Decoding a World Navel “Visual Language” Through Ideational Cognitive Archaeology

Decoding a World Navel “Visual Language” Through Ideational Cognitive Archaeology

The views expressed in this paper are those of the writer(s) and are not necessarily those of the ARJ Editor or Answers in Genesis.


The spread (or hyper-diffusion) of all humanity from a single West-Asian location is a shared feature of the Genesis Flood account for all three Abrahamic faiths. Within the sphere of ideational cognitive archaeology, we test the predictive thesis that given a global Flood event coinciding with the beginnings of human recivilization, an enormous cultural-religious footprint or worldview relic should be discernible. Visual riddles, forming part of a transcultural solar koine (or shared royal-priestly language), have recently begun to be deciphered by secular academics. Focusing chronologically upon two themes within this solar koine—the cosmic mountain and associated solar symbology—we conclude that only a Flood koine (with a distinctive and historic world navel) can fully explain the close-knit pattern of evidence found across material cultures. The landing place of Noah's Ark is identified with the cosmic mountain. Wide-ranging implications of the koine for our interpretation of The Babylonian Map of the World, together with the search for Noah's Ark, are subsequently explored. One geographical location is recommended for further investigation based upon its exact morphological and landscape correspondence to Flood koine descriptions.


Today, the field of cognitive archaeology is divided into two major groups: evolutionary cognitive archaeology (ECA) and ideational cognitive archaeology (ICA). The former aims to understand the assumed unfolding of human cognition over deep time, the latter, the symbolic structures (or worldview) seen in, or inferable from, past material culture. In their 1994 book The Ancient Mind, cognitive archaeologists Renfrew and Zubrow demonstrated that we can identify religious or cult behavior in the archaeological record. Flannery and Marcus (1993) have further identified the study of cosmology, ideology, religion, and iconography as legitimate areas of cognitive analysis, emphasizing that all such work must be empirically grounded.

The Cretan expert Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941) believed that over many centuries, religious ideas flowed back and forth between Egypt, Anatolia, and the Aegean (in an international milieu) and that these mutual influences had resulted in a solar koine (that is, a shared sacred vocabulary or visual language). This solar koine comprised a standard set of cultural assumptions which influenced everything from religious architecture, concepts of sacred space, iconography, and social stratification. Cognitive archaeologists agree that this visual solar koine is best analyzed today through a chronological, trans-cultural and comparative approach (which is necessary for the fullest reconstruction of the ancients' belief system). If through later connections we are going to relate archaeological to documentary (that is, literary Flood tablet) evidence, then, attention must also be given to the ideas that played their part in producing that evidence (compare Appendix A, technical note 1).

Recently, Evans' interpretive structure has gained more credence. Evidence of a visual solar koine has both amassed and expanded westward to encompass Crete (Marinatos 2010; Niemeier and Deger-Jalkotzy 2006). Hence, according to Judith Weingarten (2012): “Interaction and koine are taking over . . . the pendulum has swung . . . [t]he better understood visual code of the eastern world can thus provide the key to unlock . . . symbolic secrets.” By this latter phrase, she means that the material culture of the Minoan ruling classes present us with numerous visual riddles, which can now be solved through careful transcultural comparison. A central component of this expanding visual code is the (predominantly) twin-peaked cosmic mountain conceived of as: sacred microcosmic space, temple, throne of victory, island of origin, navel of the earth, and gates of the underworld/abyssal waters (compare Anthony Van Der Sluijs 2011, 161-166; Beale 2004, 50-60; Clifford 1972, 31-32, 77-78; Eliade 1959, 12-20; Hobley 2015; Janowski 2001, 229-260; Keel 1997, 29, 113-120; Lundquist 1984; 1994, 83-117; Marinatos 2010, 103-150; Morales 2012, 146-229; Patai 1947, 54-104; Triolo 2019; Warren 1885, 122-139; Wensinck 1916, 11-13; Wyatt 2001, 147-192).1

Here, by focusing attention on the cosmic mountain with its symmetric twin peaks, we try to decode the ANE solar koine even further than has been attempted previously. The first task is to examine (and extend) the relevance of this koine into the realm of the Flood account of Genesis 6-9:20. If a specific transcultural world navel is attested throughout many past material cultures, it may well have surprising implications for the current location of Noah's Ark. This vessel has been the focus of many previous archaeological claims, none of which seem genuine (Graves 2014, 111-114; Snelling 2017, 54-62). A major aim of this study is therefore to reignite research into one location, which our pattern of empirical evidence appears to converge upon.2 It will be argued incrementally that the first icon, the cosmic mountain, represents the distinctive topography of the mountain(s) of Ararat; the second icon, the solar disc, Noah's divinely favored, victorious life-force (or Noah's Ark itself) (compare Appendix A, technical note 2). The footprint of the historic Genesis Flood is therefore ubiquitous in ancient religious systems.

First Uses of the Hypothetical Genesis Flood Icons

The symbolism of our generic ICON 1, the “Twin Peaks” of the cosmic mound, may have reached a zenith in the Bronze Age (Martinov 2014) (fig. 1). Yet earlier examples are found in different contexts throughout the wider ANE. First, in 1915, Alexander Koor, a specialist in the ancient history of Russia, discovered four Sumerian inscriptions at Karada [Kara-dagh] (a peak in the foothills of Greater Ararat). One of these signs had two peaks (fig. 2). It was translated as kura meaning mountain (Norburgen 1977, 107).3

Figure 1

Fig. 1. Icon 1—hieroglyph, djew, N26 representative of the genre.

Figure 2

Fig. 2. One of the glyphs found by Alexander Koor near Greater Ararat in 1915 (Noorbergen 1977, 107).

Figure 3

Fig. 3. Amratian, Naqada I period pottery (Piankoff and Rambova 1957, 31).

Second, a wall mural from the early Turkish settlement of Çatalhöyük (forked mound) has been interpreted as Hasan Dağı, a nearby twin-peaked volcano upon which the two mounds of Çatalhöyük may have been modelled (Schmitt et al. 2014). Again, in Turkey, the twin pillars found within Göbekli Tepe have been tentatively related to Mount Duku-the Sumerian axis mundi (that is, a line or stem through the earth's centre) (Schmidt 2012, 206-207). Crescent and sun symbols have also been found upon the neck of the eastern central pillar (no. 18) in enclosure D. Unreliable secular assumptions would date this village to 10,000 BC, yet creationist scholars concur that it represents a post-Flood settlement, which would push its date to somewhat later.

Early Egyptian parallels, however, are apposite for comparison. Thus, Piankoff and Rambova reproduce a decoration on Predynastic Amratian pottery (fig. 3). This depicts a double mountain surrounded above and below by waters, with a solar disc (our generic ICON 2) on each side of the double mountain (Piankoff and Rambova 1957, 31, fig. 11). They comment that: “The antiquity of this concept is evinced by the unmistakable design . . . of the rayed sun disk in its positions of descent and ascent placed on either side of the two joined mountains of the horizon.” This decoration is dated by Petrie to 3500 BC. That date could be reduced, suggesting it was produced shortly after the Genesis Flood, as the flood symbolism above and below the mound could indicate.

David Rohl also notes a Predynastic crescent-and-rising-sun standard (that is, an emblem mounted on a pole) associated with boat petroglyphs, found in the Egyptian Eastern Desert (Rohl 1998, 337, fig. 385). Here, the concave crescent may be equated with the twin peaks. This standard has its parallels in Sumerian standards found in archaic text, especially those Szarzyńska designates as Standard no. IV (containing U4-the rising sun god Utu), and Standard no. V, a crescent with horns turned upward (representing the moon god Nanna/Suen/Sin) (Szarzyńska 1996, 3, 12-14). Finally, Rohl adds that: “The Sumerian symbol for the sun-god, Utu (Akkadian: Shamash) is the crescent-with-sun disc . . . its cuneiform version [is] (rotated through ninety degrees anticlockwise)” (Rohl 1998, 338, fig. 387).

From these select examples we may conclude that over a wide portion of the ancient world, a twin-peaked mound associated with the sun (and possibly the moon, and water) held shared religious significance. This conclusion is founded upon many synthetic appraisals of the cosmic mountain (and merely restates what is already accepted as a major unsolved riddle of the solar koine). It is submitted that the answer to this visual riddle is the cultural hyper-diffusion (or ripple effect) of a real extant twin-peaked mountain (of symmetrical geomorphology) which Noah's Ark first grounded upon.

Old Kingdom Egyptian and Early Dynastic Mesopotamian Instances of Icons 1 and 2

The Primeval Hill or Mound:  Evidence from Early Egypt

The late Bill Cooper writes: “Concerning any distinct memories of the Great Flood amongst the Egyptians, we have to say that almost all trace of them is lost-or dimmed almost to the point of obliteration” (Cooper 2011, 214). It is instructive to note, however, that in Fifth Dynasty Heliopolis, priests of the sun god Atum-Re inscribed hieroglyphic texts on the walls of certain pyramids.4 In these “Pyramid Texts” there is reference to the emergence from a cosmic flood [called Nun] of a primeval hill (Anthes 1954, 35-39; Faulkner  1969; Reymond 1969; Saleh 1969, 110-120). There is ample Egyptian evidence to demonstrate that this primeval hill had two symmetrical peaks (See Appendix B, technical notes 1 and 2).

The significance of this Heliopolitan solar cosmogony, together with parallel creation accounts in the three other rival cult centres of Memphis (literally-White Wall), Hermopolis and Thebes, only becomes apparent when we view this mounds' emergence as a pagan reference to the recessional stage of the Genesis Flood. Genesis 8:5 records: “And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.” Later, we will offer reasons why adopting this “global flood” reading of the Egyptian “creation” myths may be more justified than a superficial approach would at first suggest.

Other Early Egyptian Evidence
Codifying a Great Flood?

The Fifth Dynasty Pyramid Texts of Heliopolis contain two other parallel motifs, explaining the pharaohs' travels after death. The Egyptians believed that human spirits (ka), upon leaving the body (and if they were righteous rather than wicked), went to join their first ancestors in the mysterious Isle of the Blessed. How did they arrive at this Isle, and could it be synonymous with the twin-peaked horizon of the solar koine? Intriguingly, Pyramid Text hieroglyphs often refer to the birthplace of the gods, far to the east, where the sun rises (Petrie 1939, 248). For instance: “I go up this eastern side of the sky where the gods were born” (PT 265). Upon death, after journeying in a (flying) ferry boat through the dark underworld (of the night sky) to the Isle of Flames (Iu-Neserser), or Island of the Horizon-dwellers, the final moment of the pharaoh's descending journey sees him transformed into Re-Harakhty (or Re, Horus of the Horizon). In this manifestation he boards the day-barque of the sun-god and is reborn upwards.

The exact transformation (or apotheosis) depended upon the cult centre depicting it. Thus, Horus of Behdet/Edfu was represented as a winged sun-disc. Yet on a First Dynasty comb [belonging to King Wadj/DJET of Abydos, dated 2980 BC] there is a depiction of a solar barque, attached to a pair of wings, floating through the sky. The significance of this allomorph (alternative form) will become clearer as we decode further riddles in later Egyptian and Akkadian eras of history. Presently, it is sufficient to note that this solar boat and the winged sun-disc are manifestly equivalent icons in Egyptian religious thought (Shaw and Nicholson 1995, 305).

The akhet, or twin-peaked mound-horizon, was closely associated with the Egyptian Ogdoad (transliteration: ḫmnw and Greek for group of eight, see Faber 1816, 50, 182, 635). The nineteenth century euhemerist Jacob Bryant identified this group of four male and four female deities as Noah and his family, and we shall support his bold supposition later with additional material evidence. For now, note that their antiquity is established in their cult centre of Hermopolis (south of modern el-Ashmunein). Part of this town was called Eight-town from as far back as the Fifth Dynasty (2500-2350 BC) or earlier (compare Appendix B, technical note 3). We will return to this fascinating group of eight ancestor gods more than once during our wide-ranging investigations.

The Global Flood Zoomorphized in Pyramid Texts as a Bovine Goddess?

If we were tapping a rich vein of thought thus far, we would predict some reference to a great Flood in Egyptian texts or art. The Egyptian waters of creation were called Nun (inert one). Old Kingdom texts zoomorphized the watery abyss of Nun as a bovine deity called Hathor5 or Mehet-Weret (mhjjt wrt translated Great Flood/Great Tide-fig. 4) (Erman and Grapow 1971, 122). Importantly, Remler (2010, 119-120) notes Great Flood's association with ICONS 1 and 2 via the horizon motif of the cosmic twin mountain:

[Great Flood] appears in the Pyramid Texts of Unas: “Unas has come to his pools which are on the banks of the canal of [Great Flood], at the place where offerings flourish, and fields on the horizon, and he has made his garden flourish on the banks of the horizon”.
Figure 4

Fig. 4. Mehet-Weret’s name “Great Flood” in hieroglyphic script.

This motif of the bovine-sky-flood-canal, ferrying the sun-god Re towards a twin-peaked horizon, is further embellished by other myths in the corpus. Paraphrasing Egyptologist Sung Hwan Yoo (2012, 126): “[sky-goddess] Nut was closely associated with [bovine deity] Mehet-Weret (mhjjt wrt) 'Great Flood,' a female counterpart of Nun. Sometimes envisioned as a cow astride the earth, Nut was . . . identified with [Great Flood] who was shown as a cow-headed woman or a cow carrying a child . . . . In this connection, [Great Flood] stands as a primeval cow goddess who gave birth to the sun-god.” This is fascinating because in ancient Mesopotamia, at least two cuneiform Flood tablets describe the violence of Noah's Flood using bovine imagery. The most ancient example, the Epic of Atra-hasīs (1650 BC), Tablet III, line 15, records the terrible noise of the waters: “The deluge bellowed like a bull” (Foster 1997). Parallel to this passage is Tablet XI of the standard edition of Gilgameš (1100 BC), line 107, which records: “[Adad] shattered the land like a raging bull, broke it into pieces like a pot” (Carnahan 1998). We may conclude that over many centuries, in both ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the destructive effects of a great flood were sometimes represented using bovine imagery.

Corresponding Evidence from Early Mesopotamia

The book of Genesis describes an omphalos (or single point of origin) after the Flood, where the Ark came to rest (compare Osgood 1986, 91-92). Of course, there can only be one true world navel. If the mountains of Ararat had a symmetric twin-peaked geomorphology, yet each ancient culture revered a totally different mound (or none at all), then our thesis would soon break down. Yet the evidence points towards a widespread symmetric twin-peaked topography, consistent with cultural hyper-diffusion of a visual solar koine depicting a historical location (see Appendix C, technical note 1).

In ancient Sumer, a mid to late third millennium BC tablet called (The) Debate between Grain and Sheep appears to record the cosmic twin-peaked mound was there called the Hill of Heaven and Earth, “the prologue harks back to the time when An spawned the Anunna gods upon the Hill of Heaven and Earth [note: Heaven = An and Earth = Ki], which is narrated as the first primeval event (lines 1-2). The second event is the creation of Grain and Sheep at the same location where the gods had been born” [lines 26-34] (Chen 2013, 89). Chiera (1924, 26-27) notes that in Mesopotamia, this hill was “not a poetical name for the earth, but the dwelling place of the gods, situated at the point where the heavens rest upon the earth.” Horowitz (1998, 316) corroborates this statement with a quotation from the Bīt rimki about the sacred ruin-hill encountered in Göbekli Tepe (called Duku(g) or Du6-kug): “Sun-god, when you rise from the Great Mountain, When you rise from the Great Mountain, the 'Mountain of the Spring,' When you rise from Duku, the place where the destinies are determined, When you rise at the place where heaven and earth embrace, at the horizon” (emphasis added). Notice that the type of gods (that is, solar deities) and the horizon motif are semantically identical to those of early Egyptian cosmogonies. This is consistent with (and feeds into) the established concept of a solar koine and a special mountain where human fates were determined (compare Appendix C, technical note 2).

In “How Grain Came to Sumer,” a fragment from the Old Babylonian period or earlier, An brings out grain, barley, and flax from the interior of heaven. But Enlil had decided to restrict their growth to the Cedar Mountain north of Sumer (Chen 2013, 90). This (aromatic) cedar mountain appears to also be the same location as the Hill of Heaven and Earth in these early Sumerian narratives. We ascertain this from a passage in Lahar and Ašnan (grain and sheep), which Woods (2009, 204, n. 84) translates: “pure water of the spring, which originated in Eridu (that is, the Apsû), and has flowed forth from the mountain of the pure spring, the mountain of cedars” (compare “Pure waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates, which come forth from [their] springs to Mt. Hašur” [KAR 34: 14-15]). They are, therefore, logically the same place (compare Appendix C, technical note 3, for further corroboration).

