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It was a vast boat that saved two of each animal, the stories suggest, and a handful of humans from a catastrophic flood. Forget all those images of a long vessel with a pointy bow, though. The tablet went on display at the British Museum Friday, and soon engineers will follow the ancient instructions to see whether the vessel could actually have sailed.It's also the subject of a new book, "The Ark Before Noah," by Irving Finkel, the museum's assistant keeper of the Middle East collection and the man who translated the tablet.A round boat makes sense, Finkel said.Other experts said Finkel wasn't simply indulging in self-promotion.Elizabeth Stone, an expert on ancient Mesopotamian antiquities at New York's Stony Brook University, said it made sense that Mesopotamians would depict their mythological ark as round.These versions lack the technical instructions – cut out, Finkel believes, because they got in the way of the storytelling.Finkel has no doubts.
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