Category Archives: Ancient Descriptions

Was Noah’s Ark Circular?

A recently deciphered clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq these days) describes Noah’s Ark pretty much the same way as other ancient texts do.

With one mighty exception…

It describes a circular vessel known as a coracle, not the rectangular vessel of modern mythology.


The tablet records a Mesopotamian god’s instructions for building a giant vessel – two-thirds the size of a soccer field in area – made of rope, reinforced with wooden ribs and coated in bitumen. [Source]


Coracles are real vessels from that location and era (and numerous other places). Small and round, they aren’t easy to steer, but that wasn’t a problem for Noah. One difficulty for bridging the gap between ancient myth and reality is whether or not coracles could be built at such dimensions, and also be seaworthy.

The tablet is currently on display at the British Museum. A book about it and the deciphered story, The Ark Before Noah, will be released.