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New book decodes the symbols on a 4,000 year old tablet to reinterpret Noah's Ark
The Ark Before Noah by Irving Finkel. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, 2014. Photo: © Dale Cherry.
LONDON.- The Ark Before Noah is a compelling investigation of one of the most famous myths in the world - and how the re-discovery of an ancient tablet challenges our view of ancient history in a new and exciting way.

British Museum expert Irving Finkel reveals how decoding the symbols on a 4,000 year old piece of clay enables a radical new interpretation of the Noah’s Ark myth. A world authority on the period, Dr Finkel’s enthralling real-life detective story began with a most remarkable event at the British Museum – the arrival one day in 2008 of a single, modest-sized Babylonian cuneiform tablet –the palm-sized clay rectangles on which our ancestors created the first documents. It had been brought in by a member of the public and this particular tablet proved to be of quite extraordinary importance. Not only does it date from about 1850BC but it is a copy of the Babylonian Story of the Flood, a myth from ancient Mesopotamia revealing among other things, instructions for building a large boat to survive a flood. But Dr Finkel’s pioneering work didn’t stop there. Through another series of enthralling discoveries he has been able to decode the story of the Flood in ways which offer unanticipated revelations to readers of The Ark Before Noah.

Dr Irving Finkel is Assistant Keeper of the Ancient Mesopotamian (ie. Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian) script, languages and cultures Department: Middle East at the British Museum. He is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection – some 130,000 pieces – of any modern museum. This work involves reading and translating all sorts of inscriptions, sometimes working on ancient archives to identify manuscripts that belong together or even join to one another.



Today's News

January 28, 2014

The Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí acquires surrealist painting "Phantom Cart" from 1933

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New book decodes the symbols on a 4,000 year old tablet to reinterpret Noah's Ark

Works by Damien Hirst and Banksy take the lead in 'A Contemporary Edge', a new sale format at Bonhams

Save Photo discover the earliest surviving original photographs of Sir Winston Churchill

Exhibition of recent sculpture and works on paper by Rachel Whiteread opens at Gagosian Geneva

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Ambassador's treasured collection of Russian icons to grace Bonhams New York

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2013 Robert De Niro Sr. Painting Prize awarded to Catherine Murphy for achievements in painting

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