Pharaoh’s chariot wheels and other things that won’t float — Examining the claims of the late Ron Wyatt

The late Ron Wyatt is noted for his fabulous claims to have located just about every secret thing there is, including Noah’s Ark, the location of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain, Mount Sinai, the location of the crossing of the Red Sea, wheels from Pharaoh’s chariots, the ashes of the red heifer, the ark of the covenant, etc., etc., etc.

Standish and Standish, two Seventh Day Adventist researchers, wrote a response to Wyatt, who was also a Seventh Day Adventist. In Holy Relics or Revelation, they give a list of 92 things Wyatt claimed to have found. This book is available at Amazon, and is partially available online at Google Books.

Ron Wyatt (1933-1999) was a nurse-anesthetist with no training in archaeology. We might more correctly call him an explorer. Few famous, recognized archaeologists have more than one or two fabulous finds to their credit, but Wyatt found almost everything that was missing!

Typically I receive several Emails each year asking about some of the claims of Wyatt, though they do not always mention his name. Recently I received a PowerPoint presentation attached to the Email. The presentation is entitled “Moses & the Red Sea Crossing Truth or Fiction?” Of course, I believe Moses led the developing nation of Israel through the sea. No one takes credit for producing the presentation. There is no documentation other than Scripture references. Looking at the “Properties” of the presentation that someone borrowed a template from some other presentation.

The Claim

The presentation includes a map showing Succoth immediately north of the Gulf of Suez. That is the wrong position. Israel then traveled across the Sinai peninsula through a wadi running east toward Eilat/Aqaba, then southerly to Nuweiba on the Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat). This, according to Wyatt, is exactly where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea out of Egypt (he considered the Sinai peninsula as Egypt) into the wilderness on the east of the Gulf of Aqaba. This is necessary to place Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia. Wyatt did some scuba diving and found Pharaoh’s chariot wheels, chariot bodies, human and horse bones.

The photo below is one I took in the vicinity of Nuweiba January 26, 2011. The view is east from the Sinai Peninsula to Saudi Arabia. This point is about 160 miles on a straight line from where the presentation map shows Israel leaving Succoth. It is about 45 miles south of Eilat/Aqaba. Eilat is in Israel; Aqaba is in Jordan. Even the modern roads in the Sinai are not built on a straight line.

So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him; and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly. Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. (Exo 14:6-9 NAU)

Think about it. A large, powerful, professional Egyptian army had to chase “about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children” (Exodus 12:37-38). The Israelites also had their “flocks and herds” and “a very large number of livestock” with them. Yet, the Egyptians could not catch them for more than 160 miles!

Peninsula east to Saudi Arabia. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View from Sinai Peninsula east to Saudi Arabia. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I don’t have the time now to do more, but I have located some articles that raise serious questions about Wyatt’s claims. Wyatt was never taken seriously by archaeologists (whether conservative or liberal).

Being Certain About What is Uncertain

Carl Rasmussen comments on the scholarly divide concerning landmarks like the Red Sea and Mount Sinai:

Indeed there are at least ten different proposals for the location of the Red Sea or Reed Sea — including three lakes near the Mediterranean Sea, five lakes along the line of the present-day Suez Canal, as well as the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Elath. In addition, there are at least twelve different candidates for Mount Sinai: five in the southern part of the peninsula, four in the north, one in the center, one in Midian (Saudi Arabia), and another in Edom (southern Transjordan). (Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, Rev. Ed., 103).

Responses to Wyatt

Wyatt was a Seventh Day Adventist, but when he was actively making his claims several Seventh Day Adventists scholars took up pen to respond to him. We have already mentioned the book by Standish and Standish.

Dr. David Merling

Dr. David Merling

Dr. David Merling is currently Research Associate in Near Eastern Archaeology at Andrews University, Institute of Archaeology, Berrien Springs, MI. For a number of years he served as Curator of the Horn Archaeological Museum. During the 1990s Merling wrote a number of short articles responding to the claims of Ron Wyatt. These have been archived on the Andrews University web site. Merling discusses the following questions:

  • Who am I and why have I opened this Web site? He explains something about his credentials and states that he has been asked these questions “over and over again.” His comments were last updated in 2006.
  • Has Noah’s ark been found?
  • Ark of the Covenant, has it been found?
  • Did the Israelites cross the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aqaba? This is the specific question that we are now discussing.

You may find Dr. Merling’s material here.

The page dealing with the question of the Red Sea crossing includes maps showing the difference between what the Bible says and what Wyatt claimed. There is also a photo of the column that Wyatt claims is from the time of Solomon. Merling shows that it is from the time of Jesus [Roman], and unlike columns from the time of Solomon.

In another post we will mention more material responding to Wyatt and other pseudo-archaeologists.