Indeed, that the name Hašur could be used as a synonym for Dilmun is attested by Kramer (1944, 21, n. 17), who adds that an assembly of the gods, with Enlil in charge, is known to have taken place in Dilmun (Karmer 1944, 25, n. 28). (In the Standard Babylonian version of Gilgameš XI 2-7, the hero queries Uta-napišti by asking: “How was it you attended the gods' assembly and found life?”). Moreover, in the Sumerian account of the Flood, Ziusudra (the Sumerian Noah) was caused by the gods to dwell in the mountain of rulership, the mountain of Dilmun, the place where Utu rises (Pritchard 1969, 44, compare n. 59-60). Thus, we now have one clear logical point of contact between Noah's habitation after the Flood and the symmetric twin-peaked mountain of the rising sun, which is itself associated with the bovine deity Great Flood. This horizon, we maintain, is specifically Noah's horizon.

We might thus predict other visual examples of a (cedar) tree associated with our twin-peaked mountain ICON 1. Marinatos (2010, 57-65, 108-109, 133-134, and 146-148) has identified many such icons from Crete and mainland Greece, comprising part of the ANE solar koine; where a sacred tree is depicted near (or between) the twin-peaks. Yet in most of these later instances, the tree depicted is a palm rather than a cedar. Might there be conflation between cedar and palm going on here? Intriguingly, Kramer (1944, 22-23) has highlighted the similarity between the cuneiform signs for cedar (that is, eren) and palm tree (that is, gišimmar), noting how scribal miscopies are easy and rather common. Yet conflation alone cannot fully account for the evidence. We shall therefore have cause to return to this visual riddle later on.

As Teissier (1996, 101) notes: “The association of the sun with the palm was both an Egyptian and Mesopotamian concept but Syrian imagery was derived from the latter. In Egypt the palm was considered to be one of the seats of Re at his rising.” Wilkinson (2000, 76) adds how the floor of Egyptian temples “was regarded as the great marsh from which the primeval world arose; and the great columns of the pillared courts and halls were made to represent palm, lotus or papyrus plants.” Marinatos (2010, 57, 60-64) notes how the palm is linked with Minoan royal throne rooms, and the winged rosette disc, a Levantine idiom of the Egyptian winged sun disc. And finally, ANE symbologist Nicholas Wyatt (2001, 166) summarises: “Two main themes occur widely: the tree is both an axis mundi . . . that is, the central pillar of the universe, supporting the sky, and separating it from the earth below, so that it maintains the cosmos in its created state (that is, as intended by the gods at creation).”

Notably, the palm is associated with the manufacture of Noah's Ark in Irving Finkel's Old Babylonian “Ark Tablet.” Line 11 of this tablet reads: “Let someone (else) twist the fronds and palm-fibre for you!” (Finkel 2014, 359 and compare Appendix C, technical note 4). Given that twisted palm-fibre is a strong, waterproof fibre used in fishing nets and watercraft, whereas cedar-fibre is not, this suggests the original word was palm after all. However, since the Ark might have been a composite vessel (made from both cedarwood and palm-fibre covered in pitch) perhaps both trees may have been appropriate symbols for the mound where it grounded. Wyatt continues by noting that the solar tree is also “an allomorph (alternative form) of the (androgynous) Primal Man. Thus goddesses are associated or identified with the tree . . . , as are kings.” The Primal Man, one could argue, is a fit description for Noah himself. His firstborn royal progeny would naturally wish to assert their connection to his ultimate place of victory as a strong rhetorical device for justifying social stratification or rulership.

Middle Kingdom Egyptian, Minoan Cretan, Babylonian and Hittite Developments Regarding Icons 1 and 2

Links to the Underworld and the Weather-Thunder-Storm God?

Many scholars have related the base (or roots) of the cosmic twin-peaked mountain with the underworld or cosmic freshwater ocean/abyss and its corresponding gods (see Eliade 1996, 376-377; Finn 2017, 179, 188, 193; Jensen 1890; Jeremias 1911; Meissner 1920; 1925; Winckler 1901). Accordingly, the mountain or tell, “demarcates cosmological thresholds and delineates boundaries of competing space” (Suriano 2012, 212). Middle Kingdom Egyptian Coffin Texts (2040-1782 BC) contain references to the twin peaks such as CT 305.iv.59 which mentions “the two great mountains on which Re appears” (Bilić 2013, 110). Yet sun gods, such as the Egyptian Re, are not the only type of deities associated with the upper section of the twin peaks in global Flood stories. Petrosyan (2016, 70-71) notes that in later Mesopotamian (specifically, Akkadian) Flood legend: “a central role in the creation of the flood is attributed to Adad, the Akkadian god of thunder, while 'Adad of Kumme' (= Teššub/Teišeba) is the god of the mountain of Corduena” (that is, modern Cudi daği, a favoured modern candidate for the Ark's landing place).

Moreover in the Urgaritic Baʻal Cycle (nineteenth-eighteenth centuries BC), where the Thunder-god Baʻal fights the Sea Serpent Yamm, we find another mention of two mounds (where they are called Trġzz and Ṯrmg or Targhu/izziza and Sharrumagi). Petrosyan continues: “This western Semitic conception is inseparable from the Akkadian 'twin' Mt. Māšu. On the other hand, however, the Indo-European influence is evident here too. These names must be related to the Anatolian name of the thunder god, Tarhu- (it appears as Tark/gu- in some theophoric names) and his son, Šarruma, the deity of mountains. Demonstrably, the thunder god of the region (Baal, Teššub) is depicted standing on two (twin) peaks” (compare Appendix C, technical note 5).

As Petrosyan (2016, 72-73 and n. 1) points out, the name of this mountain called twins is inseparable, via Assyrian and Indo-European intermediates, from Masía (the pre-first century AD form of Mt. Masis): “The name Masis . . . could have originated from the Assyrian pronunciation of Māšu”, he writes. Mount Masis (currently identified as Ağri daği), is of course where much later Armenian tradition puts the grounding of Noah's Ark. We thus have an etymological point of contact between a twin-peaked mound and the Ark's landing site.

Piecing Together the Mystery of Dilmun and the Prolonged Darkness Mentioned

There are further parallels in the Sumerian Flood account (Eridu Genesis, tablet CBS 10673 + CBS 10867) of how Ziusudra arrived at Dilmun. Regarding ICON 2 (the solar disc), Ziusudra opens a window in the Ark when the sun again appears [lines 201-5]. Now, Genesis 8:22 records God's promise to Noah that “day and night shall not cease”-implying this diurnal cycle had ceased during part of the flood year. Why might this have happened? One reason might be the vast volumes of volcanic ash released into the atmosphere (compare Appendix C, technical note 6).

We next find that Ziusudra greets the sun-god Utu while on the Ark. Finally, he is taken to the land of the country of Dilmun, the place where the sun rises [lines 251-61] (Bailey 1989, 16; Chen 2013, 118-121; Graves 2015, 58-59). Petrie (1939, 251) notes that Dilmun is called the Pure Land, compare Kramer (1944, 21, n. 17), who adds that pure land was also an epithet for Aratta (Ur-Artu = Foundation of Arat[ta]? Rohl (1998, 71) compares this with the place name Ararat. As we have seen, Dukug, the cosmic twin holy mound of Sumerian culture, is also called the “Pure Mound, where destinies are decreed” (Woods 2009, 203, n. 78) and where “pure food is consumed” (George 1992, 53, 286-287, 290-291). These observations link Dilmun with the Sumerian horizon and with the land of Ararat (the land which the text of Genesis pinpoints), through the shared motif of purity. Evidently, we are beginning to narrow down the location of Noah's horizon from extra-biblical sources.

Although many scholars believe Dilmun, where Ziusudra was taken, to be the Island of Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf, it is more accurate (as with Albright 1919, 192) to view this Dilmun as a derivative place name introduced by the Akkadians. As Rohl (1998, 248-249) points out, there were probably two Dilmuns-one north of the Zagros mountains (where cedar trees grew) and the other south (the island of Bahrain, where date palms grew). This might explain the visual/textual equivalence of cedar and palm trees, in both iconography and cuneiform literature, which we mentioned earlier. Horowitz and Vukasavović (1997, 98, n. 104; 1998, 32-33; 2013, 14), however, has shed most light upon the original location of Dilmun. He has identified the image of a mountain, within the land of Urartu, on the ninth century BC Babylonian Map of the World (which contains the cuneiform: “Great Wall”) with “The Great Wall of Heaven and Earth,” which is a location within Dilmun, referenced in the tablet known as “The Sargon Birth Legend.” As Sargon I boasted in this legend:

I did ascend all the high mountains . . . I did traverse all the foothills . . . The sea lands, I did sail around three times . . . Dilmun did submit to me (?) . . . The Great Wall of Heaven and Earth(?), I did ascend. . . Its very [s]tones(?), I did remove . . .

Horowitz comments: “I would suggest that the Great Wall in the north on The Babylonian Map of the World, beyond the mountain where the Euphrates rises, and across the cosmic sea, is the same Great Wall as . . . 'The Great Wall of Heaven and Earth.' If so, Mesopotamian tradition in the first millennium must have held that a Great Wall was located in the northern extremes of the World-far, far away-where only one king had gone, where no man had gone before or since, this king being Sargon of Akkade.”

Given our previous encounter with the Hill of Heaven and Earth in the tablet “Debate between Grain and Sheep” (where the Anunnaki gods were spawned after the Flood and where grain was first introduced to Sumer), this thesis would suggest that Dilmun is synonymous with the land of Ararat. The Great Wall could then refer to the same twin peaks, near to the source of the Euphrates. This Wall might be none other than the incurved or concave escarpment, located in between the two peaks. And based upon Egyptian evidence (white mastabas, white stone pyramids, Memphis' Egyptian name white walls), the pure designation here may refer to an escarpment that is somehow white in colour.6 Given Horowitz's observation, the Babylonian Map of the World deserves further investigation. What exactly is it? This question will be discussed after two further ancient cultures have been examined for clues about the location of the world's navel.

Evidence for a Cosmic Twin-Peaked Mound Cult among the Hittites?

In the Hittite “Song of the Sea”, relating to the storm-god cult of Mount Ḫazzi and Mount Nanni (near the cliff shrine at Yazilikaya), we find another reference to the twin-peaked cosmic island/mound (Dijkstra, 1991, 127-140; Wyatt 2014, 102-124). Rutherford (1999, 606) concludes that “there was a Hurrian and Hittite myth corresponding roughly to the Semitic myth of Baal-Yamm, where the king of the gods fights the sea. . . the reason that the 'Song of the Sea' is linked to Mt. Ḫazzi is likely to be that Mount Ḫazzi is the seat of Teššup, and the place of his victory over the sea” (compare Appendix D, technical note 1).

Yasur-Landau (2017, 132-133) puts this Hittite myth within international context: “A most striking image is engraved on a Middle Bronze Age hematite cylinder seal found in stratum G/4 at Tel el Dab'a [Egyptian Avaris], dated to the early Thirteenth Dynasty. The main design in the Dab'a seal is a Syrian weather god in smiting posture . . . He bestrides two mountains that have crisscross markings [compare Appendix D, technical note 2]. . . . To Porada, the smiting god could be identified with Baal Saphon, the protector of mariners. Mt. Saphon (“north” in Phoenician and Hebrew) is identified with Akkadian Mount Ḫazzi, classical Mount Kasios/Casius, Arabic Ǧabal al-Aqraʻ, which was, just like Carmel, a conspicuous landmark for mariners from the Bronze Age to the Roman period. It is the location of Baal's residence in the Ugaritic Baal cycle, upon which his palace is built.”

Predictably, Mt. Saphon (or Zaphon) has two main peaks-Kasion and Anti-Kasion in Greek. Moreover, the etymology of Kasion derives from Throne (Wyatt 2014, 111). Therefore, it precisely exemplifies the shared ideology of the cosmic twin-peaked mountain of kingship (Dijkstra 1991; Hurowitz 1999; Wyatt 2001, 153) which the firstborn descendants of Noah would have used to justify their royal prerogatives (compare Appendix C, technical note 7).

The Minoan Twin-Peaked Mound as a “Gate/Bridge between Worlds”

Minoan Crete was where Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941) first developed his thesis of a visual solar koine. Scholars such as Othmar Keel (1997) and Nanno Marinatos (2010) have advanced his work considerably since then. Reinterpreting the Minoan bull horns of consecration [that is, Minoan hieroglyph 37 of the old palace period] as a twin-peaked mountain, Marinatos notes via a rhyton and votive model (see figs. 5 and 6) that Cretan houses of god incorporated twin-peak mountain-gate architecture. Thus: “Mountains are gates. Strange as this may seem to us, it was a common concept in Near Eastern mythology . . . The gate to the beyond is conceived as a double-peak mountain, sometimes guarded by lions. . . . The idea that the mountain is a gate to the netherworld is supported by linguistic evidence. The Sumerian word kur means both 'mountain' and 'underworld” . . . “the mountain is simultaneously a ladder upwards towards heaven and downwards to the underworld: it is a medium of transition between worlds, which makes it equivalent to a gate” (Marinatos 2010, 110-111). Regarding the Gilgamesh Flood Epic, Marinatos 2010, 112 notes: “We . . . learn that the sun uses the mountain as a gate. This is important because it corresponds exactly to the images of the sun god rising between the [two] mountain peaks engraved on the Akkadian seals.” Given the pristine beauty of the antediluvian world described in Genesis 2, what more fitting concept could there be to describe Noah's fearful journey (from a paradise to a post-apocalyptic ruin) than a transition between worlds? (compare Appendix E, technical note 2).

Figure 5

Fig. 5. House of god. Stone rhyton from Zakros (Marinatos 2010, 68, fig.5.1).

Figure 6

Fig. 6. Clay votive model of a sanctuary from East Crete. (Marinatos 2010, 68, fig.5.2).

Marinatos (2010, 107-109) continues (in extensio):

the Minoan symbol is almost identical to the Egyptian cosmic mountain. The Egyptian symbol consists of two peaks that define the horizon between which the sun disc rises . . . On Akkadian seals of the third millennium we find a very similar rendition of the mountain represented as two scaly cones that signify 'land' . . . In Syria and Anatolia, the twin peaks also symbolize a mountain, sometimes a double one . . . The twin peak mountain defines the edges of the cosmos . . . A symbol so common to Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and Egypt and designating 'mountain' must have had a similar meaning in Crete . . . It has previously been mentioned that we do not see offerings (bread, meat, incense . . .) between the peaks of the object that has been redefined as a mountain; therefore, its function cannot have been to sanctify offerings. Instead, the two peaks frame a tree . . . a double axe . . . or a god . . . All of these are symbols of cosmic significance and not votives that can be consecrated. (Figs. 7 and 8).
Figure 7

Fig. 7. A seal from Vapheio (Marinatos 2010, 109).

Figure 8

Fig. 8. Minoan seal from Kydonia (Marinatos 2010, 109).

If, as this thesis argues via a network of demonstrably cognate facts, ICON 1 represents the mountain(s) of Ararat, and ICON 2 represents Noah or Noah's Ark, then we wouldn't predict these symbols to be votives. Rather, ICON 1 would connote the world axis, the entrance gate of the god (a deified Noah) to the New World and his seat of victory over the Flood (subsequently, the royal throne of kingship). ICON 2, on the other hand, would connote the cosmic victor or his life preserver (Hebrew: tebah) within the koine.

Previously, we saw that a Flood was associated with bovine imagery in the ANE. One of the early names of this imaged deity was Great Flood. As Marinatos (2010, 194) explains regarding the visual riddle of the bovine horns: “the Minoans intended a deliberate ambiguity between 'horns' and 'mountain peaks' because both the ox or cow and the mountain embrace the sun in mythical thinking; in some ways they give birth to it. The Minoans deliberately played with the form: horns look like mountain peaks . . . The Egyptians did the same . . . ” (figs. 9 and 10). Parallels with the Sumerian Anunnaki gods of the Flood being “born” onto the Hill of Heaven and Earth are evident. This seems to constitute the rationale for why the Mesopotamians built large pairs of symmetric horns atop their ziggurats, as is attested in some of their inscriptions (Anthony Van Der Sluijs 2011, 163-164; Clifford 1972, 20; Horowitz 1998, 124). Judging by their names, ziggurats were considered artificial mountains-bonds or bridges between heaven and earth. The Minoan ox/Egyptian bull's horns and the cosmic twin-peaked mountain are thus morphologically cognate since both function as a solar carrier or guardian over raging flood waters within ancient thought.

Figure 9

Fig. 9. The Minoan calf with double axe (Marinatos 2010, 195).

Figure 10

Fig. 10. Ceiling painting from the palace of Malkata (Marinatos 2010, 195).

