to confirm the tradition that nearby Mt. Cudi (Judi Dagh) is really Mt. Ararat, as recorded in the Quran, Sura 11.44.

They have not uncovered much scientific evidence to date, but they do have an intriguing Assyrian relief, which may explain why a local tradition regards Mt. Cudi as Mt. Ararat.

This photo was taken some months ago on the slopes of Mt. Cudi near the Turkish village of Sah. The figure, who has not yet been identified, dates to a period earlier than Sennacherib (who ruled 705–681 B.C.); there is no accompanying inscription. He has his right hand raised in a gesture of reverence and holds a staff of office in his left hand.

Alan Millard, Emeritus Rankin Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Liverpool, offers a possible identification for the figure: Shamshi-ilu. Millard explains that since the figure is not wearing any headdress, as might be expected of an Assyrian king, it is more likely that he represents a powerful prefect, such as Shamshi-ilu, who held sway over much of Northern Syria from c. 780 to 745 B.C. Shamshi-ilu left inscriptions in his own name at Til Barsip (modern Tell Akhmar) on the Euphrates, in which he tells of his victorious campaign against places in southeastern Turkey and the kingdom of Urartu, which would have taken him into the vicinity of Judi Dagh.

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