Arks and History

Arks and History

Arks and History

Since the first one surfaced in 1971, Arks have had a tremendous impact on everything from government policy to pop culture. Scroll through highlights from this history, including those from the American Arkology Society’s own timeline, below.

Since the first one surfaced in 1971, Arks have had a tremendous impact on everything from government policy to pop culture. Scroll through highlights from this history, including those from the American Arkology Society’s own timeline, below.

1971
Pigeon Lake, Michigan, site of the first Ark find

First Ark discovered

The first ark is uncovered by a construction crew as they expand the J.H. Campbell power plant in West Olive, Michigan. Dubbed the Pigeon Lake Ark due to its proximity to the plant’s water source, the discovery launches over four decades of scholarship and speculation.
1974
July 9, 1974 issue of Time magazine

“Time” magazine cover

Time magazine features a cover story on the ark phenomenon that reflects the uneasiness many feel about the arks at the time.
1976
Michigan Governor William Milliken answers questions about the Ark Protection Act

Ark Protection Act signed

Michigan Governor William Milliken signs the Ark Protection Act into law. The APA, the first of its kind in the US, preserves Michigan Ark discovery sites and guarantees access to accredited researchers and scholars.
1977
"To the antipode," an album by the band Terra Nullius

“Toward the antipode” released

British progressive rock band Terra Nullius releases the Ark-themed concept album “Toward the antipode,” riding a wave of public fascination with the discoveries.
1978
Press conference in Troyes, France

First French discovery

Phillipe Malraux, mayor of Troyes, announces the first discovery of an Ark on French soil. Arkologists would go on to find over 300 Arks in France.
1980
Millionaire Thad Bass

Thad Bass bounty announced

Millionaire Thad Bass announces a $200,000 bounty for anyone who can deliver to him an Ark, “in totum and undisturbed.” The nascent American Arkology Society condemns the offer as interfering with academic research.

1982
Pope John Paul II

Vatican makes statement on Arks

Though the Catholic Church takes no official stand on the arks, Pope John Paul II calls the materials inside “an opportunity for humanity to contemplate the bend of its progress in accordance with God’s will.”

1983
Chris Kowalski

Christopher Act signed into law

Seven-year-old Pennsylvania boy Christopher Kowalski is killed by an explosive device encased in an Ark he unearths in a vacant lot. Widespread concern about the Arks leads to Congress passing the Christopher Act, which prohibits tampering with discovered Arks and provides federal funding to educate the public.
1984
Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale discuss the Arks in a 1984 Presidential debate

Reagan-Mondale debate

The ark artifacts feature prominently in the first US presidential debate when President Ronald Reagan accuses Democratic candidate Walter Mondale of supporting policies that will put the country on the path to disintegration and ruin. “The United States they find in those boxes is not the country I know, and it is not the country I want to live in,” he says.
1987
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the Ark Technologies Treaty

Ark Technologies Treaty signed

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the Ark Technologies Treaty, which bans the weaponization of technologies found in the arks.
1990
U.S. President H.W. Bush presents American Arkology Society President Sarah Bradderick with an award

AAS accepts Medal of Freedom

American Arkology Society President Sarah Bradderick accepts the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President George H.W. Bush in recognition of the Society’s contributions to the study of the Arks.
"Boxed in" by author Paul K. Fuller

“Boxed In” tops best-seller list

Paul K. Fuller’s thriller “Boxed In,” a novel about a family that unleashes a plague when they unearth and open an Ark, is a runaway success, inspiring a feature film and countless “ark fiction” knock-offs.

1993
"The Arks" television show promo image

“The Arks” television show premieres

Spurred by the success of Paul K. Fuller’s “Boxed In” and the hit show “The X Files,” NBC debuts “The Arks,” a show about three arkologists attempting to uncover mysteries while being pursued by a shadowy government agency. The show runs for three seasons.

1995
The U.N. General Assembly

World Arkology Organization established

The United Nations establishes the World Arkology Organization, headquartered in Bern, Switzerland. The Organization is tasked with studying the role of ark artifacts in international relations.
1996
Dolly the sheep

Cloned sheep renews Ark fears

Scientists successfully clone Dolly, a female sheep in Scotland. The discovery renews the debate over the ethical implications of Ark research and the danger of unintended consequences.

1997
Heaven's gate house in Rancho Santa Fe, California

Heaven’s Gate mass suicide

Inspired by messages he claimed to have received through intense arkology research, cult leader Marshall Applewhite and 38 other members of the Heaven’s Gate cult take their own lives in a Rancho Santa Fe, California, mansion. The group believed that in dying they would rendezvous with a spacecraft located behind the Hale-Bopp comet.

1999
A skirmish along the India-Pakistan border

Ark discovery triggers dispute

The Jammu/Kashmir discovery leads to five days of border skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani forces.
2003
Slide used in U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations urging intervention in Iraq

Arks factor into invasion of Iraq

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell address the United Nations Security Council to urge intervention in Iraq. Powell argues that Saddam Hussein’s regime is illegally using Ark technologies to develop weapons of mass destruction.

2006
North Korean missile test powered by Ark technologies

Ark tech fuels N. Korean missile tests

US intelligence agencies reveal that North Korean short-range missile tests have likely drawn upon classified Ark technologies stolen by an analyst who defected from the US in 2003.
2007
Apple launches the iPhone, based upon technology found in the Arks

iPhone launches

Apple launches the iPhone, based upon touchscreen technology found in the Arks.

2009
Businessmen protect themselves from an H1N1 outbreak on a Tokyo street

H1N1 fears

An outbreak of the H1N1 “swine flu” virus sweeps through Asia. Initial reports that the virus was released from a Shanghai Ark research facility provoke an intense backlash against the arkology community and spark ongoing internet conspiracy theories.

2011
The Capitol building in Washington, DC

Ark research funding slashed

The US Congress slashes Ark research funding from its 2012 budget as part of a last-minute effort to avert a government shutdown. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley praises the measure, calling it “simple common sense to focus our energy on the America of today instead of some fictional future.”
2015
Tank in Donbass region of Ukraine

Russian, Ukrainian forces spar over Ark sites

Political protests in Kiev serve as a pretense for the Russian military incursion into the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Both sides rush to secure the multiple Ark research sites that dot the area.

2017
The PBS program Frontline features arkology in the documentary "Future Tense#

“Future Tense” debuts

The PBS program Frontline features arkology in the documentary “Future Tense,” renewing interest in the field.