Marinatos (2010, 108) finally draws attention to a remarkable bronze votive tablet from the cave of Psychro (fig. 11), commenting that: “Three pairs of twin mountain peaks define the center, the eastern and western edges of the universe. In the center we have a tree that reaches to the very top of the scene and is framed by the sun and moon. In addition, we see a fish and a bird . . . . If we compare it with an Akkadian seal depicting the rise of the sun god, we find the same cosmic elements: tree, fish, and birds. . . . The Akkadian seals depict an entire mythological topography. The sun god rises from the netherworld through the mountain gate and is greeted by Ishtar and other gods. A river flows by. Birds and sometimes animals are there to greet him at sunrise.” The river is probably the Euphrates. Ishtar is the twin sister of the sun god Šamaš. The animals, we suggest, are those which disembarked from Noah's vessel, or survived the Flood extinction since they were aquatic rather than terrestrial. The largest bird depicted on this bronze tablet might even be identified as a dove, holding tree leaves in one claw. This species, Genesis 8:11 states, directly aided Noah's reconnaissance attempts from aboard the Ark. This could represent another logical point of contact with the Genesis Flood account.

Figure 11

Fig. 11. Bronze votive tablet from the cave of Psychro showing the twin-peaked mountain as two knife-like peaks (Marinatos 2010, 108). Could the two birds and dove on the tree of life be a reference to Noah and the ravens/dove?

A Cosmic Twin Mountain Found on the Babylonian Mappa Mundi

It is now appropriate to return to the question of what the Babylonian Map of the World (see fig. 12) truly represents. As we shall discover, the entire tablet is shot through with Genesis Flood references. As Reade (2008, 17) comments: “Eleven tantalizing but fragmentary lines of text precede the map. Reference is made to the very creation of the world, as known from the epic Enuma Eliš, when the god Marduk defeated Ti'amat. the primordial Sea.”

Figure 12

Fig. 12. The Babylonian Map of the World (Finkel 2014, 296). Great wall on Nagû V is perhaps the wall of heaven in the Epic of Gilgamesh as translated by N. K. Sanders, “Its twin peaks are as high as the wall of heaven and its paps reach down to the underworld,” as well as The Great Wall of Heaven and Earth within Dilmun, mentioned in The Sargon Birth Legend.

It should be apparent from this introduction that the map tablet is retelling the same generic story we have encountered with earlier Egyptian/Mesopotamian sun gods and the Syrian/Hittite/Ugaritic thunder gods. The map is the product of cosmic mountain ideology, which is simultaneously Genesis Flood ideology. The commonly recognizable elements are present; first, the cosmic ocean (circular perimeter) and second, the story of a sun or thunder god figure (here, creator Marduk-calf of the sun) and his victory over the primordial ocean (represented not in the form of a horned bovine deity, but instead a horned serpent/reptile named Ti'amat). If this is indeed the case, and not just glommed together speculation, we might predict from our discussion thus far that the map tablet would also feature upon it somewhere: a) a textual or visual sun, b) a textual or visual Noah, c) a symmetric twin-peaked (cedar or palm) mountain located at the mouth of the Euphrates or Tigris rivers, d) textual or visual animals to greet the hero at sunrise, e) twin-peak mountain-gate (or world-bridge) connotations, f) ancient vessel or wooden ark remnant connotations and g) a group of eight deities represented either textually or visually.

Astonishingly, we find all seven of these predicted features on the same tablet. Reade continues: “The map tablet mentions 'ruined gods', known to be Ti'amat's creatures, and the bridge by which Marduk overstrode the waters-in which dwelt, among others, the viper and the mušhuššu dragon of Babylon. Other terrestrial animals created by Marduk are listed, many of which, by Mesopotamian standards, were exotic: mountain goat, gazelle, zebu, panther, lion, wolf, red deer and hyena, monkey, she-monkey, ibex, ostrich, cat, and chameleon. In addition, we learn that Uta-napišti (the Babylonian Noah), Sargon I himself and Nur-Dagan . . . also came to inhabit this freshly created land mass.”

Exotic animals are just what we would expect emerging from the Ark. And then there is the mention of Noah. If Noah was the first mortal to inhabit this freshly created landmass, rather than Adam, then as understood by the scribe of this cuneiform tablet, the Enuma Eliš must necessarily be a recapitulation of creation rather than the prototypical event itself. In other words, it must henceforth be considered a koine account of the immediate aftermath of the Genesis Flood and not creation per se, just as we have argued for the Babylonian Map tablet and for early Egyptian, cultic creation accounts (compare Appendix B, technical note 9).

Below these extremely important lines of text, (which, inexplicably, Reade does not consider closely related to the map's interpretation), is the image of the map itself. Surrounding the outer circle (upon the horizon), were originally eight mountain (or island) icons in the shape of triangles. (Despite missing fragments, we are certain of their precise number due to their eight short descriptions on the reverse of the tablet). These eight mountains are known as nagûs. Professor Finkel notes that the cuneiform on Nagû V (in Urartu where the Ark landed) reads: “[To the fift]h, to which you must travel seven Leagues, . . . . [The Great Wall,] its height is 840 cubits; . . . ” This map is reconstructed by Finkel on page 296, where it is translated: “Great Wall, 6 leagues in between, where the sun is not seen.” We have concluded, thanks to Horowitz's insight concerning The Sargon Birth Legend, that the former part of this sentence most probably refers to a northern mountain within Dilmun, that is, the Great Wall of Heaven and Earth (which Ziusudra-Noah inhabited), also identical to the Sumerian Hill of Heaven and Earth.

For an explanation of the latter part of the sentence, we must turn to Glassner (1985, 122), Lipinski (1971, 43-49), and Van De Mieroop (2000).7 The former notes that in a Neo-Assyrian omen, king Sargon I, “to reach the land of Uta-rapaštim . . . passes through a dark forest where sunlight cannot penetrate.” This motif can be put parallel to “where the sun is not seen” near Nagû V on the Map. Sargon is aided in his quest by his goddess, Ishtar, who illumines the way for him with her shard (the light of which he gropes towards).

Who, then, is this Uta-rapaštim? Van De Mieroop (2000, 138) elucidates: “The Sumerian term UD can refer to the sun and light . . . while the Akkadian adjective rapaštim means 'broad' . . . Uta-rapaštim is a meaningless name, but resembles very much the name of the survivor of the flood in the Epic of Gilgameš, Uta-napištim, 'Seeker of life'. . . . from the Late Babylonian 'Map of the World' . . . we find Sargon's name next to . . . Uta-napištim. . . . Uta-napištim is there because he lives at the edge of the world according to tradition. He has nothing to do with Sargon, however, and the only connection I can see is through a misunderstanding of the name Uta-rapaštim.” Let us pause here a moment and ask, what if Van De Mieroop is mistaken at this point? Perhaps Uta-rapaštim is not a meaningless name at all, but rather represents Noah's earlier solar koine title Broad Sun or Broad Daylight. One place he does err is that contra his claim, Uta-napištim does indeed bear a strong connection to Sargon I. Both demonstrably inhabited the same far away, northern twin peaked landmass (the Great Wall) in a dimly lit forest within ancient Dilmun. As Chen (2013, 170-171) highlights, “Ūta-na'ištim was . . . portrayed as having been approached by royalty in order to achieve fame, as indicated by the above text regarding Sargon, probably because it would take superhuman strength to undergo the journey to reach him.”

If this thesis is correct (and as now demonstrated, Duku, the place where heaven and earth embrace, the mountain of the (pure) spring, the place where destinies are determined and the mountain of cedars are synonymous) then we would predict that Sargon of Akkade's dark arboreal journey would specifically traverse a cedar forest. It is impossible to miss parallels with the later Babylonian episode Gilgameš and Humbaba. In this account, the hero and his friend, Enkidu, journey to the Cedar Forest which is ruled over by a demonic monster named Humbaba. Before his battle, the hero and Enkidu gaze in awe at the mountain called the mountain of cedars, the dwelling-place of the gods and the throne of Ishtar. They climb onto the mound, sacrifice cereals to it, and, in response, the mound sends them strange dreams about their futures. Given the numerous points of contact with motifs from Sargon's journey and the trans-cultural cosmic mountain previously discussed, this is clearly identifiable as Noah's Mountain. Chen (2013, 171, fn. 78) confirms this interpretation: “Legendary or historical royal figures made journeys to the Cedar Mountain for a similar reason. . . . Barely discernible in the Gilgameš traditions, this quest for fame seems to have become subordinate to the two other more important motives for Gilgameš's meeting with the legendary hero: obtaining eternal life and retrieving knowledge for restoring antediluvian civilization. The latter motive was definitely developed in association with the Ziusudra tradition.”

Glassner (1985, 122) notes that the Assyrian king Sargon II attempted to repeat the exploits of his famous predecessors Gilgamesh and Sargon of Akkade. Lipinski (1971, 43-49) comments that in his eighth campaign (against Urartu-referenced in Isaiah 14:13-20), Sargon II recorded that “he led his army « towards the middle of the mountains », . . . (line 13), « over whose area shadows stretch as in a cedar forest, the traveller of whose paths never sees the light of the sun », . . . (line 16). He opened a way through « Mount Simirria, the high peak which rises steeply like the tip of a lance and is even higher than the mountain upon which the goddess Bēlet-ilī dwells, whose summit reaches the heavens above, whose roots strike downward into the midst of the netherworld » . . . (lines 18-19).” This claim would appear to be cognate to Mount Māšu in Gilgameš, or at least incorporate its main motifs. Yet based upon the geography of Sargon's eighth campaign (compare Rohl 1998, 426), it cannot be equated with this mountain as it clearly resides in the Zagros, much too far south. Only after Sargon II's encounter with this mountain, does he then traverse seven more mountains to reach the plain of the Manneans and the river Aratta (modern Simineh Rud). It is noteworthy, therefore, that Isaiah records the failure of Sargon II to attain his grandiose ambition to ascend the Mound of the Assembly. His claim turns out to be merely pretentious garble, incorporation of a sacred mountain which he himself never did reach.

Let us now broaden our narrow focus upon Nagû V to consider the other island/mountains on the map. Finkel himself argues that Nagû IV, which is the peak to the right, is where the ark of Atra-hasīs finally rested. He concludes this because the phrase on the Old Babylonian Ark Tablet (CDLI no. P498054), referring to the manufacture of the Ark's ribs “thick as a parsiktu-vessel”, has no parallel in cuneiform literature beyond that found on the reverse of the map tablet (in its short description of Nagû IV-[Finkel 2014, 271]). Logically, then, it appears as a direct quotation from it (and the map must be indicating the Ark's location). “As I understand it, [he writes] the description of Nagû IV in the Map of the World describes the giant ancient ribs of the Ark . . . This, then, is really something new. The oldest map in the world, safe and mute behind its museum wall of glass, tells us now where the Ark landed after the Flood! After 130 years of silence this crumbly, famous, much-discussed lump of clay divulges an item of information that has been sought after for millennia and still is!” (Finkel 2014, 275 and compare 168). Finkel is not wrong here, but he has failed to grasp the wider interpretation of the tablet.

Considering our previous discussion about Sargon's Great Wall of Heaven and Earth in Dilmun, and the Hill of Heaven and Earth in the Sumerian tablet Debate Between Grain and Sheep, Nagû IV and Nagû V may now be seen for what they are considered together-the trans-cultural cosmic twin-peaked mound. This explains why both peaks have cuneiform near them that is directly associated with the Flood account (and both are placed on the outer perimeter-horizon, the place where destinies or fates were decreed when God remembered Noah).

Importantly, as Delnero (2018, 16) has clearly demonstrated in his magisterial new interpretation, the map labels contained within the inner circular perimeter are meant to be read dynamically: “the locations on the map are interconnected points that take the viewer on a visual journey from one end of the map to the other, revealing a critical aspect of the map that had previously been overlooked.” He continues by explaining (Delnero (2018, 14) that the map is meant to be read counter-clockwise around the inner circle, starting at the city of Habban (top left) and: “along the perimeter of the ring through Bīt-Yakin, the bitqu, Susa, upwards through the swamp, past the channel branching off the Euphrates, and on through Der, Assur, Urartu, and an unnamed city, before arriving at the uppermost region on the inside of the map, which is labelled as a mountain (šadu).”

According to Delnero, this mysterious mountain seems the ultimate focal point of the inner circular perimeter. The pressing question is, why was this mountain so important to the scribe? Remarkably, directly below the cuneiform label for mountain is a symmetric crescent-shape, which appears to depict the mountain's geomorphology because it replicates the incurved shape (with two symmetric pointed prominences) of the Minoan cosmic mountain (fig. 13-a superimposition of the cosmic mounds in figs. 7 and 8, rotated slightly, on top of fig. 12). This is, given all the evidence thus far, identifiable as Noah's Mountain and the mountain which Sargon the Great and Nur-Dagan visited some centuries after the Babel dispersion.

Figure 13

Fig. 13. Superimposition of cosmic mountains from Minoan seals upon the bulging area labelled mountain on the Babylonian Map of the World.

Reade (2008, 17), in his computer reconstruction of the map tablet, appears to miss the profound significance of what he terms “a bulging area labelled 'Mountain', from which the Euphrates may be seen to rise.” It is now obvious that the area only appears bulging because it is bilaterally symmetric and twin-peaked, with a concave escarpment in between the peaks. This area is positioned at the (northern) source of the Euphrates (where we have demonstrated that the famous Sumerian pure mound, or cedar mountain axis mundi was located within the cedar forest of Dilmun).

The 11 lines of text just above the map are now better contextualised. The label mountain (šadu) refers to the twin mountain depicted by the crescent below. This is the freshly created landmass which Noah first inhabited (line 10 of the introduction). It is also the bridge or ladder by which the Babylonian god Marduk overstrode the waters. These conclusions are supported by discerning that the only stylus line impression inscribed within the inside circular perimeter of the map which crosses over the cosmic ocean to the outside perimeter (horizon), is the right-hand section of the crescent mountain (which because of tablet damage has been reconstructed via computer analysis). Many scholars have noted that these inner and outer perimeters demarcate cosmological thresholds. Therefore, the twin mountain is acting as the one solitary bridge spanning to a different world (as has previously been explained by the common recurrence within the ANE solar koine of this very motif). Since Noah inhabited the landmass, his translation (or apotheosis) to the gods far, far away, (hence his title Uta-napishti, the far-away), occurs via the mountain as a medium of transition. As we shall see, this would help explain Fragment 4 of Berossus' Babylonian History (278 BC) which speaks of his disappearance (under his identity there of Xisuthrus).

Having now recognised the transcultural cosmic mountain (below-left of which we fittingly find the name Babylon [gate of the god]), we are now in a better position to answer Delnero's rather complex question (Delnero (2018, 16): “if the map does in fact depict the proposed itinerary, what is the significance of this itinerary, and how, if at all does it relate to any known historical, cultural, or mythological events or conceptions in, or before the period or periods in which the map and its accompanying inscriptions were compiled?” We may answer that the itinerary describes an ancient pilgrimage route, which terminates at the cosmic twin-peaked mound of the far north, at the mouth of the rivers, in the Kurdish hills, which Genesis terms the mountains of Ararat. It is not a far stretch to suppose that this is the mountain-gate medium of transition through which a (subsequently deified) Noah passed, when he descended from heaven to earth, the sky-high floodwater subsiding, his Ark coming to rest, and life being reborn.8

What we learn from this is that the transcultural cosmic geography of Noah's Mountain, superimposed on various similar (natural or fabricated) topographies throughout the ANE, has clearly been derived from a real location somewhere in ancient Urartu/Armenia. Yet this is not all the map teaches us. Aided by the koine, and in the light of Scripture, it is now possible for the first time to understand why there were precisely eight nagûs placed around the rim of the world horizon. The answer is found, once again, within the Genesis Flood account. But before we come to this, we need to consider further Flood koine evidence from New Kingdom Egypt.

New Kingdom Egyptian, Assyrian and Third-Intermediate Period Developments Regarding Icons 1 and 2

The Koine's Influence on Egyptian New Kingdom Temple Architecture and Art

Returning presently to the history and transmission of Flood ICON 1, temple architecture in New Kingdom Egypt emphasised the twin-peaked mound discernible in the Old Kingdom. As Wilkinson (2000, 77-78) comments:

The entrance pylons [of New Kingdom temples] were built to mirror the form of the hieroglyph for akhet, 'horizon', on which the sun rose each day. The main processional path of the temple thus replicated the course of the sun in its daily journey across the world, rising above the pylons in the east, moving through the columned halls and courts where its image appears under the lintels and architraves, and setting finally in the west, where the inner sanctuary was situated. (Compare Appendix B, technical note 3).

