The ancient city of Sodom, which the Bible says was destroyed by God for its wickedness, may have been found according to a team of American archaeologists.
Popular Archaeology reports a 10-year dig headed by Steven Collins of New Mexico’s Trinity Southwest University “has unearthed a goldmine of ancient monumental structures and artifacts that are revealing a massive Bronze Age city-state that dominated the region of Jordan’s southern Jordan Valley, even during a time when many other great cities of the ‘Holy Land’ region were either abandoned or in serious decline.”
The site on the northeastern side of Israel’s Dead Sea is known as Tall el-Hammam.
“Very, very little was known about the Bronze Age in the Middle Ghor (southern Jordan Valley) before we began our excavations in 2005,” Collins told the magazine. “Even most of the archaeological maps of the area were blank, or mostly so. What we’ve got on our hands is a major city-state that was, for all practical purposes, unknown to scholars before we started our project.”
Collins says in comparison to the remnants of other ancient cities in the region, Tall el-Hammam is likely the best candidate for the lost city of Sodom, which God firebombed in the Book of Genesis for its astonishing breaking of God’s law.
“Tall el-Hammam seemed to match every Sodom criterion demanded by the text,” Collins explained.
“Theorizing, on the basis of the Sodom texts, that Sodom was the largest of the Kikkar (the Jordan ‘Disk’, or ‘well-watered plain’ in the biblical text) cities east of the Jordan, I concluded that if one wanted to find Sodom, then one should look for the largest city on the eastern Kikkar that existed during the Middle Bronze Age, the time of Abraham and Lot. When we explored the area, the choice of Tall el-Hammam as the site of Sodom was virtually a no-brainer since it was at least five to ten times larger than all the other Bronze Age sites in the entire region, even beyond the Kikkar of the Jordan.”
“The site is monstrous,” Collins added, noting it includes evidence from the Early Bronze Age (3500-2350 B.C.) of a 17-foot thick city wall made of mudbricks that possibly stretched 32 feet high.
There are also associated gates, towers, at least one roadway and plazas.
Collins’ team believes new construction took place during the Middle Bronze Age between 2000 and 1540 B.C. to build a massive defensive rampart system out of mudbricks.
“It was a huge undertaking, requiring millions of bricks and, obviously, large numbers of laborers,” Collins said.
Genesis notes that homosexuality was among the sins of Sodom as two angels who appeared in the form of men were nearly gang-raped by the men of Sodom.
“They shouted to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!'” (Genesis 19:5 New Living Translation).
God enumerated some other sins of the city through the prophet Ezekiel: “Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door” (Ezekiel 16:49 NLT).
Once the angels struck the attackers with blindness, the Bible says, “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven” (Genesis 19:24 King James Version).
Scripture says after God firebombed the region, the patriarch Abraham “looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace” (Genesis 19:28 KJV).
Jesus Himself spoke of Sodom during His ministry on Earth, and the apostle Peter said the city’s complete destruction is an example of what will happen to those who continue to disobey God’s laws.
“Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people” (2 Peter 2:6 NLT).