One of the most famous underwater archaeologists in the world says he has discovered evidence that the biblical flood -- the flood for which Noah built his ark -- might have really happened.
Robert Ballard, the man who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985, recently sat down with ABC's Christiane Amanpour to talk about his findings.
He and his team are scouring the floor of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey. Ballard believes the sea is hiding remnants of an ancient civilization, one that dates back to the time of Noah.
Ballard is using robotic technology, which has evolved in leaps and bounds since his robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras found the Titanic, to conduct his search operation.
The archaeologist was intrigued by a controversial theory proposed by two scientists from Columbia University. Walter Pitman and Bill Ryan believe the Black Sea was once a freshwater lake that was flooded by a massive torrent of water from the Mediterranean Sea. They say that flood washed away everything in its path.
"With more than 200 times the force of Niagara falls, the flood caused water levels in the Black Sea, which was no more than a large lake, to rise six inches per day and swallowed 60,000 square miles in less than a year," wrote Hannah Fairfield in the Columbia News several years ago.
The people who lived there scattered as they fled the rising water that erased the obvious signs of their existence. But Ballard and his team believe the evidence of an ancient civilization is there for them the find.
When Ballard launched his operation, he had a very specific goal in mind.
"We went in there to look for the flood," Ballard told ABC News. "Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed... The land that went under stayed under."
Ballard's team eventually found ancient pottery and what appears to be an ancient shoreline, which he believes supports the scientists' theory. Based on carbon dating of the shells along that shoreline, Ballard estimates the flood happened around 5,000 B.C., which is believed to be the time of Noah.
Ballard, Pitman and Ryan believe it's the recounting of this flood from generation to generation that evolved into the story of Noah's Ark (Genesis chapters 6-9).
Pitman and Ryan wrote about their theory in "Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History." The book was published in 1999 and ignited new interest in the Black Sea and surrounding region, an area once thought to have little significance in human history.
While Ballard said he does not expect to find Noah's Ark -- the ship itself -- he hopes to find evidence of the civilization he believes was swept away.
Ballard and his team have plans to return to Turkey to continue their operation next summer.