An identification of the temple of Karnak in Egypt with the twin-peaks is found on the obelisk of Hatshepsut. Here, Hatshepsut equates the temple with the hieroglyph-akhet, or horizon, which in turn she identifies with the primeval hill. “I know that Karnak is the Light Mountain (horizon) upon earth, the venerable hill of primeval beginning (literally 'of the first time'), the healthy eye of the Lord of All . . .” (Sethe 1906) (fig. 14). This identification was an extremely common practice in Egyptian religion. Frankfort comments: “each god counting as a Creator was made to have some connection with this Hill” . . . “each and every temple was supposed to stand on it” . . . “The identity of the temples with the Primeval Hill amounts to sharing of essential quality and is expressed in their names and in their architectural arrangements” . . . “Memphis was called 'The divine emerging primeval island'. Thebes 'The island emerging in Nun which first came into being when all other places were still in obscurity'. Hermonthis 'The high ground which grew out of Nun' or 'The egg which originated in the beginning'.” (Frankfort 1978, 152, 380; compare De Buck 1922, 72-84; Sethe 1929, 117-118).

Figure 14

Fig. 14. Relevant section of the obelisk inscribed by Pharaoh Hatshepsut.

New Kingdom corroboration for a bifurcated mound acting as a gate or ladder, as noted earlier by Professor Marinatos, comes from the Book of Caverns in the tombs of the pharaoh Merenptah and the queen Tawosret. Here, the primeval mound has the form of a triangle split in half, with the two sides slid apart like enormous double doors. In the centre of these twin doors, we find pictured solar symbolism associated with rebirth for the righteous (Lehner 1997, 28-29).

In the Egyptian air god Shu, whose two arms prevented the sky from falling, we find another twin-peaked motif in an incurved headrest belonging to pharaoh Tutankhamun. Here, Shu (flanked by two lions) supports the approximately circular head of the sleeper so that the complete composition, including pharaoh's head, forms the akhet (horizon) hieroglyph (Shaw and Nicholson 1995, 270). As we have seen, the primeval mound was considered a type of Egyptian/Minoan world-pillar, holding up the vault of heaven (Marinatos 2010, 138). This should be read as an ancient Near Eastern description of the biblical mountains of Ararat, which from a pagan perspective, were the only solid ground amidst the sky-high watery chaos. For Noah's superstitious grandchildren, the two peaks were the only pillars preventing the sky (or windows of heaven) from falling down again in judgement.

Embellishments of the Egyptian Ogdoad in New Kingdom Egypt

Another depiction of Shu in the Valley of the Kings, this time with four Ḥeḥ-gods either side of him, helps us to solve other visual riddles within the solar koine (fig. 15). To recap pertinent discoveries thus far, the Egyptians zoomorphized a cosmic Flood as a bovine deity. The two symmetric horns of the bovine deity acted as a koine allomorph of the twin-peaks of the primordial mound of sunrise. When the sun disc or solar barque rested between the twin-peaks/horns, life was subsequently given to the world. These observations might imply that the Egyptian priesthood saw the Ark of Noah, containing the seed of all terrestrial life, as something akin to a solar ferryboat riding upon the bovine deity Great Flood and being driven toward its horns. The ancients appear to have referenced its grounding place as a twin-peaked island9 amidst the flood, hence the name: Island of the Horizon-dwellers or Isle of Flames-perhaps associated with the flames of Noah's great burnt offering (Genesis 8:20).

Figure 15

Fig. 15. Eight Ḥeḥ-gods assist the air god Shu in supporting Great Flood, the Heavenly Cow (Piankoff 1962, 142).

Cox (2019, 102-103) provides corroboration for this interpretation from New Kingdom art: “In Tutankhamun's shrine 1, the image of the Cow is framed by the inscription: 'Words spoken by (the Cow) the Great Flood: Come my son of my body, my beloved one, Lord of the Two Lands Neb-Kheperu-Re. Be with thy father Re as one of these gods who are in his following at the side of (the Cow) the Great Flood. Osiris, King Tutankhamun, ruler of Heliopolis of the South, lives-he will not die again in the Necropolis!' It should be noted that the name Tutankhamun (Amen-tut-ankh) is itself connected to the Ogdoad, as the boy-king's name means 'living image of Amun'; Amun being one of the male members of the Ogdoad, who by this time had become an important god in his own right.”

Cox continues: “The belly of the Cow is covered with stars, representing the sky, where Ra is depicted sailing in his solar bark . . . the function of the eight Ḥeḥ-gods aiding Shu in supporting the sky is identical in function to that of the Ogdoad, aiding Shu in supporting the sky, as seen in the Twenty-sixth Dynasty tombs at el-Bawiti, thereby establishing the identity of the eight Ḥeḥ-gods as that of the Ogdoad. In other words, the Ogdoad who represent the eight Ḥeḥ-gods, prevent the cosmos from being destroyed by the Flood.”

Notice how the Ogdoad are here helping Shu by providing extra support for the four legs of the Cow Great Flood (one standing each side, arms braced). These four bovine legs can be considered cognate with the four pillars of Shu mentioned in the Pyramid Texts. Rady (2014, 50) notes how that in the temple of Esna (in Latopolis, Upper Egypt), the patron creator god Khnum-Re takes on the role of Shu: “Khnum-Re at Esna acts this process . . . as a creator to establish and erect heaven upon its 4 supports (ifdw or sxnwt). The number four connotes totality and completeness and is tied deeply to the cardinal points, so it often takes precedence over or replaces direct links with the symbolism of the geographic 4 quarters or the 4 main cardinal points of the universe.”

We may now return to the final visual riddle in The Babylonian Map of the World, namely the eight island/mountains surrounding the cosmic ocean on the circular horizon. Jelinková (1962, 49, commentary note mm) mentions that the Egyptian Ogdoad, just like Amun himself, (and An-Heaven/Ki-earth as twins), were sometimes identified with the mound which first emerged from Nun (since the ancients tended to stress relationship and participation to the point of identity). On the reverse of the map tablet there is mention in cuneiform of the Four Quarters immediately after the eight nagûs (Finkel 2014, 272). What could be depicted, then, around the horizon of the obverse side map, is an early Mesopotamian equivalent of the four Egyptian pillars of Shu-that is, four twin-peak mounds which prevented the sky from collapsing. As Marinatos and Wyatt (2011, 393) note: “beyond are eight triangles, which may be interpreted as four pairs of mountains controlling each of the cardinal points.” From Genesis 9:19 it is evident that four male-female pairs (eight people) repopulated the entire earth after the extinction bottleneck. Given that six of our predicted features have already been confirmed on the map tablet, the confirmation of a seventh prediction is not all that surprising. Four deified couples (or twins), are thus likely represented within the Babylonian Map of the World as four twin-peaked mountains. These are set into the Four Quarters or cardinal points of the earth, stopping-like the Ogdoad-the sky collapsing back into Nun (or in this case, Ti'amat, the primordial Sea).

Assyrian Evidence that the Ark was Guarded by its Mooring Place

One motif surrounding ICON 1 which is developed in Assyrian times is that of guardianship. In the Assyrian twelve-tablet version of the Epic of Gilgamesh (thirteenth to tenth centuries BC), the episode entitled “Gilgamesh and the Search for Everlasting Life,” we find the hero arriving at the mound of sunrise, Mt. Mashu (Twins) in tablet IX, line 38. Kovacs' (1989) translation reads: “Mount Mashu, which daily guards the rising and setting of the Sun.” George's (2002) translation reads: “To Mashu's twin mountains he came, which daily guard the rising [sun].” Then later (in Tablet 11 five times, between lines 140 and 144) we find the landing place of Utnapishtim's ark named as Mt. Nisir. Could these two names refer to the same mountain? Despite some debate surrounding the exact translation of the mountain's name (as Nisir or Nimuš), it is certainly possible. Mount Nisir was later identified by an Assyrian king as Pir Omar Gudrun in the Western Zagros mountain range (not a twin-peaked mountain at all) (Speiser 1926, 18). However, this could have been a later toponym introduced by the Assyrians due to royal pretension. Nisir actually has three root consonants nṣr, which can be related to nšr, msr, mṣr, and mzr. Perhaps the best derivation is via the Babylonian/Akkadian root naṣāru: to protect (see fig. 16): for example, Bȇl-naṣir etc. (in Uguritic = nġr “to guard”, Arabic = naẓara, Hebrew = nāṣar/nāṭar) (Rubio 1999, 7, n. 13 and compare Appendix C, technical note 8). Perhaps in providence, the twin peaks acted as a natural harbour for the ark as the waters decreased. In any case, both Mashu and Niṣir were associated with the guardianship of something of great significance to the ancient world. In Niṣir's case it was explicitly the life preserver of Noah, in Mashu's case it was the sun (that is, the embodiment of life-potential and a koine name of Noah himself). This Mesopotamian motif of guardianship has numerous parallels in Egyptian New Kingdom texts relating to the Ogdoad of Hermopolis (compare Appendix B, technical note 4). The shared language of the koine is profoundly evident throughout.

Figure 16

Fig. 16. Akkadian root naāru: to protect.

Greek, Persian and Ptolemaic Period
Developments Regarding Icons 1 and 2

In ancient Greece, one of the most revered mountains was named Parnassus. The fifth century BC Greek poet Pindar wrote in his ninth Olympian ode that: “Deucalion and Pyrrha, coming down from Parnassos, founded their house at the first and with no act of love established a stone generation to be their folk” (Lattimore 1947, 28). The Roman poet Ovid in his book Metamorphoses, speaks of Parnasosque biceps (and twin-peaked Parnassus) thus:

A fruitful land and fair but now submerged beneath a wilderness of rising waves, “Twixt Oeta and Aonia, Phocis lies, where through the clouds Parnassus” summits twain point upward to the stars, unmeasured height, save which the rolling billows covered all: there in a small and fragile boat, arrived, Deucalion and the consort of his couch, prepared to worship the Corycian Nymphs, the mountain deities, and Themis kind, who in that age revealed in oracles the voice of fate. (More 1922, lines 250-261)

As Coleman (2011, 718) points out: “This mountain has two peaks, one dedicated to Apollo and the Muses, the other to Dionysus. It is generally said that Deucalion's Ark landed here when the Flood subsided . . .”. Deucalion, we should add, was the Greek Noah figure. His name first appears in a fragment of Hesiod's eighth century BC Catalogue of Women (or HOIAI) (Griffin 1992, 39). The Greek poet Apollodorus (in his Library, Book 1, Chapter 7), also notes Parnassus as the ark mountain. Parallels with the earlier Mesopotamian Bīt rimki are hard to miss. Of significance is how the city of Delphi, (a city which was renowned as the Navel of Gaia or omphalos, with its famous oracle or decree of destiny) was located between these two peaks. This design is replicated in the location of the citadel of Mycenae, which sits between Profitis Ilias (750 m) and Mount Zara (600 m). It would seem therefore, that the notion of a symmetric twin-peaked axis mundi where fates were determined was adopted from Egypt and Mesopotamia by the Ancient Greeks.10 It is extremely doubtful that such exact correspondences could all be due to pure coincidence (compare Roscher 1913 for further instances of omphalos cities and Appendix C, technical note 9 for appropriation of identical motifs by the Persians).

Ptolemaic Period Ritual Evidence from the Eight-Town Sun God Re

In the Ptolemaic period we gain insight into ICONS 1 and 2, primarily through their association with the sun-god Re. Pertinent to us is a priest named Petosiris, who was a citizen of the Ogdoad's cult centre Hermopolis in approximately 320 BC. The interested reader is referred to Appendix B, technical note 7, for further discussion of the tantalising tomb inscriptions which belong to him.

Evidence that the Egyptian Ogdoad Deities were the Eight Ark Ancestors

An inscription of king Nacht-nebof (Nectanebo) of the Thirtieth Dynasty in Egypt refers to the Eight as the gods of the primaeval age of the hill, or the Great Ones of the primaeval age (Roeder 1959, 173). Yet how can these eight deities really be identified with the eight people who left the Ark, with any degree of certainty? Without an explicit documentary or textual reference within Egyptian literature, we here rely instead upon the primarily visual solar koine to find the smoking gun:

Figure 17

Fig. 17. The Ogdoad from the Book of the Dead of Khensu-mose (Silverman 2003, 121).

  1. Most importantly, the Ogdoad are depicted iconographically in the Book of the Dead of Khensu-mose (from the Third Intermediate Period) as arable farmers, hoeing seed on the cosmic (symmetric) twin-peaked mountain (fig. 17). This comports with the text on the obverse of the ninth century B.C. Babylonian Map of the World-which records Noah's habitation upon the symmetric twin-peaked land mass itself (line 10), which is there labelled “mountain” on the map (compare with fig. 12). Logically, if Noah inhabited this very distinctive crescent mountain straight after the Flood, then it follows his seven other family members also inhabited it with him. The Egyptian Ogdoad may therefore be logically identified with the eight ark voyagers, through the very specific shared topography or geomorphology of their common landing place. This motif also comports with the way the Anunna gods of Sumer are said to have created grain on the Hill of Heaven and Earth (Chen 2013, 89). These were seeds presumably present within all food that is eaten, which Noah gathered into the Ark before the Flood began (Genesis 6:21). Such observations make it almost certain we are dealing with the same eight individuals.
  2. Since the Ogdoad was visually and textually comprised of exactly four male and four female gods (who [as gods] may well have been endued with a hermaphrodite quality of self-reproduction), and not eight females alone, or one male/seven females, or two males/six females et cetera, this comports with the 1 in 9 (or 11%) chance of obtaining the correct biblical ratio of males and females which Genesis states were, in fact, onboard the Ark.
  3. Cox (2020, 67-74; 75-84) has offered significant etymological evidence that is consistent with the names of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth existing as personal and divine names in ancient Egypt, with equivalent meaning (and that they are comparable through linguistic connections to the Ogdoad names) representing, in his words, “the polytheistic deification of the family” (compare Harrington 2012 and Appendix B, technical note 5).
  4. The journey or passage of the Ogdoad from the ante-diluvian to post-diluvian worlds was the prototypical cosmic journey. It therefore probably acted as a model for this entire genre of literature (see Bilić 2017; Marinatos 2001; Nakassis 2004 for later examples). The cosmic journey, involving a god figure, an ordeal-by-water, and a victory accomplished via a mountain gate, that is, the distinctive cosmic twin mountain of sunrise with roots in the underworld; the original gate of the god (or Babylon). Thus, the event of the Flood, recorded in the Genesis account, can be seen as the primary historical source of most subsequent transcultural cosmic mountain ideology in both Jewish and Gentile temple contexts from the beginnings of civilization.
  5. Finally, in late wall inscriptions of the Temple of Horus at Edfu, the Ogdoad in the form of eight Shebtiw (or Senior Ones) seem to hatch out or emerge from an allomorph of the sun. They do this by cutting a window open in the top of their reed (which presumably must be a vessel made for floating on water)11 (Jelinková 1962, 46, n. x; compare Rohl 1998, 332-343 and Reymond 1969). This is clearly parallel to Noah removing the covering of the Ark in Genesis 8:13. Predictably, Ziusudra-Noah's epithet The Far Distant is semantically replicated in one of the names of the Ogdoad, who is called, Wa-The Far Distant. This appears to fully corroborate his ancient avian (falcon) Horus name in the Old Kingdom-The Distant One. As Rohl (1998, 343) comments: “The sky-god Horus who played such an important role in Egyptian religion also had close connections with the Arabian peninsula. The word Har or Heru (which scholars translate as 'The Distant One') was the name the Egyptians gave to their falcon-god . . . one of the two leaders of the Shebtiu was named Wa-another Egyptian word which means 'The Distant One'. . . The final element of the [Sumerian] floods hero's name-sudra-means 'the far-distant'. That other early name of Noah-Atrahasis-is usually followed by the epithet ruku which in Akkadian also has the meaning 'far-distant' . . . The early Mesopotamian flood hero . . . may be mythologically connected in some way with the Egyptian solar sky-god known as Har (Horus)-'the far-distant'.” Our previous discoveries go a long way towards solving this textual riddle-they are connected by virtue of the solar koine between material cultures.

To ignore or lightly dismiss these separate lines of strong visual and textual evidence would be intellectually dishonest. Some better explanation for each one should be offered, if through caution, one is not inclined to connect the dots.

McClain has studied the cosmogonical inscriptions of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II on the walls of the Eighteenth Dynasty Temple at Medinet Habu, Egypt, which describe Hermopolitan cosmogony in some detail. He notes that the eight are there called: “the fathers, indeed, along with the mothers from the beginning, . . . the enduring noble ones, indeed, who have planted the primordial seed with their power, who established the earth with the seed of the cropland . . .”. The Eight are moreover: “The ancestors in the beginning, . . . the ancestor gods, the mighty ones, who protected those great of majesty, (and) the primeval one who made for (himself) the primeval ones, the noble fathers who brought into being the beginning, who shone in Nun when the land was in utter darkness and every existing thing was flooded.” (McClain 2011, 77-79 and compare Appendix B, technical note 10). This text provides powerful corroboration not only for a global Flood, but also for a volcanic ash model, accounting for the darkness.

