High-Tech Archaeology Supports Quest for Noah's Ark: Can High-Resolution Satellite Imagery Certify One of Ancient History's Most Coveted Prizes?

Porcher L. Taylor III, University of Richmond


Thanks to the CSI-like exploits of a space-based Indiana Jones, a new age of discovery through high-resolution satellite archaeology s born when GeoEye’s IKONOS satellite zoomed in on the ice cap of a remote mountain in northeastern Turkey on Oct. 5, 1999, during its calibration mission. IKONOS, the world’s first commercial imaging satellite with 1-meter resolution, was in hot pursuit of solving an enduring ancient mystery—whether an intriguing, boat-shaped “object” partially submerged under the mountain’s ice cap might be something of biblical proportions.

Indeed, Mt. Ararat is not your typical mountain. For thousands of years it has been reputed to be the resting place of Noah’s Ark. According to the book of Genesis, the Ark landed on “the mountain of Ararat” after a global deluge.