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In October, Ron again returned to the site, this time without me, but with Mark Yates, one of the Australians we had met who had "signed on" to work with Ron for awhile. He had come to the U.S. and stayed with us several weeks, helping us with some computer work. I still had a job and had already used my vacation. Ron took some releases for Dilaver and Hasan Ozer to sign for their appearance in the video documentary, which they did.

It was also at this time that Ron made an extremely important discovery, one that put an end to the "Armenian cult stone" theory about the anchor stones. Hasan Ozer showed him an anchor stone that had been buried in the earth, perhaps since the time of the Flood itself and which was now exposed due to erosion. On this stone were no crosses! Ron and Dr. Shea had supposed that since the crosses on the stones were Byzantine and Crusader style and since the majority of them had eight crosses, that these early Christians somehow had connected these stones to the eight survivors of the flood.

The newly exposed anchor was consistent with this conclusion; after all, they couldn't carve crosses on a buried anchor stone, could they? Ron would continue to travel to Turkey two to three times a year, sometimes accompanied by me, and sometimes not. By this time, there wasn't much left to do until the time that an excavation was possible.

At one time, in 1987, Ron had worked with Ankara in preparing an excavation plan, as well as the building of several hotels in the region. Ron had approached some people in Memphis, Tennessee who were to finance the project, and all seemed to be going along quite well. The architectural drawings for a covering for the remains were approved, and it looked like nothing could stop it; but then came a financial reversal from the money people, and everything came to a dead stop. From this time on, the prospect of getting the funding needed to excavate seemed an impossibility.

In 1990, we were contacted by a man from Australia who had become interested in the research after reading Dave Fasold's book: "The Ark of Noah." As we have always done whenever a serious researcher inquires, we sent him a package of material documenting Ron's research. He was anxious to visit the site, and we tried to arrange to meet him there in August of 1990, while we were there with Marv and Renetta Wilson. But circumstances didn't work out, and we missed him by about a week or so. He arrived just after we had left.

When we next heard from him, he was as excited as a person can get. He was convinced it was the ark. But he too felt that it needed to be excavated. He was forming an organization whose purpose was to raise funds for excavation. He asked Ron if this was alright with him, and Ron said, "Sure." Ron was not a member or a part of his organization, but it was founded based on the research Ron had done (including the part that Dave participated in).

Frustrated at being unable to excavate, Ron conceived an idea which he felt would visually show the internal structure (or at least a little of it) without damaging the structure. And in October of 1990, with our new friend, Richard Rives of Matthews, North Carolina, Ron again headed to the site to implement his idea. They purchased some shovels and had the blades bent and sharpened to form a crude "giant razor." They then began to simply smooth the side of one badly eroding section of exposed rib timbers.

Being very careful not to remove more than just a minute amount of dirt, they soon could see the color difference in the lighter rib timbers as contrasted against the darker soil. It was a very convincing sight; the whole process was videotaped so that no one could accuse him of cheating. The rib timbers were now in tiny fragments, but the fragments were still held in place by the surrounding soil.

In June of 1991, Dr. Roberts came to our home and spent some time delving into the research in earnest. Then, he joined our tour group, which arrived in Turkey on June 12th. As Ron approached the site from the south end, he spotted a rock and subsequently picked it up. The tour group witnessed this, and was astonished when Ron showed it to them. One side bore the shape of a very large head of a rivet with a washer around it.

Noah's Ark rivet

In earlier years, Ron had photographed what looked like groupings of metal fittings on the sides of the ark, but he couldn't disturb them by cleaning them off. Now, Ron felt he knew what these metal fittings looked like; he would know for sure when he had it analyzed.

Richard Rives met some people who worked at an international corporation (with a local office near his home) that had its own metallurgy laboratory. This company specializes in titanium and offered to do lab analyses for us which we were allowed to videotape. We had already had other analyses run on the rivet, which revealed the presence of a very strange mixture of elements, which included iron, aluminum, titanium and vanadium, to mention a few.