Insights from Ancient Historians

Methods of cognitive analysis, applied to ICONS 1 and 2, have covered significant cultural ground and have answered many previous riddles of the solar koine. This section will discuss the relevance of ancient historians and more modern documentary discoveries.

Polyhistor, Josephus, Plutarch and Lucian

As we alluded previously, Alexander Polyhistor (via Eusebius and Syncellus, but not Josephus), makes further reference to the Babylonian concept of Noah's apotheosis or transition via the mountain to the gods (via a burnt offering):

He therefore made an opening in the vessel, and upon looking out found that it was stranded upon the side of some mountain; upon which he immediately quitted it with his wife, his daughter, and the pilot. Xisuthrus then paid his adoration to the earth: and having constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the gods, and, with those who had come out of the vessel with him, disappeared. They, who remained within, finding that their companions did not return, quitted the vessel with many lamentations, and called continually on the name of Xisuthrus. Him they saw no more; but they could distinguish his voice in the air, and could hear him admonish them to pay due regard to religion; and likewise informed them that it was upon account of his piety that he was translated to live with the gods; that his wife and daughter, and the pilot, had obtained the same honour.

Here we discover how the cosmic twin mountain of Noah acted as a ladder or gate between heaven and earth (together with Noah's solar koine apotheosis title The Far Distant-which some scholars have related to the condition of drunkenness. He only became far distant, we now learn, upon his translation to heaven with his burnt offering. The phrase probably has nothing to do with his recorded intoxication with wine).

Our second historian is Josephus. Regarding the landing place of Noah's Ark gleaned from his wide reading of historians, he comments:

Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about them; where he speaks thus: “There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. (Josephus AD 94)

Lanser (2013) writes: “Minni was located roughly below and to the immediate east of Lake Urmia, called the Lower Nairi Sea at the time. The main focus of Nicolaus, then, was not the location of the kingdom of Urartu, but of the great mountain where the Ark landed. Considering just this extremely narrow issue and nothing else-with no questions over Berossus' use of myth, the proliferation of Moslem sources, or other historical minutiae to obfuscate the matter-if our choices for identifying 'the great mountain over Minyas' are restricted to either Mount Ararat or Mount Cudi, we must admit that only Ararat qualifies. Mount Cudi is neither 'great'-not quite 7,000 feet tall, versus Ararat's nearly 17,000 foot height-nor can it be said to be north of Minyas, as Ararat can.” On this point, Lanser appears correct. However, as we have discovered, there is another mountain designated as doubly great, based more upon its widespread fame than upon its literal height. This is the trans-cultural cosmic mountain. As we shall see, this mountain might also qualify for the specific location mentioned here by Nicolaus.

Notice the much-debated observation in Josephus that the mountain was called Baris from the Greek βᾶρις-which (other than meaning palace or city) is a term for an Egyptian boat, deriving from the Egyptian ba-y-r for basket-shaped boat, or a high-prowed boat shaped like a lunette (Belov 2015, 195; 2016, 34-47). (In fact, it appears that new light on the Egyptian baris ship is now being shed through the discovery of sunken ships 17 and 43 within the submerged city of Thonis-Heracleion). What might this reference to βᾶρις mean? Could it bear any relation to our Egyptian flood cosmogony? It is perfectly possible that Baris is a scribal mistranslation of Masis. Alternatively, however, some intriguing explication of this name might be found in four passages from Plutarch concerning Osiris (sun-god of the Underworld) in Egyptian ritual (compare Appendix B, technical note 11).

Finally, cosmic mountain ideology, stemming from Noah's mountain, is one explanation, a tantalising one, for the preponderance of twin pillars found in ANE sacred architecture (compare Appendix F, technical note 1). This necessitates some brief discussion about the implications of the twin pillars and cosmic mountain ideology for the wider sphere of biblical studies and ancient Israelite beliefs.

Biblical Implications of the Flood Koine

Barry Eichler (1996, 89) has noted that when thinking about the developments in our understanding of the ANE from a biblical perspective, “[T]he most serious tensions to be faced stem from the undeniable commonality of cultural and literary motifs that the Bible shares with the civilizations and literatures of the ancient Near East.” However, in a stunning reversal, generations of liberal scholarship have now been overturned in a single stroke. Landless (2020) summarises previous liberal approaches by noting that to them “Genesis, including the Flood, is merely a 'compiled' collection of Hebraised Mesopotamian histories.” It may now be seen that, quite to the contrary, Noah's mountain (identified as the cosmic mountain), and existing as a real place visited by historic kings, even antedates all Mesopotamian histories. This discovery explains the commonality of many shared motifs-in that there demonstrably was one historical location, a single point of origin, common to all human civilizations and literatures, far predating Abraham).

Noah's twin peaks may have significantly influenced the architecture of later national Israel too. It was George Ernest Wright (1941, 25-26) who noted that: “A passage in II Chronicles (3:15-17) states explicitly . . . that Solomon 'made before the house two pillars. . . And he set up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand and one on the left.' . . . They have been interpreted as fire-altars, obelisks, phalli, and twin mountains” (compare Appendix F, technical note 3). Here it is important to be clear what we are saying and what we are not. The Phoenician architect Huram of Tyre was involved in the building of Solomon's Temple and its two pillars. Although God directly revealed the plan of Solomon's Temple to king David (compare 1 Chronicles 28:11-12), the Holy Spirit may have had a real preexisting topography in mind when He did so. The well-known, transcultural morphology of Noah's Mountain would have been an obvious model for David to indirectly pass on to Huram, and it is even (theoretically) possible that Noah's Mountain was formed by God (geologically) upon a preexisting Heavenly Throne archetype.

In either case, as Cook (1930, 161-162) remarks, “Upon Tyrian coins of the third and fourth centuries A.D. there are representations of . . . omphaloi on bases with an olive tree between. . . . They find their explanation in the traditions preserved by . . . Nonnus of Panopolis (c. A.D. 400) . . . It was said that the 'ambrosial rocks' floated in the sea [emphasis ours] along with the sacred olive, and that after a sacrifice had been offered they came to rest, and the city of Tyre was founded upon them . . . Now, according to the Phoenician myth . . . after Sanchuniathon, the old culture-hero Usōos (c.f. the name Esau) went to sea and found an island upon which he dedicated two pillars, the one to fire, the other to wind, and watered them with the blood of the beasts he had taken in hunting. Thus originated the island-city of Tyre and the cult of the pillared stones. It seems . . . clear that . . . we may recognize . . . a confused recollection both of the Deluge and of that sacrifice which, in the Babylonian and the biblical versions, followed thereupon. According to the biblical tradition, the Deluge was followed by an entirely new world order and a new covenant; and man was allowed to eat animal flesh provided he ceremonially poured out the blood (Gen. ix. 1-7). Tyre was a world-city, and there is reason to believe that at Tyre, as at Hieropolis, Jerusalem, and elsewhere, there was believed to be a chasm leading into the bowels of the earth. Hence the late Tyrian version of the Flood, older versions of which are lost.”

In this passage we encounter many now familiar motifs, including a parallel to the underworld in the bowels of the earth. Pillars, Jachin and Boaz, then, probably had their architectural prototypes in the Phoenician twin-peaked floating omphalos/throne and cosmic mountain ideology of Tyre, which itself derived from the antecedent mountain(s) of Ararat and Noah's landing place (compare Appendix F, technical note 2).

For most Jews, the rock of Jerusalem-or Temple Mount-was the locality where their sacred symbolic centre was superimposed on real geography (Ginzberg 1988, 12). Wyatt (2001, 156) notes how “Zion's priority over Memphis and Saphon, sacred centres of Egypt and Syria respectively, and even its incorporation of their claims. . .” occurs in Psalm 48:1-2. The curious choice of the city of Memphis by the psalmist is more fully elucidated, given our previous link with its etymology white walls (and the common motif of whiteness among many sacred mountain-omphalos myths). Cook (1930, 134), on the other hand, highlights how, “in Zechariah's vision of the four chariots coming from between the mountains [Zechariah 6:1], there may be a reference to the double-peaked mountain where the gods were wont to appear before Shamash. It was the 'place of decisions'.” And Lipinski (1971, 49, n. 182) sees a reference to the twin-peaked mountain of the horizon in Psalm 65:8-in the phrase “you make the outgoings of the morning and evening to sing.” Finally, we might turn to the book of Judges 9:37, where we find mention of people coming down from the Navel of the Earth. Here, we would predict some form of twin-peaked topography on the ground, a prediction which is fully met in the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal which stand on either side of ancient Shechem (Anderson 1980, 220). Not accidentally, we suggest, a similar motif is replicated in the Beqaa valley, separating Lebanon from Anti-Lebanon (that is, Mount Hermon). Finally, Wensinck (1916, 11-13) relates an identical motif related to the twin peaks which straddle the ancient city of Mecca. Islamic lore still regards this motif as indicating the first mountain ever to be created (in other words, the point of human origin).

Implications of the Flood Koine for the Ongoing Noah's Ark Search

We have disclosed a coherent and tight-knit pattern of evidence which demands a non-trivial explanation. Much of this pattern has remained encoded until now. As Crouse and Franz (2006, 99-111) note: “if such an Ark vessel once really existed . . . Over the centuries, indeed millennia, people would know about it; it would be a topic of conversation and people would want to see it.” It is only within this context that a ubiquitous religious koine surrounding Noah and the Ark can be made sense of. For as the Reformer John Calvin noted: “the human mind is, so to speak, a perpetual forge of idols. There was a kind of renewal of the world at the deluge, but before many years elapse, men are forging gods at will” (Calvin 1845, 45).

The following implications would appear to result from this thesis:

  1. The archaeological search for the remains of the Ark should seek to prioritise the investigation of locations in the vicinity of (Turkish or Iranian), bilaterally symmetric, twin-peaked mounds.
  2. After grounding, part of the Ark may have become buried underground in marsh mud, as one Egyptian account from Petosiris the Egyptian priest seems to suggest. This would be consistent with the marshy cosmic landscape within ANE conceptions of sacred space.
  3. The landing place of the Ark may have become a famed necropolis for the royal dead, symbolised in older ANE literature by the netherworld at the base of the cosmic mound. For reasons unknown, this original Dilmun necropolis, in the cedar forest north of the Zagros mountains, was subsequently relocated to the palm forested island of Bahrain by the Akkadians.

From our investigations, we have discovered much new information regarding what the ancients believed about the location of the Ark. There are, to date, five main contending locations for where the Ark landed:

  1. Mount Ararat (Ağri daği)
  2. Durupinar (Yiğityatağı)
  3. North-West Iran, (Sahand or Sabalan)
  4. Cudi Dagh (Eastern or Central
  5. Karaca Dag (near Diyarbakir, Turkey)

Greater Ararat is a volcanic mountain, and its sister mountain Lesser Ararat is much smaller and hence not bilaterally symmetric in geomorphology. Neither is there any freshwater spring or river source nearby. Therefore, this rules it out as the grounding place described in Genesis according to the solar koine. Site three has no obvious symmetric twin-peaks or curved escarpment (although this author does stand to be corrected). Site four does have twin peaks, but since the Old Syrian weather/storm god is archaeologically younger than the Mesopotamian and Egyptian solar gods, we are probably looking at a superimposition of cosmography here, not the original location. The recently discovered site five, which incorporates a twin-mountain, appears promising. However, it is not located above Minni, far north of Sumer/Akkad, at the source of the Euphrates. Therefore, based upon our Flood koine we suggest that site number two, the muddy northern slope of the twin-peaked Mount Yiğityatağı (meaning Cradle-bed of Heroes) is currently the most probable location (out of the five main contenders) for the rebirth of humankind (fig. 18) (Nissen 2004, 252, 277-290). This suggestion is corroborated by all the evidence we have considered. It is clearly above the area of Minni as Nicholas of Damascus claimed, and a freshwater river is found nearby Yiğityatağı. This mound is white in colour (due to its limestone composition), with a curved escarpment between the peaks, giving the impression of a long white wall. It is the only mountain to overcome all the hurdles in its identification and it bears a visually striking similarity to the twin-peaked cosmic mountain in Minoan artworks.

Figure 18

Fig. 18. Yiğityatağı, at the foot of Mt. Ararat, with peaks Ziyaret Dag and Al Cudi (David Allen Deal).

The Ark of Noah, therefore, may have come to rest between Yiğityatağı's twin peaks (the geographically western peak being known as Ziyaret Dag or Pilgrim's Mount and the eastern peak being known as Al Cudi-similar to Noah's landing place Al Judi in the Koran). The vessel could have been guarded by the middle escarpment as the waters gradually ebbed away. Fig. 19 is an aerial photograph taken of a biconvex shape located near to Yiğityatağı. Another similar anomaly is apparently located closer to the 8,000 ft mound itself, hidden under grass for most of the year.

Given that our thesis implicates Yiğityatağı as the literal mound of sunrise depicted in transcultural iconography, texts, and architecture, these two anomalous formations (together with the base of the mound) deserve thorough archaeological investigation. Although the second formation might be explained geologically as a doubly-plunging syncline (essentially a complex fold in the mud) and little more (Snelling 1992), this study suggests that the geological conclusion might just be a premature one. A full-scale excavation should be sought to be undertaken at both sites of interest (if only to fully rule out an anthropological origin for either anomaly). Some creationist groups, such as SEPDAC, appear to be attempting this challenging and expensive endeavour.

Figure 19

Fig. 19. Turok Durupinar’s aerial photograph (1957) of a biconvex formation, clearly like a ship, buried in mud, near the symmetrically twin-peaked Mt. Yiğityatağı.


Should we expect great unity and coherence from pagan sources regarding the landing place of the Ark? To be sure, it is a logical expectation. Given the epoch-making, extinction-level events involved, the traumatic psychological impact they had on Noah's family, and the hopeful dependence the family likely felt as they began repopulating the globe from one mountain, it must have made a huge impression upon their material cultures. Have previous creationist studies looked for this unity and coherence between cultures? Not at any length, until now. Archaeologist Cyprian Broodbank noted that many late twentieth century historians reacted strongly against the assumption that “major innovations necessarily derived from Near Eastern (primarily Egyptian or Mesopotamian) precedents-a 'diffusionist' assumption with its roots in Herodotus . . .” At its worst, wrote Broodbank, this reaction led to “archaeological and intellectual parochialism, a myopia that misses the linkages and parallels that give structure and explanatory coherence to the whole . . . ” (Broodbank 2013, 23). Indeed, such a severe schism existed in 1989 that Watrous opined: “our discipline is deeply divided on the issue of contacts and cultural diffusion . . . . Each side pursues its own agenda and arrives at its preconceived conclusions” (Watrous 1998, 19).

However, to those who are open minded towards a recent global Flood, it is clear from a synthetic appraisal of ICONS 1 and 2 (see Table 1 and Appendix G) that the landing place of the Ark was known to be a sacred twin-peaked mound. This location informed a large part of the ancient mind (and manifested in a visual solar koine). The visual language changed in its cultic symbolism throughout the centuries; yet retained core elements-a symmetrical twin mound, solar or storm deities, an epoch-making Flood and eight ancestral survivors. These eight are linked to Noah's family through numerous lines of visual (and textual) evidence. The Egyptians may well have deified them and understood their victory over the dark watery abyss and their emergence from the Ark as a true rebirth from the dead.

Table 1: A Table to Show Iconography of ICON 1 by Cultural Location & Date
Culture Name of Cosmic Mountain: ICON 1 Direct/Indirect Solar Connotations? Symbolism or Ideogram?
Pre-Dynastic Egyptian Unknown Yes Unknown
Old Kingdom Egyptian Akhet or Khut or Mount of Light or Horizon Yes - Amun & Re Akhet or Khut or Mount of Light or Horizon
Akkadian Duku(g) or “Great Wall of Heaven and Earth” Yes - Shamash Duku(g) “Great Wall of Heaven and Earth”
Sumerian Unknown - U4 Yes - Utu Unknown
Minoan “Horns of consecration” (misinterpretation) Yes - Indirect “Horns of consecration0 (misinterpretation)
Hittite/Syrian Hazzi and Nanni Yes - Indirect Hazzi and Nanni
Ancient Greek Parnassus Yes - Apollo N/A

There is good reason to conclude that past material cultures, across the entire ANE and beyond, speak volumes more than we have previously realised regarding the Genesis Flood. Jacob Bryant's early nineteenth century thesis has been corroborated. If correct, our thesis could transform the way we understand anthropology and the history of religions. It could also narrow down the possible locations in which scant remains of Noah's Ark might still be verified. Dr. Melville Grosvenor, fifty-fifth editor of National Geographic, was emphatic that: “If the ark of Noah is discovered it will be the greatest archaeological find in human history, the greatest event since the resurrection of Christ, and it would alter all the currents of scientific thought” (Cornuke 2005, ix). Whilst this bold prediction might be debatable, the visual riddles of the ancients have begun to speak-and what they are whispering is utterly devastating for Darwin.


