14 December 2008
Submerged Neolithic villages may have inspired the flood of Noah
A deluge that swept the Land of Israel more than 7,000 years ago, submerging six Neolithic villages opposite the Carmel Mountains, may be the origin of the biblical flood of Noah, a British marine archeologist said. The new theory about the source of the great flood detailed in the Book of Genesis comes amid continuing controversy among scholars over whether the inundation of the Black Sea more than seven millennia ago was the biblical flood.
In the theory posited by British marine archeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley and published in the Bulletin of the Anglo-Israeli Archaeological Society, the drowning of the Carmel Mountains villages - which include houses, temples, graves, water wells, workshops and stone tools - is by far 'the most compelling' archeological evidence exposed to date for Noah's flood. "What's more convincing scientifically, a flood in the Black Sea, so far away from Israel and the fantasy of a supposed ark marooned on the slopes of Mount Ararat, or six submerged Neolithic villages smack-bang in the middle of the Bible Land?" Kingsley said.
Kingsley added that the site, which has been excavated by Israeli archeologist Dr. Ehud Galili over the last quarter-century, offers a 'pretty convincing cocktail of coincidences,' including submerged layers of villages in a critical location, and one that was known for its nautical revolution. But Galili rejected Kingsley's theory, saying that it could not be true. "Based on our archeological finds, the village was not abandoned due to a catastrophic event, but due to the slow rise of sea levels which occurred all over the world," he said. "The pace of the increase in the sea level was very slow, so that it would not be significant enough for people to remember it in the course of their lifetime."
Galili noted that, following the major tsunami that hit Asia, there was a scientific trend in the world to hunt for mega-disasters that happened in the past. "We did not find any proofs which indicate that a tsunami or other such catastrophe flooded the villages, even though there are proofs that a tsunami did occur in the Mediterranean Sea," he said.
The alternate theory that the inundation of the Black Sea around 5,600 BCE was the source of the biblical flood is called into question by the fact that no villages, houses, cemeteries or graves have ever been found under its waves, Kingsley said. Scholars agree the Black Sea flooded when rising world sea levels caused the Mediterranean to burst over land, turning the freshwater lake into a saltwater sea. The flood was so monstrous that it raised water levels by 155 meters and submerged up to 150,000 square kilometers of land. But scholars are divided on when the flood occurred, and how rapidly. Most believe it took place about 9,000 years ago and was gradual.
The date of the massive flooding on the Carmel Coast, which Kingsley estimates to have taken place between the sixth and fifth millennia BCE, is another unknown. "The precise timing of this localized flooding is still being worked out, but there is no doubt that the villages of the Carmel were lost not to earthquakes or tectonic movements but to killer waves," Kingsley said. The lost villages cluster opposite the Carmel Mountains in depths of 12 meters. Atlit-Yam, 10 meters south of Haifa, is the largest submerged Neolithic village in the Mediterranean Sea.
"Whether or not one can make a direct link between the biblical story and the submerged Neolithic sites is doubtful," said Prof. Shimon Gibson, an archeologist with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "But it does show that episodes of substantial flooding did occur in these parts of the world. The bottom line, is that overall evidence of [a] world submerged in flood does not exist."
Source: The Jerusalem Post (10 December 2008)