Perhaps the earliest version of the Noah’s Ark story/myth/history doesn’t describe a ship at all – but rather an underground shelter, as protection from a heavy winter?
(Ancient Zoroastrianism text) Avesta:
And Yima did as Ahura Mazda wished; he crushed the earth with a stamp of his heel, he kneaded it with his hands, as the potter does when kneading the potter’s clay.
And Yima made a Vara [enclosure], long as a riding-ground on every side of the square. There he brought the seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, of dogs, of birds, and of red blazing fires. He made a Vara, long as a riding-ground on every side of the square, to be an abode for men; a Vara, long as a riding-ground on every side of the square, for oxen and sheep.
…All those seeds he brought, two of every kind, to be kept inexhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in the Vara.
…It is generally accepted that the vara (meaning enclosure) as told in Avesta was underground. The two keys are “those that live in the bosom of the dale shall take shelter in underground abodes“, and “ a window self-shining within“, meaning it had lighting.
From the Daily Mail (follow the link for a video as well):
Acclaimed underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard (who found the Titanic wreck) claims his team of researchers have uncovered evidence that suggests The Great Flood described in the Bible was actually based on real events.
Mr Ballard told how he investigated a controversial theory proposed by two scientists from Columbia University that there was a massive flood in the Black Sea region.
…His research follows a 1997 study by William Ryan and Walter Pitman who, drawing on archaeological and anthropological evidence, claimed that ‘ten cubic miles of water poured through each day’, and that the deluge continued for at least 300 days.
…According to their study, the force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away everything in its path. It also transformed the Black Sea from an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland into a saltwater inlet.The researchers, whose findings have been backed up by carbon dating and sonar imaging, claimed that the story of Noah’s flood had its origin in this cataclysmic event.
The news is that Ballard has found supporting evidence:
The team found an ancient shoreline which Mr Ballard believes is proof such an event did take place.
He believes that, by using carbon dating shells found along the shoreline four hundred feet below the surface, it took place around 5,000 BC.
Ballard does not believe that he will ever find Noah’s Ark.