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Appendix A: Technical notes for Introduction

  1. As Rebecca Sinos (2009, 65) notes, “Everything that is interesting in archaeology, as in most disciplines, comes of making comparisons and connections. In the study of an individual object, or of the patterns apparent in data, the most significant discoveries come not from careful observation and description (though these are fundamental) but from the interpretations suggested by comparison to other objects or patterns, sometimes like, sometimes unlike. Here is where the archaeologist needs the most imagination and takes the greatest risks.”
  2. The first scholar to suggest the possibility of a religious Flood koine was probably Jacob Bryant of Cambridge University. In 1807, he published A New System; Or An Analysis of Ancient Mythology. Herein, Bryant noted regarding the Gentile history of the Deluge that: “The story had been so inculcated, and the impressions left upon the minds of men were so strong, that they seem to have referred to it continually; and to have made it the principal subject of their religious institutions. . . . in the ancient mythology of Egypt, there were precisely eight Gods: of these the Sun was the chief, and was said first to have reigned. . . . This was the celebrated Ogdoas of Egypt, which their posterity held in such veneration, that they exalted them to the heavens, and made their history the chief subject of the sphere. . . . Thus we find that they esteemed the ark an emblem of the system of the heavens.” (Bryant 1807, 30-73).

Appendix B: Technical Notes for Egypt

  1. For instance, Pyramid Text 1587a-c records: “Greeting to thee, Atum. Greeting to thee, Kheprer . . . 'He who exists of himself'. Thou art high . . . in this thy name of 'Hill'.” And PT 1652a-b reads: “Atum-Khepre, thou wert high . . . as (the) Hill. Thou didst appear as (the) bn-bird of the ben-stone in the House of the bn-bird in Heliopolis.” Out of 759 utterances, 14 seem to refer directly to the ogdoad cosmogony or Primeval Hill: PT §§ 222, 301, 446, 484, 486, 506, 527, 558, 571, 587, 600, 609, 660, and 684. As Brandon explains: “it was believed that out of the original waste of waters there first emerged a hillock or high piece of ground, which was consequently a place of unique significance in Egypt and with which various temples sought to identify their sites. So important was this primeval hill in the process of creation that in our earliest source, as we have seen, Atum himself was actually equated with it . . . In this process of kheper [becoming], some eminence would first have showed itself above the waters, thus acquiring the unique status of being the primeval hill, the first spot of dry land amid the watery abyss. It was at this place that the divine creator, who had himself emerged from Nun, took his stand and began his work.” (Brandon 1963, 19)
  2. Did this Egyptian primeval hill have two symmetrical peaks (as we might expect if the solar koine exerted influence)? One piece of Amratian pottery is admittedly not all that much to go on. Although the Egyptians had at least five different hieroglyphs for their primeval mound, none of which were bifurcated (Clark 1959, 39), we do nevertheless find confirmatory evidence within the Old Kingdom and in later eras of Egyptian history.

    Bilić (2013, 110), for instance, notes that Pyramid Text Utterance 685.2064 describes the king's birth (accompanying Re in the Netherworld) as the splitting apart of two mountains. Early Egyptian temples also represented a sacred landscape with a mound consisting of twin-peaks and a sacred lake representing the cosmic flood of Nun. Wilkinson explains regarding the origins of some early temples (see fig. 20): “provincial cult temples developed without the constraints of the royal architectural tradition . . . The irregularly shaped Archaic and Old Kingdom temple at Medamud, a little north of Thebes, provides an excellent example. . . . the unusual twin mounds of this temple are doubtless rooted in ancient mythic traditions similar to those which inspired the mounds of Hierakonpolis and other early Egyptian sites” (Wilkinson 2000, 21-22). These mounds bear similarity to early mastaba walls, that is, Egyptian tomb walls. Davies and Friedman (2001, 57-58) note that: “By the beginning of the First Dynasty, if not earlier, the mound of sand and rubble heaped on top of a grave, perhaps initially as a marker, had become associated with the primordial mound of creation . . . The second mastaba, encased in a mud-brick wall, was placed above ground, directly over the first.”

    Figure 20

    Fig. 20. Example of Old Kingdom provincial temple mounds (Wilkinson 2000, 22).

    Next, we need to temporarily adopt the worldview of the ancients (and think in terms of sacred landscape). To experts in the field of ICA, this is called cosmic geography or cosmography. As Godawa (n. d. 1) defines it: “Cosmography is a technical term that means a theory that describes and maps the main features of the heavens and the earth. A Cosmography or 'cosmic geography' can be a complex picture of the universe that includes elements like astronomy, geology, and geography; and those elements can include theological implications as well.” This symbolic geography could be superimposed upon real geography or topography by the ancients, to fit various localities. It could also incorporate archaeo-astronomical alignments. Pertinent to this worldview, Queen Isis (on the Inventory Stela, also called the Stela of the Daughter of Cheops) was known as Mistress of the Western Mountain of Hathor and also in the same inscription Mistress of the Pyramid-indicating that the pyramids of Khufu [Greek: Cheops] and Khafre [Greek: Chephren] (originally covered in polished white stone) may have been a huge artificial form of the primeval hill.

    This cosmic landscape interpretation of the early Giza necropolis suggests that the Egyptians built artificial mountains at Giza according to a real, preexisting topography. Indeed, in early dynastic Egypt, an allomorph of the twin-peaked akhet (horizon) hieroglyph (N27, see fig. 21), looking like its Amratian pottery precursor, was encountered upon the Giza plain (fig. 22). Lehner (1997, 130) writes how: “At the summer solstice the sun sets in the same place on the horizon for three days . . . During those . . . days, viewed from the Sphinx Temple, it sets mid-way between the two largest Giza pyramids. . . . the pattern this forms is the hieroglyph for horizon, akhet, the sun between two mountains, writ very large indeed . . .”. This archaeo-astronomical pattern may not be entirely coincidental. Corroboration for this notion is provided by the names given to various elements within the necropolis itself. Akhet can be translated Mountain of Light. This is significant because the Giza complex was known as Kherit-Neter-Akhet-Khufu, meaning the Lower Part of the God Cheop's Two Horizons. Bilić (2013, 111-112) suggests that: “The Sphinx's name was Har-em-akhet [Horus in the Horizon], it is possible that the horizon on which this Horus was placed was precisely Cheops' horizon . . . [that is, it] can be understood as a representation of Horus on a horizon formed by Cheop's and Chephren's pyramid.” This interpretation was confirmed in 1954, through the discovery of a cedarwood boat belonging to pharaoh Cheops, sealed in a pit near the pyramids (Jenkins 1980). Other boats have since been discovered. These boats' function appears to have been exclusively ritualistic. They appear symbolically cognate to the solar barque of the many sun-gods in Egyptian art. Considering these observations, it is certainly easier to follow the retroductive reasoning of Piankoff and interpret the more ancient fig. 3 as the primeval hill of the horizon, where this solar barque was believed to visit in its cyclical journey.
  3. Figure 21

    Fig. 21. The akhet hieroglyph (N27, Unicode Standard 1320C).

    Figure 22

    Fig. 22. The Summer solstice sunset behind the Sphinx (Juan Antonio Belmonte).

  4. Certainly, the phrase “Lord of the Ogdoad” appears in the Sixth Dynasty Pyramid Texts of the burial chamber of Neith (2246-2152 BC) (Allen 2005, 312). Two of the eight's divine pairs (Nun and Naunet, Amun and Amaunet) appear in the Pyramid Texts of Unas (2350 BC) (Silverman 1997, 121). And finally, the entire eight are named individually in these ancient texts as well (Cox 2019, 98, table 3).
  5. Wilkinson (2000, 78) continues: “The gradually decreasing height of the various elements of the standard temple plan towards the rear mimicked this movement, and in most cases the various areas became increasingly less well-lit until almost complete darkness was reached in the shrine itself . . . The pairs of obelisks placed on each side of the entrance pylons were certainly solar-symbolic and thus sometimes dedicated to the morning and evening manifestations of the sun god, but they may also have functioned to some degree as a form of the two mountains of the horizon upon which the pylons themselves were modelled.”

    The fact that the shrine resided in darkness is explained when we recall that the immediate post-Flood world was probably darkened by atmospheric ash (through which only sporadic sunbeams could penetrate). Perhaps such was the enormous impact of this dark floodwater upon the Egyptian psyche, that just such an event could explain why they believed that the sky was a watery region; and the motion of the sun at sunset and sunrise reflooded their world with darkness and light every single day. Perhaps to the Egyptians, every night was considered a reenactment of this watery cataclysm of darkness. Darkness is indeed a frequently encountered motif in world Flood legends.
  6. The earliest complete appearance of the whole Ogdoad in Egyptian art appears to come from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty tombs of El-Bawiti (664-525 BC) in the oasis of Baḥaria; however, textual evidence suggests they were represented earlier in the New Kingdom by eight sun worshipping baboon statues (Gardiner 1948, 21, n. 7; compare Sethe 1929, 44, §85). There are at least three more Egyptian sources corroborating the motif of guardianship worthy of consideration. First, in a magical papyrus relating to the Ogdoad we find the following incantation: “O Egg of the water, source of the earth, product (eggshell) of the Eight, great in heaven and great in the underworld, dweller in the thicket, chief of the Isle of the lake of the Two Knives, I came forth with thee from the water; I came forth with thee from thy nest (thicket).” (Kees 1928, 2, 5; compare Roeder 1959, 36-37).

    Here, the Old Kingdom sun disc symbol has been replaced by an egg allomorph (guarding the internal life within). This is said to have been produced by the Eight. Could this be a reference to the manufacture of the Ark by Noah's family? It is certainly suggestive. Old Kingdom Horus (the falcon-bird) deity (meaning The Distant One) has evidently been replaced by the mood god Thoth (Lord of the Ogdoad and represented by the ibis bird-selected because its long curved beak was thought to resemble the crescent moon). This deity precipitated the flood calamity in Egyptian lore. Chapter 175 of the Book of the Dead attributes to him the following speech: “they have done evil . . . [Therefore] I am going to blot out everything which I have made. This earth shall enter into the watery abyss by means of a raging flood and will become even as it was in primeval time” (Budge 1934, 198). As Brandon (1963, 44) comments: “The incantation seems really to be addressed to the god Thoth, who was imagined in the form of an ibis bird-hence the reference to its habitation or nest in the reed-thicket, hence also the implication that this primaeval egg may have been originally associated with Thoth.” The thicket appears to reference a marshy location as symbolised by the floor of New Kingdom Egyptian temples. We also note that avian imagery predominates. Marinatos (2010, 115-116) elucidates via the solar koine: “We may easily understand why birds are associated with the sun. They are the first to wake up in the morning and greet the emerging disc . . .”. This is how the Egyptians would have portrayed their earliest historical ancestors. Textual support for this is found in fragments of the Royal Canon of Turin, where the earliest rulers are given avian names like Ibis and Goose.

    Second, from a similar Hermopolitan cosmogony of the late sixth century BC we read:

    “thy habitation, at the beginning, was the hillock of Hermopolis. Thou didst touch the earth in the Isle of the Two Knives. Thou didst raise thyself from the waters, out of the secret egg, with Amunet in attendance.” (Sauneron and Yoyotte 1959, 61, 19b), and compare 80, n. 28).

    Notice that in these later Hermopolitan texts, the Old Kingdom twin-peaked Isle of Flames or Horizon-dwellers is now called The Isle of (the lake of) the Two Knives (despite changed emphasis, a dualism remains intact). Perhaps this reference to two knives is alluding to a Minoan double-axe, often found depicted between the two peaks, and demonstrably an allomorph of the sun disc within the solar koine. Regardless, we find the hillock, which is set parallel to the isle, likened to a protective bird's nest-corroborating the motif of guardianship. Extremely important corroboration for the above can be found in the Book of the Dead of Khensu-mose (Khonsu-mes), a priest of Amun from the Twenty-first Dynasty (Silverman 2003, 121) (fig. 17). Here we observe the eight deities of the Ogdoad farming on the twin-peaked mound of the horizon (akhet). This seems to be an iconographic expression of the eight souls saved in the Ark and the transcultural cosmic twin-peaked mountain all in one revealing scene. In this instance, the group of eight appear to be ploughing the ground as farmers (compare Genesis 9:20), a motif identical to that of the Mesopotamian Anunnaki gods of Flood legend on the Hill of Heaven and Earth (where these are said to have created grain). Since we already know that Noah himself inhabited a twin-peaked mound/horizon at the source of the Euphrates, which Sargon of Akkade subsequently found, the presence of seven other family members in this same scene is eminently logical and predictable.

    Third, a relevant reference to ICON 1, knives and serpents occurs together in a single New Kingdom codex called the Papyrus of Nu (Brit. Mus. No. 10,477). Sheets 28, 29 and 30 of this papyrus contain The Fourteen Ȧats [Mounds], or divisions of Sekhet-Ȧanru. Coffin Text 160 in this collection is sourced from the coffins found in Bersha and Asyut. It's vignette (also found in the Book of the Dead, Spell 149) (fig. 23) is translated by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge (1898, 265-266) thus:

    “The fourth Ȧat, wherein is inscribed 'the double mountain, doubly high, and doubly great'. The fourth Ȧat [which is to be painted] green. The Osiris Nu, triumphant, saith: Hail, thou who art chief of the hidden Ȧat. Hail, thou one who art lofty and great, who dwellest in the underworld, over whom the heaven spreadeth itself. Thou art three hundred measures [rods] in length, and two hundred and thirty measures [rods] in width, and thou hast over thee a serpent the name of which is Sati-temui [that is, The Caster of Knives].”

    Figure 23

    Fig. 23. Mound 4 (Spell 149) in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

    Elsewhere in this Papyrus of Nu (sheet 8) we find a vignette relating to the deities Tmu, Sebek and Hathor, which names this mountain: “Now the Mountain of Bakhau (that is, the mountain of the sunrise), whereupon this heaven supports itself, is situated in the eastern part of heaven, and it hath dimensions of three hundred khet . . . in length, and one hundred and fifty khet . . . in breadth; Sebek, the lord of Bakhau, [dwelleth] to the east of the Mountain, and his temple is on the earth there. There is a serpent on the brow of that Mountain, and he measureth thirty cubits in length.” Notice the Serpent earth-creator is here called The Caster of Knives. Given this animal's common association with the twin peaked ICON 1, it is probable that it represents an Egyptian New Kingdom version of the two rising uraei (or spitting cobra snakes) who protected the Old Kingdom Winged Solar-Disk of Elder Horus. The venomous spittle which the cobra launched was clearly analogous to the throwing of knives.

    Incidentally, this New Kingdom evidence concerning ICON 1 may explain a long-standing archaeological puzzle regarding the location of the royal city of Akhetaten. It has long been noted that pharaoh Akhenaten built his city in Middle Egypt in the most bizarre strategic location. Probably the best explanation for his placement of this city in the middle of nowhere is given by Aldred: “when sailing downstream past modern El Amarna . . . the uniform band of distant cliffs on the east bank is interrupted at this point by a prominent gap which is formed by the Royal Wadi in the centre of the encircling hills, so forming a gigantic representation of the hieroglyph akhet . . . this may have been the sign for which the king was searching . . .” (Aldred 1988, 269-270). Akenaten himself claims that his placement of the city was received through a revelation and thus he would not change his mind. And the name of the city: Akhetaten, meaning the Horizon [or habitation] of the Aten, [that is, the sun disc] seems to corroborate this cosmographic explanation. He clearly wanted to locate his city at the cosmic geographical centre of the world, the omphalos or world-navel from whence all life on earth re-emerged. It's real location having become lost over time, he made do with a similar pattern found in the local topography.
  7. As Cox continues: “it becomes apparent that the names of Noah and sons overlap with the Ogdoad male names, with either equivalent meanings, or similar concepts. The restfulness and homely aspects of Noah's name are shared by roots common to nw. The darkness of Ham is shared with Kek. Shem's identity as name is shared with that of Amun, who is hidden (of name), secret, or appears as a root in words for identity. Japheth, meaning enlarged, has similar concepts compared to Heh, which shares its root with 'millions' and 'eternity'. Furthermore, each root nw, kk, jmn, ḥḥ has its own Flood term, which is a noteworthy observation.”
  8. In recording the restoration work which he accomplished there on the temple, he recounts fascinating creation lore: “I reserved a zone about the Great Pool, in order to prevent its being desecrated by the common people; for it is the place where Re was born in the 'First Time', when the earth was still engulfed in Nun. It is indeed the birth-place of all the gods who came into existence at the beginning; it is truly the site where every being was born . . . , for part of the (cosmic) Egg was buried in this place, and here were found all beings who came forth from the Egg.” (Sauneron and Yoyotte 1959, 61, n. 21; compare Roeder 1959, 186, n. c)

    His tomb inscription provides further insights: “(Chmunu) [that is, Eight] the place at which Re arose in the beginning, when the earth was surrounded by the primaeval deep, the birth-place of all the gods who came into being since the time of Re, for all things took their origin in him.”
  9. The language surrounded and engulfed, indicates that it is totally unsustainable to propose that Nun (the inert one) could be seriously understood as the annual flooding resulting from the river Nile. This is deeply intellectually unsatisfying. As Rohl (1998, 336) notes, “this is a cyclical event, witnessed year in year out, whereas Nun represents the eternal waters of chaos. The emergence of the sacred primeval mound was a singular event. The Nile valley setting just seems inappropriate.” Brandon (1963, 20) agrees, “The inundation . . . was an annual spectacle, and it never did cover the high desert lands to the east and west of the Nile valley. Consequently, it is difficult to see how the inundation itself would have caused the Egyptians to believe that once their familiar landscape of the river valley, and high plateaux that bounded it, had been completely submerged beneath an illimitable waste of water. The stimulus to use such imagery must surely have come from some factor of more practical concern, and it would seem that it was supplied by sacerdotal pretension.” Brandon's explanation, however ingenious, smacks of desperation. It either posits that the entire Egyptian priesthood had egomaniacal tendencies, or that they all felt external pressure to grossly exaggerate the sacred myths which they jealously guarded. Yet there is no evidence forthcoming for either of these motivations. A simpler alternative is that via the unique connotations of Nun, the priesthood were recalling the singular global Flood event of Genesis.