The metallurgy lab near Richard did some careful analyses on the specimen, taking samples from what appeared to be the washer around the head of the rivet, and then a sample just 1 centimeter away from the washer from the area we were theorizing would have been wood. In the final report, the chemist found it worthy to note in his report:

"It is interesting to note that location 1 (presumably fossilized timber members) was found to contain much higher carbon (1.9%) than location 2 (presumably fossilized metal."
The 4 analyses they ran showed that location 1 yielded a 1.88% and 1.97% carbon content while location 2 yielded a .14% and .13% amount. And this certainly was important!

When an object undergoes the process of fossilization, as its molecules are washed away by flowing water, molecules of objects the flowing water has flowed over prior to reaching the fossilizing object, are washed in to fill the voids left by the washed away molecules. I know that's a mouthful, but that's what occurs. Now, these new water-carrying molecules which fill in the empty holes don't play favorites. They place lots of red molecules in one place, and then very few red ones just one centimeter away. This may be noticeable over some distance, but not this close.

So if some carbon molecules were washed in and filled the voids on this rivet, it was a fairly uniform process. We could expect that carbon-14 molecules in one location would equal about the same amount that was washed into the adjacent area just a centimeter away. But to find 13 and 14 in one location, and then 1 centimeter over to find 188 and 197 tells us that a bunch of those carbon molecules in the second location were already there! This is exactly what would be expected to be found if this really was a fossilized metal washer and rivet (non-living matter) attached to a piece of fossilized wood (once living matter).

Dr. Roberts had earlier met a gentleman on an airline flight who was with a very large British corporation which was known for funding projects of major interest. In conversing with this gentleman, he had interested him in Noah's Ark. By August of 1991, he had obtained a commitment from the British firm to fund an excavation and had made all the proper contacts with the Turks through their Sydney Embassy.

He kept in constant contact with Ron as to what he was doing and said he wanted Ron to head the excavation even though Ron was not connected with his organization. To be honest, as much as we loved Dr. Roberts, neither of us believed anything would come of it all. By now even I was used to having people contact us with great ideas and promises of assistance, only to have it dissolve into thin air. And no one was more surprised when Dr. Roberts called to say, "I have the commitment if we can get the permit - let's go!"

Pretty soon, Ron, Richard Rives, Marv Wilson, and Dr. Roberts were in Ankara ready to make their proposal. I had drawn up a diagram of the proposed excavation which was designed so as not to destroy much of the ark and to also leave remaining unexcavated sections close by so that no one could say, "They just carved the ark remains out of the dirt".

On Thursday, August 29th, the men met with officials in Ankara and presented their proposal. Ron discovered that one of the men whom he had worked closely with in past years, but who had been sent to the Turkish Embassy in Egypt for awhile, was back; and he was very excited to see Ron again after such a long time. After presenting his request, Ron was told that the permit would be issued; however, it was a Muslim Holy Day and offices would be closed until Monday. They were told to return Monday to pick up the permit. I can only imagine the excitement among the group of men because by the time they returned home, the excitement they had felt that day had long been forgotten.

With 3 1/2 days to kill, they decided to head to Erzurum the next day and then a bit south, where Ron suspected the tower of Babel to be located. That's another story which I won't get into here, but suffice it to say that all present were eager to go look. They arrived in Erzurum Friday and arranged for Dilaver to get a minibus to take them south. It was nearing dark, but they decided to go on anyhow. Pretty soon, the bus came to halt and out of the woods came a swarm of men with machine guns, who quickly unloaded them off the bus.

The men were members of the PKK, an outlaw group of Kurdish rebels, known to take hostages in order to get their way. They only wanted hostages who were foreign - Americans were "prime pickins', and so were Britons, so they not only took Ron's group, they took a poor tourist from England from the bus behind them. And off they went into the brush. It was a terrible ordeal, which I won't get into here.

At home, I discovered what had happened almost immediately. They were taken about 8:00 P.M. Turkish time, which was about 12:00 noon on Friday, my time. And it's funny the sort of details you remember during crisis situations. I remember I was at a mattress company about that time purchasing a king-sized bed as a surprise for Ron when he got home.

The next day, I received a call from one of the very few people whom we had told about Ron's trip. Bob was a geologist for the State of Tennessee, and when he heard on a Christian radio broadcast about 3 Americans, an Australian and a Briton being taken hostage in eastern Turkey, he called me to see if it was Ron.

