Biblical archeologists face a major challenge – a book that so many believe to be a historical record has few bona fide artifacts to back it up. While city walls, gates and buildings are interesting, and coins, etchings and pottery fragments are tantalizing, true believers want true historical artifacts. That list includes THE Holy Grail and many minor grails – two of which popped up in the news recently … Noah’s Ark and Mount Sinai. Have archeologists discovered the genuine grails or just more mirages?
"But what if these scholars have actually been looking in the wrong spot? Move over into the Arabian peninsula and you find incredibly compelling evidence matching the Biblical account."
The Doubting Thomas Research Foundation, a non-profit research group, is conducting both of these searches and president Ryan Mauro told The Sun that the mount named Sinai on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is not the biblical one where Moses was said to get the commandments, which is why no one has found any evidence to support the claim. His group is pushing for Jabal Maqla, a peak within the Jabal al-Lawz mountain range in the northwestern province of Saudi Arabia, as the real Mount Sinai. However, the evidence presented is more circumstantial than physical. He points to the blackened peaks of Jaal Maqla as the result of the biblical story of God descending on Mount Sinai in fire – a claim which can’t be physically verified. He then gives other circumstantial evidence to support the claim – a split rock that ‘could’ be the rock Moses made to gush water; stones that ‘could’ be altars; petroglyphs that ‘could’ depict people worshiping calves. Unfortunately, none of are a physical grail for Mount Sinai.
"This is not what you would expect to see if this site is just a solid block of rock or an accumulation of random debris from a mudflow. But these results are what you would expect to see if this is a man-made boat matching the Biblical requirements of Noah’s Ark.”
Mauro tells The Sun of the results of the organization’s Noah’s Ark Scan which scanned a boat-shaped rock discovered in 1959 by Turkish army captain Ilhan Durupinar on Mount Tendürek in Turkey. Non-biblical archeologists and geologists have dismissed it as a boat-shaped rock, but Mauro claims new surveys using ground-penetrating radar found "parallel line and right angles below the surface" which are "something you would not expect to see in a natural, geologic formation." This combined with the claim that the rock matches the ark dimensions given in the Hebrew bible story are the main ‘evidence’ presented. Is that enough to raise the funds to crack open the ark-rock and prove or disprove the theory? That remains to be seen.
This is not to discount the efforts of biblical archeologists but to point out that physical evidence is the cornerstone of science and these claims are more like the archeological equivalent of pareidolia – fitting patterns to fit what you want them to be. Wood, oars, bones, a list of animal passengers, stone tablets with ten sentences on them, the head of a golden calf, any port of a golden calf … these are the kinds of things that constitute physical evidence. The public is not biased toward believers … they want to believe but they need more than circumstantial evidence.
The spot on the mantle for The Grail or any grail is still open.