Archaeologists Claim To Have Found Ancient City of Sodom

A team of archaeologists working on a 10-year excavation near the Dead Sea believe they have unearthed the remains of the ancient city of Sodom, detailed in the book of Genesis. This startling discovery was not only done by using the Bible to locate the city, much of the findings confirm the Biblical account of a once-thriving, wealthy metropolis that met sudden, swift destruction as it burned to the ground from a super-powerful explosive force. The findings continue the steady stream of ancient evidence that continues to confirm the accuracy of the Holy Bible.

Making The Case For Sodom’s Discovery

A map of the “kikkar” or well-watered plains of the Jordan river.

According to reports:

“Now having completed the tenth season of excavations, an archaeological team headed by Steven Collins of Trinity Southwest University, New Mexico, 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.

Known as Tall el-Hammam, Collins has been leading excavations at the imposing mound, or tel, since 2005…. Tall el-Hammam seemed to match every Sodom criterion demanded by the text,” he says. “Theorizing, on the basis of the Sodom texts, that Sodom was the largest of the Kikkar [B&E:”kikkar” means “plain”, precisely how this area is described 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.” (source).

Dr. Steven Collins (left) and a colleague atop the foundation of a Sodom city wall.

Collins and his team were able to locate this massive, buried city by using the Bible as their guide. “It all came from analyzing the Biblical text regarding the location of Sodom,” says Collins. “The quintessential passage holding the geographical key to Sodom’s location is Genesis 13:1-12.” A Bible scholar, Collins based his excavation on the locations highlighted in the text of Genesis:
And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had make there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

The view of Sodom and Gomorrah today from Bethel-Hai, the land Abraham kept after he and Lot separated.

And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.- Genesis 13:1-13.

In their tenth year, the team has dug deep to unearth a great deal of the city.

In this passage, Abram, a faithful believer in God, through whom the covenant to bring forth the Messiah and receive the Promised Land was made, tried to resolve a conflict with his new phew Lot. Both men were prosperous land owners with a great deal of cattle and servants. To bring an end to the disputes between their workers, Abram offered to dive the land and give Lot the first choice of which area he desired. Lot, thinking of his potential wealth, chose the “all the plain of Jordan.”

An artist rendering of the ancient city of Sodom based on the recent excavation.

Jordan was a reference to the Jordan river, and specifically the plain on the eastern side of the river. Lot then pitched his tent toward Sodom, facing this thriving city that was in extreme rebellion against God. Soon Lot himself would be drawn to live there, a detail that also held significance in the excavation.

Middle Bronze (MB2) gateway complex: A, Early Bronze (EB3) city wall; B, Early Bronze (EB3) gateway; C, Middle Bronze (MB2) city wall; D, Middle Bronze (MB2) left tower; E, Middle Bronze (MB2) tower entry; F, domestic area. Courtesy Mike Luddeni.

Sodom was situated in an extremely strategic location. It had waterways, trade routes and served as a key trade city during the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (3500 – 1540 BC). This was truly a legendary city. The Bible supports this as the city is mentioned over 45 times in Scripture. Collins’ own search confirmed how impressive this ancient metropolis was:
“The site is monstrous,” say Collins. He describes the site as consisting of both a lower and upper city. It features Early Bronze Age (3500 – 2350 BCE) evidence for a 5.2 meter thick city wall (built and then re-built stronger following an earthquake) as much as 10 meters in height and made entirely of mudbricks, with associated gates, towers, at least one roadway, and plazas. During the Middle Bronze Age (2000 – 1540 BCE), new construction, even more massive than those of the Early Bronze Age, replaced the old. To fortify the upper city, the Middle Bronze Age inhabitants built a massive mudbrick defensive rampart system. “It was a huge undertaking, requiring millions of bricks and, obviously, large numbers of laborers.” (source).

Collins and a colleague stand atop of a rampart or defensive wall one would have to scale to attack the well-defended city.

In Genesis 14, a confederacy of Kings who lived east of Sodom attacked the city, forcing Bera, the king of Sodom, to flee. The Bible records specifically that although a number of cities were attacked during this war: “And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.” (Genesis 14:11-12). The “goods” of Sodom and its sister city Gomorrah, were of great value. Abram led an assault against the attackers who ransacked Sodom and kidnapped his nephew Lot and was offered the “goods”- most likely, cattle, gold, silver and other portable items, as a reward for rescuing the city. But he refused any payment: “That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich…” (Genesis 14:23). This verse not only demonstrates the humility Abram had before God (as he did not want to give any human benefactor credit for his victory) it reinforces the wealth of Sodom and its royalty.

The Supernatural Destruction of Sodom Confirmed?

Left: pottery melted from extreme heat found at Tall el-Hammam. Right: “trinitie” stone recovered from ground zero of the New Mexico nuclear blast test in 1945 with similar bubbling and pock marks.

Perhaps most startling in the discoveries by Collins and his team was confirmation of the a swift, devastating destruction of the city in the Bronze period. Based on evidence gathered during 10 years of excavation, Collins discovered that despite its ideal location and prominence, Sodom suddenly became a “wasteland” for 700 years with no human habitation. Why? It appears that the city burned under supernatural levels of heat:

One possibility could have something to do with a Middle Bronze period ash layer discovered at various excavation areas of the Tall. The “red palace”, so-called because of the red discoloration of the mudbrick due to a burning, could be another clue. Evidence of fiery destructions are commonplace among archaeological sites across the Levant, usually associated with conflict and military campaigns. Recovered pottery shards evidencing exposure to very high temperature levels, much higher than what would be expected from heating from a kiln or oven, could be yet another clue. Collins has hypothesized that the latter could have resulted from an ancient ‘airburst’, a mid-air explosion caused by an object in the air above the ‘target’ area, such as that of an incoming meteor. (source).

Dr. Collins attributes the reddish hue to of much of the bricks in the city to an ancient explosion.

The bible records in Genesis 18, The Lord Jesus Christ and two angels announcing to Abram that they intend to destroy Sodom because of rampant wickedness and perversion
And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? – Genesis 18:20-23.
Abraham pleaded with God to spare Sodom (where his nephew still lived) and God agreed that if there were even 10 righteous people in the cities he would spare them. The next chapter records the angels who went to rescue Lot and his family from Sodom before its destruction. And in this encounter the Bible gives insight into the level of depravity in this bustling metropolis:
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. – Genesis 19:1-7.
Beginning And End


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