At the time that the volcanic island exploded, the Utnapishtim flood story probably hadnot yet been set down in final form. The final form of the Utnapishtim flood-and-ark story in
was found by archaeologists in the ruins of the Assyrian library of King Ashurbanipal who reigned between about 668 and 627 BC, nine hundred years after the volcanic island explosion.In the final Utnapishtim story found in
in the Assyrian library there is a hint of knowledge of the distantly historic tsunami-caused flood. In this version, humans are"turned to stone," not impossibly from being covered by volcanic ash and appearing likestone. Or possibly "turned to stone" was ancient idiomatic for "stopped dead in their tracks," as when a person perishes suddenly and is caught in a final movement of life.Could this be a variation on Lot's wife being turned into a pillar of salt? Anyway,something different from your usual everyday Big Bad Flood happened.The final version of the Mesopotamian flood-and-ark story in Ashurbanipal's Assyrianlibrary appears to archaeologists to have been copied from earlier versions, possiblygoing back to the Old Babylonian period that ended roughly 1600 BC.The Old Babylonian period ended, coincidentally, at roughly the time of the volcanicexplosion and tsunami catastrophe far off in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. In other words, at any time in the thousand years between the explosion of the volcanic island andresulting tsunamis and the writing of the final edition found in the Assyrian library,changes could have been made.Ancient writers in Assyria and Babylonia were far from the core of the catastrophe andtherefore probably had no grasp of the dimensions of the disaster. But commercial,military, and diplomatic outposts on the far-western fringes of these empires may haveexperienced it directly. News would have traveled back to Mesopotamia.Like any writer, an ancient clay-tablet writer of apocalyptic flood stories would havewanted to keep current with the latest events affecting the genre. A good writer wouldhave incorporated them into the story.But before we go to that new and catastrophic flood, let's look at what is arguably yet onemore version of the original Mesopotamian flood-and-ark story.This would appear to be a fourth version. As noted, the story continues to evolve inmodern science fiction, but the long line of ancient Mesopotamian flood-and-ark literature going back to circa 2900 BC seems to come to an end with this last version.This apparent fourth modification translated into yet a fourth language should be familiar to most of us. It is the beloved biblical story commonly called "Noah and the Ark."The Mesopotamian origins of the Book of Genesis in which the story of Noah and theArk is found are clear. Take Abraham and Sarah.