When we had talked to him earlier, we told him that the man from the British corporation might accompany them sohe thought this group sounded like Ron's. But I had known that the British gentleman hadn't gone, so my first instinct was that it wasn't Ron's group. I also didn't think they would be in eastern Turkey that soon. But at the same time, I panicked a bit. I called the State Department and I will never forget the first few words of that conversation:
"Hello, My name is Mary Nell Wyatt, and I just heard about three Americans being taken hostage in eastern Turkey. It probably isn't my husband, whose name is Ron Wyatt, but could you check on this for me, or have you heard anything?"
Those were my approximate words, but HIS words, are exact.
He replied, "Let's see,...(pause) is your husband's middle name Eldon?" At that, I went to pieces- that IS Ron's middle name!
When he asked me that, I knew it was true. I don't know what I would have done without my daughter Amanda there. She had just turned 17 but she's strong as an ox when the chips are down. I panicked for real this time, and she calmed me down. Within a short while, I remember grabbing her in our hallway and we stood and prayed. I asked the Lord to help us through this, to protect the men, and to use this for His glory.

I was suddenly calm and managed to call the other wives, Elizabeth Rives, Renetta Wilson and Margaret Roberts, and tell them what little I knew, also telling them how I had become very calm after praying for strength and guidance. They were all amazingly calm also. It was Elizabeth that I was most concerned about, as she and Richard had two precious small children not yet school age.

By the time the news had gotten out and the first news team was at our doorstep, about two hours later, Amanda and I were completely calm, so much so that Ron's friends at the hospital later teased him, saying his wife sure must not love him much because she sure didn't appear too upset on the TV!

We wives collectively discussed what our husbands would want us to do in a situation like this, and we decided to take advantage of the media coverage suddenly thrust upon us to tell about Noah's Ark. I recalled how in 1984 Ron had been falsely accused of stealing artifacts from Turkey and how that incident had served to publicize the research on the site. And what media coverage we got daily!

Oh, sometimes we were met with skepticism, which we in turn countered with facts. But one thing that each of us said in our various interviews which was not cut out, was that it was because of our faith that we were not panicked. I even had the opportunity to present the evidence for Noah's Ark in a public high school.

Renetta (living near Dallas) had many opportunities to witness of her faith as did Elizabeth who constantly amazed me at how well she was holding up. Margaret (being in Australia) was more on her own than we were, but she too exhibited incredible faith and courage through the entire ordeal.

One unpleasant part of the whole affair was coming from the usual critics. A reporter told me that he had just talked to a former associate turned critic who was claiming that Ron was dishonest and had fabricated the evidence. This man, along with others, also claimed that the whole hostage affair was staged. With that, I met my limit.

I had our police officer friend, Sargeant Mark Wynn, come over and, with him present (because I wanted a witness to what I said), I called this man at his place of business. I told him who I was and asked him a favor as a Christian. I asked him to please refrain from slandering my husband while he was missing and while I didn't even know if he was alive or dead. I acknowledged that he had a right to his opinion of Ron and I didn't mean to deny that, but as a favor, I asked him to hold off until Ron was home - for my sake.

He finally agreed to do so, but only after a lengthy conversation in which he flat out told me that Ron had "made" the deck timber himself, and several other claims which I knew as a fact were pitiful lies. I ended up actually feeling sorry for him and told him that after all was said and done, Ron would like nothing more than for all of them to be working together again. This caused a reaction from him which I still do not know how to interpret, except as sadness.

Dave Fasold was a different story. He called and was furious at what had happened. No matter if he and Ron were working independently, he was ready to go over and rescue them. He talked about going to the head of the PKK and working out a deal for their release. I'm not sure what Dave planned to do, but he eventually realized that he really couldn't do anything. However, I will always remember with gratitude his willingness.

