Ancient Discoveries on Trial

Part 4: Did Ron Wyatt find the Red Sea Crossing?

Jim Allen

After researching the route that the Israelites took in their exodus from Egypt, Ron Wyatt found that the biblical description fitted perfectly with a deep gorge called Wadi Watir. The book of Exodus explains how God led the children of Israel, not through the way of the land of the Philistines although that was near...but God led the people about through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea (Exodus 13:17, 18). [4.1]
This particular discovery became interesting when Wyatt and his sons scuba dove to bring back photographs of what appeared to be chariot wheels (covered in coral) scattered along the bottom of the Gulf of Aquaba. Photographs of the four and six spoke wheels show they are consistent with the Egyptian period. Among the photographs is an eight-spoke wheel less known for that period but also a wheel design for the time. Wyatt also found a column, another clue he used to confirm Wadi Watir as the Red Sea crossing.

Truth or Fiction, a website, said about Wyatt's claim:
During his first visit to Nuweiba in 1978 he found a large column lying on the beach that looked like an ancient artifact. Later he found that it had been set up by Egyptian authorities in concrete for display. He believed it to be a marker set up by King Solomon to note the Red Sea crossing. It was on that same trip in 1978 that Wyatt found what he said were the remains of chariots and chariot wheels at the bottom of the sea. The wheels were heavily covered with coral. Wyatt claimed to have retrieved one of the wheels and said an Egyptian authority declared that it was from the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt, but nobody seems to know where that chariot wheel is now located." [4.2]
One of the ongoing arguments against "all" of Wyatt's alleged discoveries, and especially that of the Ark of the Covenant, is the lack of evidence to prove any of it is true. Are the missing artifacts and questionable sites nothing more than the imaginary whims of Wyatt? The minds of men are resourceful in this way, able to imagine all sorts of things to be true when in fact none of it may be true or even possible.
Richard Rives, the president of Wyatt Archeological Research in Tennessee, told journalist Joe Kovacs, 'All kinds of people are finding coral and calling it chariot parts. Wyatt's wife, Mary Nell, told Kovacs the same. She went diving with Wyatt at the Red Sea site and said that at first she thought everything was a chariot wheel.' [4.3]
If what Wyatt found is factual, Egyptian authorities including representatives from the Museum in Cairo would have gone to the site, confirmed the findings, secured the site, and then excavated the site of its valuable artifacts. Such a find would have been newsworthy and did get some television coverage around the world. 60-Minutes did a short segment. But, these artifacts are still there and little if any "onsite archeological excavation" has been done. Why? Truth or Fiction concluded their report by saying, "No documented artifacts have been retrieved and preserved from the site and now the Egyptian government prohibits bringing any findings to the surface so the questions may remain for a long time to come."

Did Wyatt find the place where Israel escaped from the Egyptian army? Based on eye-witness accounts of the submerged evidence, Wyatt could have. I say could have if it were not for the lack of evidence and ongoing debunking of this site by notable archeologists. While photographs provide convincing evidence, they should have been convincing enough to stir Egyptian authorities to follow-through on an official investigation of the site. But, they didn't and no one knows why.

Could the Egyptian government have an agenda for debunking this particular discovery by Wyatt? What about Wyatt's claim to have discovered the Ark of the Covenant and then to have a Rabbi claim the ark was never lost? And why does Wyatt's website fail to mention the Hittites who also had four, six, and eight spoke-wheels during the times of the Exodus? Could these wheels have belonged to the Hittites? Did a Hittite ship ferrying chariots to battle against the Egyptians sink during a storm, strewing wreckage now covered with coral?

In closing and in summary to these articles, "Wyatt was given a deathbed opportunity to either reaffirm or recant his claims. He chose to reaffirm all that he has claimed without hesitation." [4.5] So then, what are we to think of Wyatt's reaffirmation that his discoveries are true? Is he telling the truth? Does a deathbed confession prove anything? Would the deathbed avowal by Wyatt change anyone's opinion in his favor?

Regrettably the evidence for this discovery is also lacking. Facts have been omitted and Wyatt's claims remain without any scientific merit. In this world of see and touch, evidence is proof and will always rule absolute in the affairs of men. According to Wikipedia:
Ronald Eldon Wyatt (1933-August 4, 1999) was an adventurer and former nurse anesthetist noted for advocating the Durupınar site as the site of Noah's Ark, among other Bible-related pseudo-archaeology. His claims were dismissed by scientists, historians, biblical scholars, and even by leaders in his own Seventh-day Adventist Church, but his work continued to have a following among some fundamentalists and evangelical Christians. [4.6]
"He was a passionate and sincere man, according to his supporters, but his critics abound and scientists and archeologists regarded him as an untrained maverick at best and there are some who regarded him as a fraud." [4.7] Wyatt said he was driven to find these treasures of old to help win people to Christ. But, will any of these treasures, if ever proven to be true, win anyone to Christ?

"The discovery of Noah's Ark, or the Ark of the Covenant, or the Garden of Eden, or any other biblical artifact will not prove the Christian faith and will not change the mind of anyone whom God is not drawing (John 6:44)." [4.8] Our faith can never be in these things although they reaffirm biblical truth.

For the Christ rejecting world, the discovery of artifacts from biblical accounts of Israel history would not make any difference. These treasures will not bring anyone to Christ (John 6:44). That Wyatt could not prove any of his claims should not make any difference either. In the overall scheme of things, the ancient treasures men seek to find belong to another time, another place, and another purpose. The true treasure men should seek after is the Treasure that abides in the hearts of men (2 Corinthians 4:7).

4.5 — Deathbed Confession of Ron Wyatt
4.8 Got Questions — Noah's Ark Discovery

Image: wagon wheel-like image covered in coral

TagsControversial-Issues  |  History-Apologetics

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Published 2-11-14