Arguments Against Locating Sodom at Tall el-Hammam

Todd Bolen responds to "Where is Sodom"

This piece was originally published by professor Todd Bolen on the BiblePlaces blog. Bolen comments on Steven Collins’s BAR article suggesting that Biblical authors located Sodom at the site of Tall el-Hammam. We invite our readers to continue the discussion in our comments section below.
All material republished with the permission of Todd Bolen.


The proposal that Sodom has been found on the northeastern side of the Dead Sea has been around for a decade or so, but with the publication of an article by Steven Collins this month it will receive the widest hearing to date. I thought it might be helpful for readers of Biblical Archaeology Review to know where to go for another perspective.

The proposal that Tall el-Hammam is Sodom fails on at least two counts, and these are helpfully summarized by two experts in their respective subjects.

Geography Fail: Bill Schlegel, professor in Israel for 25 years and author of the Satellite Bible Atlas, explains why the biblical text does not fit the geography of Tall el-Hammam.

Chronology Fail: Eugene Merrill, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and author of Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel, shows in a recent Artifax article that for Tall el-Hammam to be Sodom one must deny all of the biblical dates before the time of the judges.

I’ve written about the issue several times as well:

Excavator Finds Evidence of Destruction at “Sodom” (Dec 2011)

Video: Search for Sodom and Gomorrah (Aug 2009)

Tall el-Hammam: Sodom, Abel Shittim, Abila, or Livias? (Jan 2009)

Sodom Identified? (May 2006)

One final point: the excavator of Tall el-Hammam insists that by identifying the site as Sodom he is supporting the historicity of the Bible. In fact, if his theory is true, we cannot trust the Bible for accurate details about times and places. Tall el-Hammam is certainly a significant site, but Sodom is surely to be found elsewhere.

Northern end of the Dead Sea. Photo from Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, volume 4.

Posted in Biblical Archaeology Sites.

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  1. Eve says

    The problem is dating MB2 based upon Egyptian dates which are known to be 200 years off. MB2 in the Levant was from 1950-1800 BC according to my new Egyptian chronology in sync with the Bible (free at website). Ussher placed the separation of Abram and Lot in 1918 BC, and Sodom’s destruction twenty years later, so there is no dating difficulty for Tell-Hammam being Sodom.

  2. Steven says

    Mr. Bolen’s take on the location of Sodom is simply erroneous. His views on the geography of Sodom simply won’t hold water (true of anyone who holds the southern view). His hyper-literalist approach to the patriarchal chronology simply doesn’t fit the realities of Levantine archaeology. The evidence for Tall el-Hammam as Sodom is simply overwhelming. For the minute details I suggest reading the upcoming book by Latayne Scott and me, Discovering the City of Sodom (Simon & Schuster/Howard), releasing in early April.

  3. Steven says

    Just another quick note…
    Bolen’s comment that the northern Sodom view “has been around for a decade or so” (when I started writing about it) is misleading. In fact, it was the dominant viewpoint of the 19th century explorer-scholars of the southern Levant—men like Tristram, Conder, Merrill, Thomson, and Wilson. It was Albright and Wright in the 20th century who went south by completely ignoring Gen 13:1-12.

  4. Steven says

    Necessary background on Bolen’s views of biblical chronology…
    Bolen has not a single valid geographical point against the ID of Tall el-Hammam as Sodom. His (and others’) rejection of it is based on the chronology of Hammam’s destruction which, he claims, is too late for the career of Abraham. One must, however, understand Bolen’s views on patriarchal chronology. First, he believes the creation of the world happened about 4000 BC, and that the birth of Abraham was 2166 BC. His literal base-10 configuration of the chronology has Abraham still going strong during the career of Jacob, and Isaac still going strong during the life of Joseph. In his view, Abraham’s 175 years are literal, and the others as well. This is all configured based on a 1446 date for the Exodus following a 430-year Israelite sojourn in Egypt, both of which are taken from the 10th century AD Masoretic Text (which contains the only evidence for such values). Bolen rejects both a middle (14th century BC) and late (13th century BC) date for the Exodus as heretical thinking. He rejects any idea that the biblical lifespan numbers could be base-6 or formulaic/honorific or symbolic in any way. He will not accept any site as Sodom that does not fit into his chronology. Which is why I find it odd that he would even consider any of the southern sites, seeing that they pre-date his Abraham by hundreds of years (such as Bab edh-Dhra, destroyed 2350 BC; and Numeira, destroyed 2600 BC). All the southern sites are much too early for a connection with Abraham, but Bolen is willing to stretch the archaeology far beyond the breaking point to accommodate his ideas. Those who take a later date for the Exodus (middle or late date) have no problem with the date of Hammam’s destruction being linked to Sodom. So, readers just need to know what kind of chronological view leads to Bolen’s rejection of Hammam as Sodom.

  5. Jim says

    Read the arguments and not surprised by the impasse. Maybe, the heavens have just bowled you both a googly. This year it was proved by Ackermann et al that much of the cosmic ray flux comes from supernovae; 5 years previously Damon et al showed that the hard gamma ray pulse from a supernova was sufficient to increment C-14 count in trees by ~6% after ingestion over a 3 yr period. This means that C-14 gets boosted twice every hundred years on average, and so most furniture and structural timber excavated is likely to have incorporated at least one burst of extra radiocarbon in its lifetime. Ditto for people. As ceramic typology gives relative dates, and needs to be tied to associated radiocarbon or dendrochronological items for an absolute age determination, surel;y there’s a fair chance that the date-range you assign to MB2 could be too young.

