Some of the team's photos can be seen here.
Also on the team were Barry Rand, former CEO of Avis; Boone Powell, former CEO of Baylor Medical Systems; and Arch Bonnema, president of Joshua Financial.
The team returned with video footage of a large black formation, about 400 feet long – the length of the ark, according to the Bible – that looks like rock but bears the image of hundreds of massive, wooden, hand-hewn beams.
Bonnema observed: "These beams not only look like petrified wood, they are so impressive that they look like real wood – this is an amazing discovery that may be the oldest shipwreck in recorded history."
The team said one piece of the blackened rock is "cut" at 90-degree angle.
Sealed with pitch
Even more intriguing, they said, some of the wood-like rocks tested this week proved to be petrified wood.
It's noteworthy, they pointed out, that the Bible recounts Noah sealed his ark with pitch, a black substance.
When the retrieved pieces were cut open, a marine fossil was discovered. In the area around the object, the team found thousands of fossilized sea shells, and Cornuke brought back a one-inch thick rock slab replete with fossilized clams.
With the discovery of wood splinters and broken pottery at the remote 15,300-foot level, the team says it also found evidence that ancients considered it an important worship site for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Cornuke became involved in the search for the ark after meeting Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin, participating with him in several searches on Mount Ararat in Turkey, but with disappointing results.
Cornuke began looking elsewhere, after finding clues in the Bible such as Genesis 11's reference to descendants of Noah coming to the Mesopotamian valley from the east. Cornuke believes that would put the biblical mountains of Ararat somewhere in northern Iran.
He also points to ancient historians such as Nicholas of Damascus and Flavius Josephus who wrote, just before and after Christ, that timbers of the ark had survived in the higher mountains of present-day Iran.
Cornuke noted that during World War II, an American Army officer and road construction engineer in Iran named Ed Davis said he saw the ark on a high mountain in the country after being led there by Iranian friends. After the war, according to Cornuke, Davis passed a lie detector test affirming he saw timbers from an ark-like object.
Before his death, Davis gave Cornuke a map showing the way to the object.
"It was right where Ed said it was in his map," Cornuke said. "After seeing it from a distance, I thought it at first unimpressive, but once we stood on the object we were all amazed at how it looked just like a huge pile of black and brown stone beams."