When the whole affair was over and Ron came home, I fell apart. It was the first time I had ever seen him in a weakened state. He had lost over 20 lbs. and was limping - an injury that turned out wasn't serious. He still had the makeshift walking cane the Kurdish guerrillas had fashioned for him out of a branch. I surprised him with the new bed, but he was so used to sleeping on the cold ground that he couldn't enjoy it for a week or two. Habits are a funny thing. Richard had Elizabeth fix the same things for breakfast (tomatoes and cucumbers) that they had eaten while off in the hills.

There was a short flurry of more media attention, then all calmed down, almost back to normal. But the sad fact was that it was now too late to excavate; the season was over. And in time, the British corporation (which is a major concern) suffered financial troubles which caused it to withdraw the pledge of financial assistance. Back to square one, we picked up the pieces and got back to normal.

Dr. Roberts, on the other hand, had received a tremendous amount of publicity in Australia and began to suffer horrendous persecution from a well-known atheistic geologist - Ian Plimer. He also suffered phlebitis during the hostage ordeal and apparently is still not completely well.

In August of 1992, we took our second tour group to Noah's Ark. As we neared Dogubeyazit, there extended across the sky a beautiful rainbow, and we had the bus pull over to the side. Everyone got out and photographed and videotaped the beautiful sight. Some were saying it was a sign - and it may have been. But if so, it wasn't a sign of what we expected.

Soon after we got back on the bus and headed down the road, a group of soldiers flagged us down, all with the usual machine guns. One boarded who spoke English. After an interrogation, we were told that we couldn't go any further. The region was still unstable and a bus was too big of a target for the terrorists.

The disappointment on the faces of the people was terrible to me, as I remembered how much I wanted to see the ark back in 1988. But then, Henry Gruver led us in a prayer, and everyone there seemed at peace. It was actually turning into a real adventure. It was late in the day and we weren't even allowed to go to a hotel in Dogubeyazit. Orders were to leave the region.

We couldn't make it back to Erzurum so we headed to Agri. Once there, Dilaver took us to the best hotel he could find, which was pretty terrible. No baths in the rooms. But no one complained and instead everyone seemed to have a terrific time.

Ron met with the police there to see if arrangements could somehow be made to get the folks out to the boat, but all they said that could be done was put everyone in taxis and go there in small groups. Their reasoning was that terrorists would not suspect taxis like they would a tour bus. But with the responsibility of the group's safety in his hands, Ron decided that this was not an option. The region was becoming too dangerous to even visit the site - would it ever improve?

Meeting with Salih Bayraktutan In July of 1987, one month after the dedication ceremony, John Baumgardner, Salih Bayraktutan of Ataturk University, Tom Fenner of GSSI, and others returned to the site to do their own radar scan under the authority of the Turkish Prime Ministry. We were given a copy of that report by a third party, and to be sure that it was authentic, I took a copy of it to Turkey on that 1992 tour group, and when Ron and I met with Salih Bayraktutan, I showed it to him and asked it if was authentic. He assured me that it was. The reason this report is important is because members of that effort are stating that they were unable to get the same radar results that Ron and Dave did, in an attempt to cast doubt on the accuracy of their scans.

In this highly scientifically written document, full of technical terms and expressions, it states "All of the scans shown in Figure 7 were obtained with the radar operating at a frequency of 120 MHz in order to achieve the maximum possible penetration." What this means is that they set the radar to reflect not what may lie within the structure, but what is on the bottom. Even then, their results did not nullify the earlier scans, which were done using various frequencies in order to reflect the structure at various depths.

This official report states, "We conclude that the data from our geophysical investigations in no way conflict with the proposition that the unusual boat-shaped site near Mahser village contains the remains of Noah's Ark." It went on to state: "However, without actual samples of the subsurface materials we feel that definitive interpretations of our data are not possible. On the other hand, we believe samples obtainable through core-drilling a small number of holes in the site can provide the information required."

It must have taken a lot of nerve to write such a report, stating that their tests didn't "conflict with the idea that this was Noah's Ark" after the Turks had determined that it was. They even got to do their core drill in 1988, and when we spoke to Salih in 1992, he complained that several thousand dollars was still owed by the parties involved for the transporting of the drill rig and building a road to the site. I can write this - I heard it with my own two ears.

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This information was written by Mary Nell Wyatt. To find out more detail please visit Anchor Stones: Wyatt Archaeological Research