14 responses to “Pharaoh’s chariot wheels and other things that won’t float — Examining the claims of the late Ron Wyatt

  1. Pingback: Index: Route of the Exodus and the Location of Mount Sinai | Ferrell's Travel Blog

  2. Pingback: Pharaoh’s chariot wheels and other things that won’t float — Examining the claims of the late Ron Wyatt | ἐκλεκτικός

  3. Pingback: Balance and Caution in Use of Archaeology | Leon's Message Board

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  5. Pingback: Some Sources for Dealing with Ron Wyatt’s Claims | Leon's Message Board

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  7. To question where the “Red Sea” crossing is at is foolish. Scripture tells us God brought darkness down on the Egyptians to slow them down when chasing the fleeing Isrealites. Yeh, horses pulling chariots are a lot faster than 2 million people walking, with flocks and livestock. God delivered these people, and God allowed the Egyptians to chase them into the Red Sea and God allowed them to drown. Why? To show that He was / is in control and God made the wicked for the day of destruction, that is why He drowned them. To argue these stupid little details of horses are faster than people walking and the Gulf of Aqaba is not the Red Sea, read scripture and not just what you want to hear, take it all in, use it in context to the facts of the area and story, it will make perfect sense. God uses many people, whether they are for Him or against Him. If you don’t believe horses drowned and wheels fell off chariots, so be it, it is your choice. But Ron Wyatt found some amazing things which explained a lot, he may not have had some initials before or after his name, but he made sense in his acclaimation and presentation of facts. Choose your side, God’s wisdom or man’s wisdom, commit to one or the other, but be careful who you choose. The being who spoke all this into existence will ask you “Were you for me or against me”, then you will need proof of such, one day we will all give an account, chose careful.

  8. Ourbothy. Thanks. I certainly think there is a place for apologetics. I don’t think that incorrect information is a good foundation for a firm faith.

  9. Carl. Thanks for the note. I had already prepared some notes about Gordon’s material, but had to leave to spend some time with our grandson before I could post it.
    Also glad to note the link to your blog:

  10. jimsda. Thanks for your comment. My response has nothing to do with any doctrines of the SDA. I think the materials lacks biblical, geographical, and archaeological credibility.

  11. Thank you for your analysis. I understand that for such
    facts, each party wants to be right.
    But I say the veracity of the biblical story is not altered by this kind of discovery.
    I also received this file em@il and I will not use it to certify Word of God.

    The apostle Paul said: “For we walk by faith not by sight. “(2 Corinthians 5:7)


  12. Greetings:

    A series of refutations of Wyatt’s views are available at Gordon Franz’s Life and Land Seminars web site.

  13. I worked with Ron Wyatt for 10 years, and have now spent more than 20 years sharing Ron’s discoveries and attempting to have people examine them with an honest heart — unfortunately neither the Standish brothers or David Merling did so — back when they published their negative material about Ron’s discoveries, I contacted them and none of them were affected by anything that I shared with them. Why? Because they had all “made up their minds” beforehand! David Merling did a totally unporfessional job of reviewing Ron’s material before writing his articles, he gloried in making Ron look un-professional and “wrong” — I spoke with David Merling on the phone and he admitted to me that he had NOT read any of Ron’s current documentation, Merling merely wrote his negative article without talking with Ron to ask any questions, and all he read was Ron’s generic “out-of-date” Noah’s Ark witnessing book! Totally unprofessional! And the Standishes basically chose to “doubt” every single thing that Ron claimed — I was personally mentioned in their book 8 times, and after I read it I wrote a reply pamphet pointing out their numerous flaws in logic, but they were un-moved by my counsel. They are SDAs, as am I. They only wanted to be “right” at any cost, and they considered themselves to be “The Protectors of Adventism” — and they felt (incorrectly) that Ron Wyatt was undermining certain Adventist doctrines, which Ron was NOT undermining! They talked with Ron for a few hours, then wrote their book — I worked with Ron for 10 years and had several opportunities to talk with him, ask him questions, clarify things — and in 1994-1996 Ron appointed me to be the manger of Ron’s 1st Museum in Gatlingburg, TN — I literally shared these discoveries with thousands of people, and nearly all of them left our museum having received a blessing! If Ron was so wrong about his discoveries, how is it that Mahoney Media has spent the past 6+ years preparing a $2 million documentary film dealing with Ron’s Mt. Sinai & Red Sea discoveries?? All the critics of Ron’s work are going to be very, very embarassed when these discoveries are verified and established as the Truth — it’s very unfortunate, but Satan has had a field day whispering in the ears of the Standishes and David Merling — people can see my website about Ron’s discoveries at

  14. abchrysler1234

    Thank you for speaking out about these fantastic claims. All of us would want these discoveries to be made, as it would help others to see the truthfullness of God’s word. But when the claims such as those made by Ron Wyatt are later found to be false, it actually causes others to doubt the truthfullness of God’s word. Wyatt probably thought that he was helping to bring people to a saving knowledge while building his ego at the same time but I think he has done more harm than good.

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