Dinosaurs in Noah’s vineyard
The carving (see image at right), which appears to show two dinosaurs, is on an outside wall of the bell-tower of a fourteenth century church in the Republic of Georgia. Holy Trinity Church (also known as Tsminda Sameba) is on Mount Gergeti, near Stephantsminda village, in the Mount Kazbegi area—close to the borders with North Ossetia and Ingushetia.
When I visited this area in 2006 and saw the carvings, I asked a Georgian cleric at the church what they depicted. He commented that they looked like dinosaurs, and he had no idea when or why they were carved on the bell-tower.
However, there is no reason to believe that they are later additions. The carvings are integral to the whole window and have evidently been weathered to the same extent as the surrounding brickwork. Moreover, local people would likely have resisted any defacement of the church. The church is so highly regarded that in the eighteenth century the cross of St Nino and the treasures from Mtskheta were brought to this church for safekeeping.1 Even when a cable-car was built next to the church by the Soviet authorities in 1988, it was destroyed by the locals because it was felt to be defiling a sacred place. So the carvings most likely date from the fourteenth century, when the church was built.
Are dragons and dinosaurs connected?
Others have also commented that the carvings look like dinosaurs.2 Inside the church is also an icon depicting St. George slaying a (snake-like) dragon. This is a very common motif in Georgia (and also in neighbouring Ossetia), where St. George has been revered since the fourth century.3 Are the apparent dinosaur carvings above the window of the bell-tower in any way related to the tales of dragons that are widespread in many parts of the world?
Creationists have often suggested that many stories of ‘dragons’ (also often labelled ‘serpents’) are likely inspired by actual sightings of living dinosaurs, distorted through time and retelling.4 If so, these carvings from Georgia are consistent with medieval engravings and sculptures, from as far away as Britain and Cambodia, showing what look just like known types of dinosaurs.5
Just as dodos, mammoths and other well-documented living creatures that were contemporary with humans subsequently became extinct, the same happened to the descendants of the various kinds of dinosaurs that were on Noah’s Ark.
The Ark came to rest on the ‘mountains of Ararat’ (Genesis 8:4). The Bible also refers to Ararat as a state (2 Kings 19:37; Jeremiah 51:27), which Assyrian sources referred to as Urartu. It was centred around the Lake Van region of what is now Eastern Turkey, and, besides all of what is now Armenia, also included substantial portions of modern-day Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Agriculture had already been practised before the Flood (Genesis 3:17–19; 4:2–3) but was reintroduced afterwards by Noah and his sons. There is widespread archaeological agreement that the first domesticated varieties of wheat, barley and other crops occur in Middle Eastern sites located in upland areas of what are now Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and adjacent territories. (Within a biblical timeline of history, these would be the ‘first’ domesticated varieties reintroduced after the Flood.) This is the same general region as that in which Noah’s Ark came to rest.
The first (post-Flood) vineyard
Many scholars also consider this the region where grapes were first cultivated and wine first produced.6 Genesis 9:20 states that Noah planted a vineyard, presumably the first cultivation of grapes after the Flood.
Nowadays the Republic of Georgia is famous for its wine. Seeing the dinosaur carvings makes one pause to consider; the local varieties of vines might even be descended from those originally cultivated by Noah, in this same region of the world.
References and notes
- As per eurasia.travel, accessed 25 August 2014. Return to text.
- E.g. eurasia.travel and the Lonely Planet Guide to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, 2008, p. 102. Return to text.
- St. Nino, the woman from Cappadocia who in the fourth century brought the Christian Gospel to the Georgians, is said to have been related to St. George on her father’s side: en.academic.ru, all accessed 26 August 2014. Return to text.
- Entering ‘dragons’ in the search engine on creation.com gives a host of examples. Return to text.
- See e.g. creation.com/bb and creation.com/angkor-stegosaur. Return to text.
- E. Hyams, Dionysius: A Social History of the Wine Vine, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1965, p. 28; R. Jackson, Wine Science: Principles and Applications, Burlington, MA; London; San Diego: Academic Press, third edition, 2008, p. 23; Вахтанг Шутиевич Айба, Аборигенные сорта винограда Республики Абхазия—агробиологическая оценка и перспективы производства [Ayba, V.S., Indigenous grape varieties of the Republic of Abkhazia: agrobiological assessment and prospects of production] (Krasnodar: Agricultural Sciences Ph.D. thesis synopsis, 2011; available at dissercat.com, accessed 4 July 2014.) Return to text.