    It is also apparent that the New Kingdom incantations we have referenced were actually enacted in a sacred Hermopolitan Festival. Interestingly, Eight-town is here identified cosmographically with the place at which sun-god Re arose (that is, the twin-peaked mound of sunrise). This corroborates the earlier image of the Ogdoad on the twin-peaked mound found in the Third Intermediate Period. Moreover, the horned bovine Flood deity Hathor/Great Flood whom we met in the Old Kingdom is no longer apparent (and neither is the abyss of Nun), yet a temple pool or sacred lake, called mr ds wi (the Sea of the Two Knives), now stands in its place. This still, inert sea, with temple precursors dating to the Old Kingdom, was of adequate size to permit the passage of a ritual boat, carrying the cult-image of the sun god.

    Further reference to the waters, flood or sea surrounding ICON 1 occurs in liturgical texts of the Ptolemaic period (concerned with the offering to the sun god of a jewelled replica of a lotus): “Receive this god (who is) at the heart of his piece of water, which sprouted from your body (O ye Eight!). The great lotus, come forth from the Great Pool, which inaugurated the light, in the First Time . . . You behold its light, you breathe its perfume, your nostrils are filled with it. It is your son, who produced himself as an infant, illuminating the land with his two eyes . . . I bring to you the lotus, come from the marsh-land, the eye of Re in person in his marsh-land, he who summed in himself the Ancestors; who created the Former Gods and made all that exists in this land . . . Opening his two eyes, he illumined the Two Lands, he separated day from night. The gods came forth from his mouth and mankind from his eyes. All things took their birth from him, the child (who shines) in the lotus and whose rays cause all beings to live” (Sauneron and Yovotte 1959, 58-59, 16b). Observe how the cosmic egg is replaced in this Thebean cultic evolution by the lotus flower. Writes Ions (1997, 29-30): “The lotus is a flower which opens and closes every day: it could therefore easily be associated with the cult of the sun god, which it bore within its petals.” The image of the water resistant lotus flower might even be said to allude to the strongly hydrophobic pitch covering which Noah applied to the inside and outside of the Ark vessel before it was swept up.
  10. What biblical reasons might there be to justify the reading of Egyptian creation accounts as encoded global Flood accounts? First, the literary vein or genre that these creation accounts occupy is cultic literature and therefore they should be interpreted as such through the lens of cosmic mountain ideology. The Genesis account, it is presupposed here, is the inerrant, divinely inspired and most ancient historical proto-text, which subsequent pagan recollections embellished and corrupted over time. Significantly, Morales (2012, 168-175) and Kline (2006, 87-90) have drawn attention to the Genesis Flood narratives recapitulation of Genesis creation narrative and to the many parallels by which the mountain(s) of Ararat can be considered a cosmic mountain. Kline notes that God's acceptation of Noah's burnt offerings indicates His divine presence on the mount. It also seems to be the place where the “effective decree” of God's preservation of the cosmos issues forth in covenant (Genesis 8:21-22). McCann (2013, 124) also likens the mountain(s) of Ararat to the primordial hillock emerging from the waters in the new creation of the post-diluvial world. It can therefore be argued that if the book of Genesis contains internal evidence that the Flood event was a recapitulation of creation, it might be expected that pagans (both before and after the composition of Genesis by Moses) would themselves interpret the Flood as a protological origins story in their temple art and literature.
  11. The Ogdoad-comprised of four males with frog heads and four females with snake heads-are found painted on a detail from the Astronomical Ceiling at the Dendera Temple complex (otherwise known as, the Temple of Hathor at Iunet), first strip west (fig. 24); and they are depicted flanking the solar barque upon the sarcophagus of Wereshnefer (380-300 BC) (Ransom 1914, 118-119). For completion, we also note their rare appearance in the Book of the Fayum (fig. 25) (Tait 2003, 185; compare Beinlich 1991.). This imagery appears to represent the eight ancestors as frogs and snakes (reptilians) because the hill upon which they were spawned was surrounded by mud and chaos. This forms yet another parallel with the portrayal of Sumerian Anunnaki gods of the Flood story, who are also often depicted with reptilian features. We might see here a tacit reference to the drying out of the earth mentioned in Genesis 8:13-14 and the boggy marsh flora depicted on Egyptian temple floors (which eventually grew in this muddy environment).
  12. Figure 24

    Fig. 24. Detail from the astronomical ceiling at the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, first strip west (Olaf Tausch).

    Figure 25

    Fig. 25. Detail from the astronomical ceiling at the Temple of Hathor at Dendera as in the Book of the Fayum.

  13. In his Moralia, Plutarch writes: “The wood which they cut on the occasions called the 'burials of [sun god] Osiris' they fashion into a crescent-shaped coffer because of the fact that the moon, when it comes near the sun, becomes crescent-shaped and disappears from our sight.” (Babbitt 1936, 103-104). “[The bovine] Apis, they say, is the animated image of Osiris, and he is conceived when a generative light falls strongly from the Moon, and touches a cow that is in heat; for which cause many of the decorations of Apis resemble the appearances of the Moon; for he blackens over his shining parts with dusky robes, because it is on the new moon of the month Phamenath that they hold the festival, called by them 'the Entrance of Osiris into the Moon'; being the commencement of spring. Thus they place the power of Osiris within the Moon, and say that Isis, being cause of his birth is also his consort.” (King 1908, 37)

    Griffiths remarks that there is no festival by that name in any known Egyptian calendar. However, there are texts from the temple at Denderah which show (sun god) Osiris in a boat with Isis, and explain that Osiris is entering into the Left Eye (a designation for the moon). Spring is not mentioned, but Osiris is said to do His entering on the fifteenth of the month, at the full moon (Griffiths 1970, 463). This is highly significant because the goddess Isis is frequently portrayed with bovine horns atop her head, which are an allomorph of the cosmic mountain.

    Plutarch continues:

    “on the nineteenth at night they go down to the sea, and the 'Dressers' and priests bring out the sacred coffer containing a little golden ark [or βᾶρις], into which they take and pour water from the river, and a shout is raised by the assistants, as though Osiris had been found: next, they knead garden earth with this water, and mingling therewith frankincense and precious spices, they model a little image in the shape of the Moon, and this they robe and decorate, expressing thereby that they hold these deities to be the Principles of Earth and Water” (King 1908, 34).

    Here we discover another alternative representation of the twin-peaked mound. Not only are the sacred horns of the cow deity Great Flood and the Minoan bull an allomorph of the twin-mound, but also the crescent moon (perhaps influenced by the Sumerian moon god Nanna/Suen/Sin and Egyptian moon god Thoth). Here, we appear to be encountering a later evolution of the primeval hill cosmogony.
  14. Appendix C: Technical Notes for Mesopotamia and ANE

    1. Collon (2005, 165) notes that the Mesopotamian sun-god Shamash (or Šamaš) rose from under a twin-peaked mound. For other examples compare Bilić (2013, 113-115) who reviews at least ten references to the twin peaked hill from early Mesopotamian literature; also Black and Green (2000, 183-184); Boehmer (1965, 392-415); and Woods (2004, 55-58, figures 21-24). Marinatos (2010, 109) further confirms this: “On Akkadian seals, [she writes] the sun god Shamash habitually rises between the twin peaks of a mountain” (fig. 26). Importantly, Sjöberg (2002, 234, n. 9) comments that Alexander Heidel, in his book The Babylonian Genesis, renders the first line of KAR 4: u4 an ki-ta tab gi-na bad-a-ta eš-a-[ba] as: “When heaven had been separated from the earth, the distant trusty twin,” “understanding (continues Sjöberg) tab as twin following a suggestion by Jacobsen. If the translation is correct, then there was a conception, otherwise not known to us, of An-Heaven and Ki-Earth as twins.” Alternatively, however, the the trusty twin reference could signify the symmetric (hence trusty) bifurcated geomorphology of the cosmic mound itself. This would place The Babylonian Genesis in the same genre as cosmic mountain ideology.
    2. Figure 26

      Fig. 26. Akkadian cylinder seals, showing sun-god Shamash arising from between the twin peaks (note the two-faced Janus bottom right, who may represent Noah) (Marinatos 2010, 111).

    3. This destiny/fate motif is reminiscent of the Sumerian seal of Adda, where the sun-god Šamaš, rising from between the twin-peaks, is holding a saw in one hand. As Woods suggests: “the šaššaru-saw is symbolic of the cutting of judgements, di-kud, that Šamaš executes, and the cutting of fates, nam-tar, that Šamaš facilitates, on the eastern horizon” (Woods 2009, 218). We may infer that fate of all terrestrial life would have appeared in flux during the Flood, which explains why the horizon mound where all fears were relieved was held so sacred. As Woods points out: “The very act of determining a destiny or rendering a judgement represents the crossing of the boundary between the darkness of what is in flux and undecided and the daylight of what is fixed and established. And so there is a natural association with the horizon, which is itself a separation, a determination.” (Woods 2009, 215-216).
    4. As Albright (1919, 179) comments: “Mount Ḫašur, with the appellative šad erini, the cedar mountain, is mentioned between Ḫamanu, Amanus, and Labnanu, Lebannon” And in his following footnote 3, he writes: “In the Zû-myth the bird makes his perch on Ḡa-šur nu-zu-kúr-ra-gè (CT, XV, 42 and 43), 'Ḫašur, the unknown among mountains,' in the far north, corresponding to the Iranian Harâ berezaiti.” Importantly, since the horizon, the place where heaven and earth embrace, is synonymous with the mountain of the (pure) spring, and this name is in turn synonymous with the mountain of cedars, our identification, based upon these sources, appears logically coherent. Indeed, a spring of river water (the Euphrates?) can clearly be seen coming from below (or behind) one of the twin-peaks on an Old Babylonian cylinder seal pictured in the lower image of fig. 26 (from Marinatos (2010, 111, fig. 8.9) and flowing out of the god Enki, personification of the sweet water Apsû. A second river (the Tigris?) flows out from this god-figure from a different spring. (The flow direction is apparent from the fact that fish tend to swim upstream (not down) to maintain a stationary position in the water). This would seem to corroborate the thesis of Albright (1919, 166; 1922, 25), who places the original mouth of the rivers or outflowing (where the hero UD-napištim was translated to by the gods whilst still aboard the Ark) not in the Persian gulf, but rather in the underworld, the source of terrestrial fresh water; which in turn, is located beneath the northern cosmic mountain at the sacred source of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Armenia/Kurdistan.
    5. Finkel's Ark Tablet is a tantalising object. Within it, the Ark itself and the sun disc (ICON 2) seem to cohere through their identical morphology. Lines 6-8 of the tablet contain the Akkadian syllabograms and Sumerian logograms: “MÁ (ideogram) = eleppu, boat; epēšu, to make; eṣēru, to draw; eṣirtu, design; kippatu, circle, mitḫuru, to be the same; šiddu, length; u, and; pūtu, breadth (Finkel 2014, 358-359). This transliteration need not imply that the Ark was a circular coracle basket as Finkel himself speculates, since a) this notion is quite unbiblical and b) the deity Enki would hardly tell Atra-hasīs (literally exceedingly wise) that a circle has equal length and breadth! Instead, it implies that a circle design was associated with the blueprint of the Ark in ANE thought (for instance, a circle design could imply two equal overlapping circles forming a biconvex vesica piscis [or Babylonian makurru] shape in their midst) (Finkel 2014, 121). Recall that in First Dynasty Egypt, a winged solar disc was allomorphic with a winged solar barque. The Ark, therefore, may have had a biconvex blueprint drawn on the ground (compare Frazer 1923, 53-54 for Noah's ground plan request directed toward his deity in the Epic of Atra-hasīs); and this design does not conflict with the dimensions given in the Holy Bible, since vessels can be specified in these terms (300 × 50 × 30 cubits) despite their shape at the extremities. Intriguingly, after many years of study Egyptologist Robert Temple seems to have deciphered exactly this shape tacitly encoded into the archaeo-astronomical geometric-plan of the Giza necropolis (fig. 27) (Temple 2011, 34). Notice that the image formed is equivalent to a biconvex Ark outlined between two mountain peaks (represented by the two great pyramids). Corroborating this view is not just the cosmographic horizon argument employed earlier, but also a Phoenician bronze model of what appears to be Noah's Ark, possessing just this biconvex shape, found in an Etruscan tomb in 1886 (Carus 1901, 510-512).
    6. Figure 27

      Fig. 27. A vesica piscis discerned in the archaeo-astronomical plan of the Giza necropolis and the shadows which it casts (Temple 2011, 34).

    7. Tsevat has related Trġzz and Ṯrmg to the mountains at the entrance of the underworld between which the sun passes every morning (and evening) on its daily course. He finds phonetic links between the two mountain names, the Hurrian sun-god Shimegi, the realm of the sun and the ruler of the underworld. Corroborating Petrosyan, he connects the name of the cosmic mountain in the Standard Assyrian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh (Mt. Mashu or Māšu, tablet IX, line 38) with the Urgarit version Mt. tlm (if related to Akkadian talimu) both of which can mean twins (Tsevat 1974, 71-75; compare Dietrich, Loretz, and Sanmartín 1976, 1-4; Smith 1994, 63). This is also confirmatory of Jacobsen's translation of tab as twin in KAR 4 (and for a later Egyptian instance compare Jelinková 1962, 49, n. mm).
    8. During the latter stages of the Flood, there would have been hundreds of (ultraplinian-type) volcanic eruptions. These eruptions would have blotted out most natural daylight. After the eruption of Krakatoa in AD 1883, skies all over the world were noticeably darker for more than two years. Average global temperatures fell because ash particles reflected the sun's rays back into space. Such effects would have been multiplied in a global cataclysm (and would explain the subsequent Ice Age within a creationist framework).
    9. In his concluding remarks, Lipinski (1971, 69) writes: “[The deity] . . . El was . . . venerated as the patron of navigators on Ğebel el-Aqraʽ, the ancient Mount Ṣapān, which became subsequently the mountain of the Storm-god Baʽal. It does not seem, nevertheless, that this mountain was ever conceived as the Mount of the divine Assembly.” In this latter point he is probably mistaken, however, since as Roberts (1975, 556) has subsequently affirmed of Isaiah 14:13b (and I shall sit on the Mount of Assembly, in the recesses of Saphon [recesses implying a bifurcation]), “Ṣāpôn here is clearly parallel to the hr mw'd 'mount of assembly', and hence should be understood in its well-attested meaning as the name of a particular sacred mountain.” Of course, not Noah's original mountain in Dilmun, but one which local topographical criteria made it possible to superimpose the original upon. Twin-peaked Ğebel el-Aqraʽ in Syria being the obvious candidate for the superimposition of the cosmic geography, given the locality of Isaiah at the time his book was written. Suriano (2012, 215, n. 22) also highlights “the two tells (at) the boundary of the netherworld” in the Baʻal Cycle and links the inherently destructive term tell to a “time-space notion of the primordial past (the deluge/flood) materialized in the present” (as in the term tell of the deluge found in royal Assyrian inscriptions of royal conquest). Notice that in all these instances the twin-peaked cosmic mountain is closely associated with glorious victory over great waters. There was, it seems, a clear transcultural memory of the global deluge across the ancient world, which even entered common parlance between seasoned oceanic navigators and between warring kings.
    10. As is often the case in interpreting cuneiform, context is key, and as Finkel (2014, 280) highlights: “the Babylonian root behind it, naṣāru, to guard, protect, makes very good sense given the emphasis in this very Gilgamesh passage on how the mountain holds the Ark fast”. Here we should consider the destructive power of ebbing and flowing water (compare going and returning of Genesis 8:3) and note that ancient wooden vessels were far weaker than modern steel vessels. We should also note that the historian Alexander Polyhistor, in the first century BC, records how that the vessel was driven to/stranded upon “the side of some mountain” (Cory and Hodges 1876, 62). This phrase implies the same idea. As we have seen, Mt. Mashu in Tablet IX is described as a guardian or protector of the rising sun or sun-god. Gilgamesh encounters lions just before arriving at Mt. Mashu, an animal we know is cognate to ICON 1's guardian role in the koine (Martinov 2014, 6).
    11. During the Persian Empire we find iconography of a god-figure protected by two wings associated with the spirit of Zoroaster, named Ahura-Mazda (literally Light-Wisdom) (Briant 2002, 247-250). It is possible the Iranians adopted their imagery from Noah, via the ancient Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, and Persian sun deities. The Persian (Avestan) Chinvat Bridge and Mount Harā bərəzaitī seem to replicate many of the same motifs we have already encountered-especially guardianship. Certainly, Harā may be interpreted as watch or guard, from Indo-European ser, meaning protect (Eilers 1985, 810-811). And predictably, volcanic Mount Elbrus (in the Caucasus mountain range), which derives its name from a sound metathesis of the earlier Avestan name, does indeed have two symmetrical peaks-as can be seen from any clear photograph taken of the summit.

