Long answer: The Chinese team from Hong Kong have details and photos on their website Noah's Ark Ministries International (NAMI). ABC News has a story on the event, and WorldNetDaily cover it with some notes of caution by various interests. A degree of caution is warranted given previous claims by various Ark hunters.
Randall Price of World of the Bible Ministries sent out an email to his regular readers which is now available online. Price has clarified his opinion now that the email has been more widely available. NAMI have responded to Price's email.
My thoughts. I am convinced that Noah built a large 3 levelled barge about 4,500 years ago. The Bible states that it landed in the mountains of Ararat. As to finding it now there are a multitude of issues.
Where did it land? The general area of Ararat is very large. Also called Urartu it extends from Turkey into modern Iran and Iraq, and several locations have been proposed: Alborz mountains, Iran; Cudi Dagh (pdf) (near Cizre) in the Gordyene mountains, Turkey; Greater Mount Ararat, Turkey; and Lesser Mount Ararat. I currently favour Greater Mount Ararat as the landing place, the same site of the NAMI claims.
Has the ark survived? Was in used for wood in building houses and for fuel soon after the Flood? If not was it preserved from the elements? I am not certain how long the pitch would have protected the Ark. If it was located on Ararat it may have been surrounded in ice within a couple of centuries, especially by the time of the Ice-age. Whether it has remained encased in ice since then is not certain. Even so, the cold has likely preserved it somewhat, even if ice shifting may have caused structural damage.
One of the concerns I have about the repeated claims is the scepticism that it breeds for a true discovery. People get so used to dismissing implausible or fraudulent claims that truth is ignored. People involved in Ark searches should maximise discussion with others in the field and confirm their findings rather than being so quick to publicise them.
Two previous claims that I am dismissive of are the boat shaped formation on lesser Ararat as proposed by Ron Wyatt, and the rock formation at Mount Suleiman, Iran that was supposedly petrified wood.
The boat shaped formation is a natural formation. It may be about the right size but is the wrong shape. Even one of the original promoters of this site changed his mind.
The rock formation in Iran discovered by Bob Cornuke from the BASE institute apparently contains some petrified wood, and fossilised marine animals are found nearby. Neither of which bear much relevance. Petrification needs a significant exposure to mineralised water. If this was the Ark it would be incompletely petrified (if at all) and hollow. This object is another natural formation.
What of NAMI's find? Assuming it is not a hoax, that is, a deliberate fraud by the team or their Armenian guides. They note
- 7 areas found and explored
- Located at 4000 metres
- Wooden structure
- Tenons (and mortice), no metal nails
- Planks 8 inches wide
- Solid wood staircase
- Wood carbon dated 4800 years old
I favour the general location and the non-petrified wood. I am uncertain about the suggestion that it contains spider webs whether or not it should at that altitude. The thing that I am most suspicious of however is the carbon dating. I place the Ark landing about 2300 BC, nearly 4500 years ago. Though this is close enough to the date, for various reasons I would expect wood only 5000 years old to carbon date perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 years old, or possibly older. Thus the structure does not seem ancient enough to be Noah's Ark.