Sodom – Discovery of the City of the Bible

This week I heard a presentation by Dr Steven Collins, an Albuquerque archeologist, who has discovered the Sodom of the Bible. My Dad used to tell me that the city was by the Dead Sea, and I used to ask him what caused the destruction of Sodom. However, he didn’t know, but Dr Collins thinks he knows. Click on the pictures for a larger view.

In a new book called Discovering the City of Sodom, coauthored with Dr Latayne Scott, the whole gripping story is moreover outlined. Also, some of the tantalizing discoveries from the presentation and the book are summarized here.
• First of all, Tall el-Hammam is the Jordan name of the geographical mound that contains Sodom, one of the largest Bronze Age sites in the Middle East.
• Sodom flourished for 2,500 years, until the abrupt destruction recorded in the Bible. It was destroyed between 1750 and 1650 B.C.

• For example, Sodom was ten times larger than Jerusalem or Jericho.
• The city was surrounded by a wall of mud bricks, about 50 yards thick. These bricks were similar to adobe bricks, and about the same size. Hence, the city was never conquered.
• The Bible says that Lot sat at the gate of the city. Collins has excavated the (only) gate, and the adjoining gatehouse.

• The inhabitants made flatbread much like tortillas, and he includes an ancient “rolling pin” in his collection of artifacts.
• According to Collins, and based on one of the major prophets, the city of Sodom was rich, proud, and arrogant. They ignored the poor and the weak, and they were extremely immoral.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, John Martin, 1852.

The destruction of the city
• Collins found an unusually thick layer of destruction with collapsed walls, broken mud-bricks, burnt debris, and skeletal remains, all inside a one-meter layer of ash. For this reason, the ancient city was utterly destroyed.
• A piece of pottery (sherd) revealed a thin layer of glaze just 1/8 of an inch thick. The glazing (firing) of pottery was not a technique that the Sodomites used. This was glazing caused by red-heat at 8,000 degrees for only one millisecond (i.e. a shock wave).

• One artifact looked like trinitite, the name for melted and fused sand caused by the first atom bomb exploded at Trinity site just a couple hours south of Albuquerque in New Mexico.
• Collins thinks the source of destruction was a comet, similar to the fireball that hit Russia in January of this year, or the larger one called Tunguska that hit Siberia in the early 1900’s. The latter one flattened like matchsticks enormous pine trees for miles around.

• The radius of destruction around Sodom was about 12 miles.
• No crater like the famous one in Arizona has been found. The comet might have been a smaller meteorite that blew itself to bits before hitting earth. Or it might have been made of solid methane.

The Minoan and Mycenaean connection
• Many artifacts are not Canaanite, but more like the city of Sidon. Sidon’s people were connected by the sea to the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures.
• Two of the artifacts which I saw included ceramic bull heads, but with horns pointed downward. This is direct evidence for Minoan and Mycenaean influence, as local bull heads have upturned horns. The pillars in the Gatehouse are also Mycenean.

• Strabo, a first-century Greek explorer, documented a Mycenaean homosexual abduction which he called pederasty.
• According to the Bible, when two angels visited Lot’s home in Sodom, men of the city gathered at the house and tried to abduct the angels for homosexual purposes.
• There is evidence that some Minoan and Mycenaean sites were wiped out by a tsunami about 100 years after Sodom was destroyed. God may have also destroyed these cultures because of their pederasty activities.

Lot’s wife and the pillar of salt
• Intense heat from the comet could have raised a cloud which was super-saturated with salt from the Dead Sea. And which afterwards condensed over an area around the Dead Sea. This possibly encased Lot’s wife if she had turned back.

Proof of the Bible
• This archaeological discovery supports the Bible as a credible historical document, even in one of its earliest records (Genesis).
• Biblical truth cannot so easily be discarded as a bunch of fairy-tales. It’s messages are therefore relevant to our lives, and this is important for teenagers, and others, who are searching for direction in life.

A motorist captured this dramatic shot of a meteorite heading to Earth in the Chelyabsink area.

Post-script:  The meteor event in Russia in February 2013 injured  nearly 1,000 people. The small asteroid that entered the Earth’s atmosphere above Chelyabinsk took everyone by surprise. The anonymous chunk of rock that hit was possibly a few meters across. For instance, it was big enough to punch its way to a low altitude in a spectacular fashion.

Small asteroids this size almost never make it to the ground in one piece, as the increasing air pressure at lower altitudes acts effectively like a brick wall, breaking the rock apart. This releases the energy in a catastrophic fireball, leaving only a few small pieces to fall to the ground as meteorites. But, with a tremendous shock-wave that those near the impact point experienced at first hand.

The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers……

“And the Lord said, Because the shriek of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and their sin is exceedingly grievous; I will go down now, and see…..” (Genesis chapter 18).

“It was evening when the two angels came to Sodom. Lot was sitting at Sodom’s city gate. Seeing them, Lot rose up to meet them and bowed to the ground. And he said, My Lords, turn aside, I beg of you, into your servant’s house and spend the night.

But before they lay down, the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, all the men from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, and said, Where are the men who came to you tonite? Bring them out to us, that we may know (be intimate) with them” (Genesis chapter 19).

“Then the Lord rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of the heavens. He overthrew, destroyed and ended those cities, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis chapter 19).

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Sheila Thompson
Sheila Thompson
11 years ago

Really interesting, Ian. Sobering thoughts when I think of God’s judgement there.

11 years ago

Yes Sheila, sobering about God’s judgement but also says something about His mercy. God agreed to not destroy the city if only 50 righteous persons in the city could be found. The righteous count was dropped from 50 to 10 after Abraham bargained with God. But the count turned out to be only 4 persons, and they were allowed to escape if they moved very very fast. So boom!

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