Before the Legend of Noah 

Front Page     The Flood Legend Tablets     Life Along The River     Map     Conclusion 


The rivers Tigris and Euphrates flowed down from the mountains of Turkey and joined into one stream named the Shatt al Arab (Canal of the Arab) near Basrah, Iraq then emptied into the Persian Gulf.   The Shatt al Arab flow was once described as equal to the flow of the Colorado River in the US.  Rapid warming was beginning at the end of the recent Ice Age about 11,000 yrs ago.  The flow of the rivers was much greater and the sea level was lower..  A century ago the flow of rivers in Iraq was much greater than the flow today as numerous dams in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq have reduced their flow into the Persian Gulf.  In May and June the floods from the spring snow melting in the mountains reached the fertile plains of the area between the two rivers named Mesopotamia by the ancient Greeks.  Floods inundated hundreds of square miles.  J. H. Haynes of the UPA expedition to Nippur, Iraq was on his way from Nippur to Bagdad to meet Mr. Meyer, an MIT graduate architect sent to help Haynes sketch the city plan.  On May 28th,1894 Meyer joined Haynes in Bagdad.  During May the Tigris River was in high flood stage from the annual melting of the snows in the Taurus and Zagros Mtns. of  Turkey and Iran.  Mr. Haynes recorded in his journal:

"Where the Diyala {River} united its waters with the Tigris only one great sea of boundless extent could be seen from the deck of our steamer.  Thousands of acres of wheat and barley were submerged or swept away by the angry stream. Cattle and sheep in great numbers perished, and many dwellings were destroyed.  The government powder mills a little above Seleucia collapsed just before we passed them and the magazines of powder were soon swept in the mighty current against which our steamer scarce made one and a half miles (per hour) at any time, we saw people fleeing for life through rising floods, that had cut them off from dry land.  Thousands of drowned bodies of sheep and many lifeless forms of cattle and (water) buffaloes were carried away to feed the fishes of the deep sea."


The nineteenth century inhabitants near the mounds of Nippur constructed houses from the 10 -12 foot berdi reeds taken from the nearby wetlands along a canal.  Anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl visited the marsh Arabs and learned how to use this type of reed to build a boat from 60 foot long bundles of reeds tied with rope to form reed pontoons that were tied again to form a hull of a shallow vessel with a wide beam width.  A cabin was built on deck and was reinforced with pieces of wood.  The ancient Iraqis had bitumen, a heavy petroleum oil like coal tar to coat their boats with if they chose.  In the story of Genesis, Noah was supposed to have used pitch to coat his vessel.  In his book, The Tigris Expedition (1981), Heyerdahl described the evidence for ancient sea trade between the Iraqi city of Ur and the island Bahrain, Oman, Pakistan, and the West Coast of India.  According to merchants' tablets some boats may have been built to carry in excess of 20 tons of cargo.  Such a sailing route was described in tablets and confirmed by artifacts dated to before 2000 BC in the ruins of coastal cities linked to trade with far away regions. The ancient Pakistanis living in the Indus River Valley also constructed reed houses, built reed boats, and were exposed to Indian Ocean hurricanes called typhoons causing massive flood damage to villages along the Indus River.  Thor Heyerdahl and a crew of international sailors sailed in an ocean going reed vessel of ancient design with a bipod mast from the Garden of Eden Rest Home; near Basrah, Iraq to Bahrain, Oman, and Pakistan to duplicate the routes of ancients who began to travel that way as early as 2300 BC. There was trade in copper, garments, gems, wood, and food.

Reed houses near the UPA expedition at Nippur as reported by Hilprecht.  The mounds of the debris from ancient Nippur were about sixty feet above the surrounding plain and almost a mile across.   The river shifted until this location was far from water.  In the 19th century there was a canal to the vicinity allowing the expedition to float their artifacts out by boat.



  Israel Photos II Web Site                                      

                   Front Page     The Flood Legend Tablets     Life Along The River     Map     Conclusion