    Appendix D: Technical notes for Anatolia/Syria/Canaan

    1. In this paper, Rutherford (1999, 603) comments that in a related Hittite text, KBo 26.105, “The sea is doing something (l. 7': kuit essai arunas); there is a flood (l. 9': karittis), which seems to reach the heaven (ll. 10'-12') . . . the flood climbs up to earth, the flood rises . . . It reaches the sun, the moon and the stars (ll. 12'-13'). Kumarbi speaks, as in the Song of the Sea (l. 14'). And someone (Kumarbi?) orders that tribute is paid to the Sea (l. 17').” Here in this related Hittite song, we find solar and lunar symbolism relevant to ICON 2 associated with a cosmic flood and two separate sacred mounds. Judging by Gilgamesh, the shift from a singular mound to plural mounds draws attention away from the whole mound and towards the parts (or peaks) (Tsevat 1974, 74 and compare Lewy and Lewy 1943, 13, n. 51).
    2. Yasur-Landau (2017) continues: “In front of the god is a winged sun disc or a bird, below which are a goat and a ship with two rowers and a mast. Secondary motifs include a bull standing above a guilloche, with a lion, a bird, and a serpent on a podium below it. . . . the source for the iconography of a god on top of two mountains is Old Syrian. Thus, for example, a Syrian cylinder seal in the British Museum shows a weather god with a long curl, armed with a mace in one hand and an axe and a throwing stick (or a bow?) in the other. He is depicted standing on two mountains. A seal in the Pierpont Morgan Library also shows a god armed with a mace standing on two mountain tops. Another Middle Bronze Age cylinder seal from the Metropolitan Museum shows the striding god smiting a snake. But what mountains are depicted, and how are they connected with the boat on the Dab'a seal?” This question is where the superimposition of sacred 'cosmic geography' upon topographically similar locales across the world becomes applicable.

    Appendix E: Technical notes for the Aegean

    1. Yet what of the curious problem, observed by Weingarten (2012), that: “the Minoans never insert a sun disc between the peaks . . . ?” Hazzidakis (1934, 104) attempts to explain this koine anomaly rather weakly by arguing for the superstition of the Minoans. Banou (2008), on the other hand, concludes that: “A review of the available evidence makes clear that an exact parallel does not exist. Nevertheless, an indirect connection may be pointed out on the basis of a combination of 'horns of consecration' with discs to be found on an impressive category of female idols, that of the so-called 'Goddess with Upraised Arms' . . . dated to the Postpalatial period, from the end of the LMIIIB to the Subminoan period.” This idol pose (morphologically cognate to ICON 1) is perhaps best explained through its chronological precedent in the Egyptian air god-figure Shu, who held up the heavenly-bovine-water goddess Nut/Hathor/Great Flood and prevented the sky from falling. Bilić (2013, 108) finds a close approximation to the horizon in a snake tube from Gournia, Crete, “which has the 'horns of consecration' with a (slightly off-centre) disk between them topping the handle”. Considering these examples, it is wise not to lose sight of the fact that Minoan peak sanctuaries were orientated towards the sunrise at the summer solstice. Therefore, their horns of consecration probably incorporated an archaeo-astronomical (real) sun, albeit only at special calendrical occasions (Henriksson and Blomberg 2008). Furthermore, it should be recognised that ICON 2 had numerous solar allomorphs and that these are often found between the Cretan forms of ICON 1. Watrous (1989, 23) notes that scaraboid beetle figurines (associated with the Egyptian sun-god Ra and representing the sun disc) were dedicated at Cretan peak sanctuaries. And it is telling that Weingarten herself admits: “branches or a double axe, or even (once) a male figure” are inserted inside ICON 1, yet she significantly omits to note how each of these icons function as allomorphs of the sun within the koine. In Crete, a double-axe, a lily, or a rosette were allomorphic with the sun. In Egypt it could be expressed as “a winged disc, a falcon, a beetle, a child emerging from the lotus plant, even an eye” (Hornung 1982, 125-135; Marinatos 2010, 129; Wilkinson 1992, 57, 127). To these alternatives could be added-an ankh (knot) and a barque (or biconvex boat).
    2. In Egypt, the twin-peaked mound was a gate to the Duat (Celestial Waterway) and the Underworld (watery abode of the dead) and was guarded by a Double-Lion guardian called Aker (or Rwty) (Faulkner 1972, 45): “I [Pharaoh] arrive at the Island of the Horizon-dwellers. I go out from the holy gate.” [Spell 17]; Spell 68 also has the deceased opening the gates between the vault of heaven and the akhet horizon of the twin peaks. Marinatos explains: “[concerning] the sacred animals of Minoan imagery: lions, griffins, and sphinxes. Their function was to guard deities or their aniconic manifestation, the sacred pillar. In Egypt, the function of lions was to guard the gates of the sun between the two mountains of the horizon. . . Egypt's twin lions flanking the sun disc were paralleled by Minoan lions flanking the sun on a seal from Crete . . . A seal impression with the same theme was found later at Knossos by Evans” (Marinatos 2009, 23 and compare Alford 1998, 283; Wilkinson 1992, 133; Temple 2011, 318-321).

    Appendix F: Technical Notes for Later Historians

    1. As Anthony Van Der Sluijs (2011, 208) observes, the essayist Lucian of Samosata (c. 125-after 180), in his description of the temple of Hierapolis in Syria, wrote that: “In this entrance those [two] phalli stand which Dionysus erected: they stand thirty fathoms high. Into one of these a man mounts twice every year, and he abides on the summit of the phallus for the space of seven days. The reason of this ascent is given as follows: . . . this takes place in memory of the great calamity of Deukalion's time, when men climbed up to mountain tops and to the highest trees, in terror of the mass of waters.” Scott (1939, 143-144) puts Lucian's comment into ANE context: “S. A. Cook notes that two such pillars were found at the entrance to the temple at Byblos dating from c. 1500 B. C., two stones at the entrance to the temple at Shechem, and two square structures before a temple at Si' in Transjordania. Watzinger draws attention to the three temples at Khorsabad with pillar-bases on either side of their thresholds, Leslie notes the same feature at Taanach, and H. G. May has pointed out to the writer that it is found also at Tell Tainat. Graphic representations of twin pillars standing clear of a temple structure are found on coins of the first century A. D. from Cyprus, Sardis, Pergamum and Sidon, in a clay model of a temple from Idalion (Dali) in Cyprus, in a relief from Carthage, and on a gilded glass bowl of the third-fourth century A. D. representing Solomon's temple, found in a Jewish burial place at Rome. Literary references include the mention by Lucian (28 f.) of twin pillars at Heliopolis, by Posidonius of two inscribed columns of bronze in the Herakleion at Gadeira, and by Herodotus of two pillars in the sanctuary of Herakles at Tyre, “one of pure gold, the other of emerald, shining with great brilliancy at night.” “Various explanations of the nature of these pillars have been offered. . . . [Some] have held that the pillars were . . . symbols of the two mountains from between which the sun-god came forth. Hollis' discussion of the solar elements in the plan of Solomon's temple suggests some connection with Egyptian obelisks, early forms of which were surmounted by a disc or sphere, like the bowls or globes at the top of the Jerusalem pillars.”
    2. Corroboration for this interpretation comes from the shared motif of floating found in the etymology of Mount Saphon (Wyatt 2014, 103) mentioned in several biblical books. As we saw in our discussion of Thunder god ideology amongst the Hittites, Mount Saphon (or Zaphon), later identified with the Greek twin peaks of Kasion and Anti-Kasion, (that is, modern Jebel el-Aqra on the Levantine coast), was identified with Akkadian Mount Ḫazzi (Lipinski 1971, 58-59). In the Hittite tradition this latter mountain is the seat of the storm-god Teššup, and the place of his victory over the sea. Lipinski (1971, 61-62), discusses his favoured etymology: “the nominal pattern ṣapān/ṣapānu points to a biconsonantal root ṣp with the ending -ān/-ānu, which occurs especially in abstract nouns. The verb would be ṣūp, « to float », and the noun ṣapān would accordingly mean « floating ». The word seems to have still that sense in Ez. 32:30, where the nesīkê ṣāpōn are paralleled by the ṣidōnī(m), which are here the Phoenicians in general. The nesīkê ṣāpōn are thus likely to be the « princes of floating », [or] « of navigation ». The original meaning of ṣāpōn, in a concrete acception, may be attested also in Job 26:7, where ṣāpōn, paralleled by ʼereṣ, would characterize the earth as « floating » on the waters [of chaos]. It may reasonably be inferred therefore that ʼil ṣpn was the « god of floating », [or] the divine patron of navigators. Similarly, bʽl ṣpn was the « lord of floating ».” The latter could easily serve as an epithet for Noah. Therefore, Nonnus, in his relation of the obscure Tyrian origin myth about two floating rocks, was probably drawing upon an old Phoenician tradition which can be traced, through Job's mount ṣāpōn (Job 26:7) to the recesses of Noah's twin-peaked mound (implicit, at least, in Genesis 8:4).
    3. As Meyers (1983, 178) points out regarding his rationale for the latter interpretation: “The god steps out on his mountain peaks, sun rays streaming from his shoulders, master of his heavenly abode. . . . In . . . mythic scene, the god enthroned in his celestial palace appears seated between tall posts or standards, representing the structure in which his throne of repose is situated. The other kind of scene, depicting cultic activity, shares with the mythic motifs the convention of twin pillars standing for a whole building. . . . they convey the idea that the earthly temple, indicated in pars pro toto fashion by the gated entryway, is to be identified with the god's cosmic abode.”

    Appendix G: A Summary of Proposed Allomorphs, Morphologically Cognate Icons and Shared Motifs within the Koine

    ICON 1

    The Twin-Peaked Mountain/Mound/Island of Sun-rise(set)-understood as a solar 'carrier/protector/guardian/sanctuary/gateway/rising land'.


    Egyptian primeval mound and ben-stone; Minoan horns of consecration; Minoan hieroglyphic sign 37; high-prowed boat/baris; Sumerian crescent standard; Egyptian mountain and horizon hieroglyphic signs djew (N26) and akhet (N27) respectively; the horns of Egyptian deities Nut, Isis, Hathor & Mehet-Weret; the Egyptian incurved pillar/altar/head-rest; Cheshire crescent moon of Thoth; Ra's left (lunar) eye.

    ICON 2

    The (Winged) Sun Disc (of the Horizon)-understood as resurrection life (ka)/life saver or preserver/regenerative potential and rebirth; a heroic king figure and Noah's ark (tebah).


    Hermopolitan cosmic egg; the Egyptian ankh symbol; heroic solar kings Elder Horus (Falcon), Re, Amun, Amun-Re, Ptah, Utu, Shamash, Shimegi, Baal, An; the tree of life cedar or solar palm; sacred pillar of Asherah; Minoan double-axe (morning phase); scaraboid beetle (morning phase); Thebean lotus flower; high-prowed boat/baris/ark/tebah; Ra's right (solar) eye; the Egyptian bn-bird and later Greek phoenix-bird; the Syrian rosette; Ra's Funerary ship of Heaven; Funerary ship of Sokar/Osiris.

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Ruminating on Created Kinds and Ark Kinds

Chad Arment • Nov. 30, 2022

Understanding the relationship between created kinds and Ark kinds is a key issue in creation science, especially as it has bearing on the Flood/post-Flood boundary debate.


  1. Although Korom (1992) has provided a partial historical critique of this ideology for balance, thus far, the cosmic mountain component of the solar koine is uncontested. Many scholars of the ancient Near East (henceforth ANE), who specialise in ICA and the history of religions, acknowledge its explanatory value, but remain hard-pressed to explain its trans-cultural origin.
  2. This may not be the only location which corresponds to said pattern, but such a notion would require a wide geographical and topographical search which is beyond the remit of this paper. Here, we limit it to five major contenders found in the relevant literature.
  3. His translation seems reasonable because the sign he found appears to be an archaic variant of the Sumerian pictogram containing three semi-circles placed in triangular arrangement, which according to Kramer does represent the word kur or “mountain” (Kramer 1961, 17). Compare column 1 and row 5 of “Figure 1: The Origin and Development of the Sumerian System of Writing” in Kramer and note 18, page 110.
  4. Brandon 1963, 15. (Incidentally, this association with the dead is apposite because many linguists and lexicons link the Mosaic Hebrew word for Noah’s Ark—tebah—with the Egyptian db’t, chest, box, coffin).
  5. Hathor had the nickname Iunet—She of the Pillar. This pillar represented a bond between heaven and earth. A similar idea occurs in Mesopotamian Dur-An-Ki (Bond-Heaven-Earth), a notion linked to the construction of ziggurats.
  6. This color would place it in a globally attested omphalos context, for example, the floating Hindu white island (Shweta-dwipa); the lost Toltec white island of Tula; mount Ararat denominated Laban—the mountain of the (white) moon; the Egyptian benben, said to have originated from a drop of Atum’s (white) semen which fell into the ocean; the white omphalos stone of Delphi; the (white) pearl mountain Kwen-Lun of Chinese mythology (see Fracasso 1981, 194–215 on this myth); the originating Place of Whiteness called Aztlan in Aztec myth; the great white mountain, Tê Pek San, of the Koreans.
  7. Lipinski seems to conflate the mountain of darkness with the (dark) tunnel at the source of the Tigris. It is more appropriate to attribute the darkness to another factor like the dense (surrounding) cedar forest as Sargon II himself does, or the fact that the mountain abode of El simultaneously acts as a medium of transition to the (dark) underworld.
  8. As the Egyptian Hymn to Re relates: “Thou risest in Heaven’s horizon, and thy disk is adored when it resteth upon the mountain to give life unto the world”.
  9. Compare the mention of an island in the Gilgamesh Epic found in Frazer (1923, 52). Also compare: “Thou (Ra) didst touch the earth in the Isle of the Two Knives” (Wyatt 2001, 59) and chapter 108 of the Book of the Dead: “. . . the Mountain of Bakhau (Sunrise), whereupon this heaven supports itself . . . . There is a serpent on the brow of that Mountain . . . . Now after Ra hath stood still he inclineth his eyes towards him and a stoppage of the boat of Ra taketh place . . . .”
  10. For more detail on Apollo and the Omphalos, refer to Chapter 10 of Hobley (2015) and Chapter 7 of Skully (2013).
  11. These wall inscriptions mentioning the reed represent a far older Egyptian tradition where the Ark was a composite wood-reed vessel. The names of the eight Shebtiw (or Senior Ones) are recorded as: The Far Distant (wa), the Great (aa), the Sailor (nay), The Sanctified of Head (djeser tep), the Serpent-Creator of the Earth (kema sa ta), the Lord of the Twin Hearts (neb haty), the Lord of Life and Dominion (neb ankh was) and the Mighty-chested Lord who made slaughter; the Spirit who lives on blood (neb sekhem haut ary adjy ba ankh em senef) (Jelinková 1962, 51).

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