You know what's amusing about this, kb? A year or two ago I saw one of those Nat Geo type specials where some guy was trying to replicate Gilgamesh's version of the ark in the form of the common round boats they used on the Tigris. Because of the constant warfare in the region he couldn't do the building in Iraq itself so he moved to some place in Africa ( Ethiopia, I think ) where they had all the raw materials. What he learned though was that Ethiopian bitumen was no where near as good for caulking boats as Iraqi bitumen and the damned boat spent most of its time sinking! Meanwhile they showed clips of modern Iraqi round boats floating merrily along without a care in the world.
Just goes to show that no matter how many variants there are of the story the original must have arisen in a place where wooden boats caulked with bitumen actually operated.
Or, in other words, All bitumens are not created equal.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.
-- George Carlin