Finding the solution to the Garden of Eden requires being able to answer a number of questions which naturally arise from the text. My experience in examining the problem for a good part of a decade shows that you better be knowledgeable in a variety of scholarly areas, such as historical geography, mythology, historical linguistics, textual analysis, and ANE archaeology if you want to tackle the problem.
A sample of the key questions includes:
(1) What is the purpose of the geographical description in Gen. 2:10-2:14 and what is the reason for including it?
(2) When were these verses written and by whom?
(3) Why are there 4 rivers?
(4) Why doesn’t the author simply list the rivers and omit the locational details?
(5) What does a detailed textual analysis of the verses reveal about their nature?
(6) What was the state of geographical knowledge when the text was composed?
(7) Does ancient cartographical finds exist to illuminate the text?
(8) Do other ancient manuscripts or biblical versions exist which can help?
(9) Can historical linguistics provide information on the identification of the Gihon and Pishon rivers?
(10) Can cross cultural studies of mythology and history prove fruitful?
As interesting as Van Eyck’s paper is, it does not solve the Garden problem. He actually avoids the vast majority of the questions above, and barely mentions the Gihon and Pishon rivers. It turns out the framework of the solution was actually worked out by the late David Neiman of Boston University almost a half century ago and published in the proceedings of an obscure conference. He answers many of the above questions, and my studies have shown that it can be readily extended to answer the rest. As such, it has a high probability of being the correct answer.
In short, the Garden of Eden location description is used to identify the garden and its divine resident Yahweh as the source of all earthly water, and thus life. It’s actual location is not of importance. In the Bible, Ezekiel places it on a mountain top, given the cosmic importance of such locations. The Ugaritic literature also places it on a mountain top, and identifies it as the source of 4 rivers. The biblical text clearly divides the rivers into two groups - the first being a pair of larger saltwater bodies and the second being important freshwater bodies whose sources were known. In the Septuagint, Gihon is given as Geon. Adding an O in front for ‘the’ gives us Greek ‘Ogeon’ - which is a linguistic primitive form of Okeanos or Oceanus. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are/were considered sister rivers, and the Gihon and Pishon (in their Greek versions) are both mythological brothers - emphasizing the universal nature of the 4 rivers. It is worth noting the oldest map in the world from Babylon shows both Okeanos and the Euphrates.
As a further historical note, when the Portuguese began the age of exploration and went around the southern tip of Africa in the 1400s, they named the body of water there the Ethiopian Ocean - a name right out of the early Iron Age and our Garden of Eden geographical description. Cheers.