Biblical Archaeology: Sodom And Gomorrah

Biblical archaeology

The cities named Sodom and Gomorrah, including Zeboim, Admah, and Zoar, are collectively known as the “sin cities” and believed to have existed around 3700 years ago. They were situated near the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea, bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the west, contains about 30% salt, which makes the water heavier. As a result, under the surface, pressure is two- or three-times higher than in normal water. The water has 10% more salt, which provides real buoyancy.

Dr. Harris thinks Sodom and Gomorrah were built on the shores of the Dead Sea so that they could trade in naturally occurring asphalt. The scientific study of the geology of that region suggests that the area has a long history of earthquake activity. The cities were believed to have existed during the middle Bronze Age; it was the time of Abraham, or in Islam, Prophet Ibrahim.

Belief from the holy books

They were called the people of Lot, or in Islam, Prophet Lut. The existence of these cities is evidenced in various Scriptures, like the Bible, Torah, and Quran, that reveal the lives of the people and their destruction. They were the people who were living a luxurious life and were indulgent in homosexuality.

If a beautiful boy was born, the other men would lust after him. It was a complete society of male prostitution. Women would even sell their men to satisfy the lust of other men who could pay well. So, the Prophet Lut guided them to give up these activities, but they didn’t listen, and hence God had destroyed them with the heat that they had never seen in their lives and with stones. It was believed that it was the wrath of God that led to the destruction.

Evidences from the Scriptures

  • Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. Genesis 19:24
  • “The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath.” Deuteronomy 29:23
  • “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” 1 King 18:38
  • The people of Lut denied the warnings. We unleashed a sudden squall of stones against all of them. (Quran, 54, 33-34).
  • So, when our command came, we made the highest part (of the city) its lowest and rained upon them stones of hard, layered clay. …. Quran 11:82

One of the historians from the first century, named Flavius Josephus, was a Jewish historian. He said in his book,

“There are still the remainders of that divine fire, and the traces of the five cities are still to be seen…”

Wars of the Jews, Book 4, Chapter 8.

Most of the scholars had discarded the existence of the cities. They said that it was only a myth. There were disputes regarding the exact location of the cities. Ron Wyatt was an adventurer and an original discoverer in the year 1981. He worked on Biblical archaeology.

He discovered that the city was covered with brimstone (an old name for sulphur).. The white sulphur (S) found at Gomorrah is different from the natural sulfur, which is yellow in color. Brimstone, also known as burnt stone, contains approximately 98% pure sulphur or pure cooked sulphur when compared to volcanic sulfur, which contains only 40% pure sulfur.That sulphate nodule found in the Lisan formation is formed through bacterial sulphate reduction. This bacterial sulphate reduction (which can tolerate temperatures between -1.5 degree Celsius and 100 degree Celsius) occurs in the hypersaline sea waters, and thus the geochemical evidence suggests that the bacterial sulphate reduction also occurred in the Dead Sea (which is hypersaline). The sulphur nodules and veins are particularly common within gypsum sediments and rocks.

These sulphur nodules or brimstone, which is highly flammable in nature, were received from the skies in the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was raining fire and sulphur.

Sulphur Balls
Source: Pinterest

The swirling design found on the ruined structures is basically due to thermal ionisation. The intense heat of about 6000° Fahrenheit causes the electron to repel and attract, which led to the formation of this unusual design.

Even layers of white and grey matters can also be seen comprising gypsum (CaSO4. 2H2O) and ash.

Grey color matter- CaCO3 – Limestone

White color matter- CaSO4- Gypsum that contains brimstone and limestone.

The building material was used for these cities was the limestone.

The limestone of the building comes in contact with the extreme heat and the brimstone which led to the formation of calcium sulphate.(CaSO4)

The combustion of sulphur

S +O2= SO2

The decomposition of limestone or Calcium Carbonate

CaCO3             CaO +CO2  (Reversible reaction)

Final product

Ca0 + SO2 + ½ O2             CaSO4 (Reversible reaction)

 

There were man-made shapes, and the buildings were found in the square shape. Walls are built on 90° angles with square windows. The conical buildings were also seen, as were arched doorways, which exhibit the symmetrical shapes. The existence of Sphinxes, Pyramids (most likely influenced by Egypt), Ziggurats, and fortresses were also found.

Sodom and Gomorrah
Image Source: National Geographic

However, his theory was criticised because he was not a professional archaeologist and he noted that Sodom and Gomorrah were located on the Jordan plain, as stated in Genesis 13:10.But it was not accepted by Dr. Steven Collins.

Dr. Steven Collins, Dean of Archaeology at Trinity South West University, and the author of “Discovering the City of Sodom,”

He begins his work in the year 1996 and named the site as Tall el- Hammam which is actually Sodom and the project known by the name Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP).

He states, “When the Bible uses the term “the Kikkar,” it is only referring to the roughly circular area immediately north of the Dead Sea. Kikkar strictly means “circle” or “disk. The region is the breadbasket of the area, full of freshwater and farmland. All of this is interesting to me because the ancient Semitic word kikkar can also mean “flat bread. like a tortilla here in Mexico.”

Sodom is the largest city among all, as mentioned in the Bible at the top of the list.

He started his excavation process with the help of Dr. Mullins (an expert in the Bronze Age and pottery); they reached the 10th century, the 8th and 9th centuries, the Iron Age, and then finally the middle Bronze Age, which was the estimated age.

The Bronze Age Civilization, including Tall el-Hammam, came to an end at the middle of the Bronze Age, and the area remained deserted for about 5-7 centuries.

The MB2 (Middle Bronze Age 2) was destroyed during the time of Abraham.

Dr. Phil Silva discovered that the city had been destroyed by an air burst.

During the digging, a piece of pottery was found and identified as a part of MB2, and it appeared that it was glazed, and the glazing requires temperatures of 1200°C.

The pottery was found to be similar to samples produced by an atomic explosion after being analysed at the US Geological Survey Laboratory in New Mexico.

The radiocarbon dates from Beta Anlytic labs have arrived, and the date is 1700+/- 50 BCE.And 3.7 billion years ago, events destroyed the city.

Carbon dating, in essence, reveals information and led to the conclusion that the floors buried beneath a height of 3 feet and their glassy appearance indicate that they were subjected to more severe heat.

It was also seen that the walls are up to 1.5 metres thick; there is a pillared gate, flat ceiling, and staircase.

Dr. William Dever (Professor Emeritus, University of Arizona) criticised Dr. Steven and said “No responsible scholar goes out with a trowel in one hand and a Bible in the other.”

Dr. Collin responded, “No responsible scholar digging in the Holy Land goes out without a trowel in one hand and a Bible in the other.”

A recent study suggested that the destruction was the result of a meteor explosion, which produces a fireball of about 4000° to 12,000° C.

That resulted in the disappearance of the mud walls, and Dead Sea salt was spread over the areas, which hampered the fertility of the soil. It was estimated that 40,000–60,000 people were killed due to the explosion.

Conclusion

Archaeology had proven the existence of Bronze Age cities, and thus the ancient text was the true narrative, as proven by scientific technologies. The heat was so intense that it annihilated the entire civilization.

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