  6. Todd says

    Steven Collins frequently misrepresents opposing views and his comments above are no exception. Readers may follow the links above to read what I and others have written and to come to their own conclusions.

  7. Jim says

    Sorry – the the seciond reference date came out wrong: here’s the actual reference:-
    Figure 3 from Damon et al’s paper “ RADIOCARBON PRODUCTION BY THE GAMMA-RAY COMPONENT OF SUPERNOVA EXPLOSIONS”, Radiocarbon 37 (1995) 599-604, shows the measured increase in 14C in a sequoia two years after the supernova SN1006 was observed in the sky in AD1006. The two year pulse-lag indicates the time between the actual explosion and the creation of the gamma ray pulse from ricochetting protons caught between expanding shockwaves. That galactic supernova was seen – most wouldn’t have been (a) because of optical frequency blocking (nebular dust etc) and (b) nobody was watching the skies at that time.

    The good news is that the same pulse that spawned the 14C must also have incremented the amount of measurable 13C in the same wood or other organic residue: if there is an anomalous Δ13C pulse for a date sample, then it probably means that there has been a cosmic ray flux at that time, assuming no other (chemical) processes have caused increased 13C concentration. Unless I’m missing something a subsequent 14C age estimate should then be treated with caution. How sure are you of the start and cut-off dates for MB2 in the Levant?

  8. Steven says

    I do not believe that I have misrepresented Mr. Bolen’s views on biblical chronology. As far as I can tell, he holds to Bishop Ussher’s chronology or something very close to it. This means a creation of the world ca. 4000 BC, a Noah’s flood ca. 2500 BC, and Abraham’s birth ca. 2166 BC. If he holds dates substantially different from these, then I stand corrected. The old, traditional chronology for the patriarchs (with Abram’s birth ca. 2166) is that of Ussher. This is the date Bolen accepts as far as I can determine.
    As for the MB2 dates in the Levant, they are tied to Egyptian chronology via ceramics. As K.A. Kitchen has clearly demonstrated (On the Reliability of the Old Testament), the patriarchs belong between 1900 and 1540 BC based on historical synchronisms and elements of cultural specificity. Placing Abraham in the Intermediate Bronze Age 2 (2200-2000 BCE) is simply not possible for a host of reasons, from cultural affinities to climatological regimes. According to Genesis, the time of Abraham was a time of relative prosperity and powerful cities. Neither of these was a reality in Cisjordan Canaan during either IB1 or IB2.
    As for the C14 dating, most calibrated dates still are not as accurate as ceramic assemblages for the most part. However, the technology is advancing.

  9. Steven says

    I have re-read Mr. Schlegel’s attempt to refute my position on Sodom’s location (his comments are on Bolen’s blog with link given above). I strongly encourage everyone to read it, then compare what he says with the Hebrew text itself. He suggests that Gen 13 doesn’t require that Sodom be on the Kikkar of the Jordan. This is sheer nonsense. Sodom and sister cities are called “the Cities of the Kikkar,” and the Kikkar is “the Kikkar of the Jordan.” Period. Sodom was on the Kikkar (Disk) of the Jordan, the alluvial plain of the Jordan north of the Dead Sea, and that entire area was visible from Bethe/Ai located WNW of Jericho—all according to Gen 13:1-12. Any suggestion of a southern Sodom remains a distortion of the text, as it always has been. I encourage readers to assess the geography of Gen 13 on their own, then make up their own minds.

  10. Todd says

    Steven Collins frequently misrepresents opposing views and his comments above are no exception. He has never heard me say anything about the date of creation, the flood, or Ussher’s chronology; he has invented these in an effort to discredit what I’ve written. Readers may follow the links above to read what I and others have written and to come to their own conclusions.

  11. Steven says

    I think readers deserve to understand Bolen’s views on biblical chronology simply because they color his interpretation of biblical and archaeological data. One’s views on biblical chronology are important in the discussion. I would like to hear from him exactly how I have misinterpreted his vews on biblical chronology. To the degree that I have misrepresented his views, I will stand corrected.

  12. James says

    It’s obvious there won’t be any agreement on the dating at this point – so shouldn’t some other approach be used to decide the issue? The reports on Tall-el-Hammam pointed to extensive and unusual MB2 destruction. As the Genesis account of the Sodom destruction mentioned the removal of 4 cities, wouldn’t a determination of the perimeter of the MB2 destruction combined with the ascertaining of 4 significant cities within that boundary showing an ash layer of MB2 damage be fairly conclusive evidence that these were the Biblical Cities of the Plain? I’m guessing that with modern core-drilling equipment it shouldn’t be very difficult to obtain that kind of information, assuming that there is some clue to where the cities are. Determining the perimeter shouldn’t be too difficult. I apologize if it has already been done.

  13. Douglas says

    Eve, only rogue ANE-enthusiasts who want to make quick-and-easy synchronizations between biblical history and ANE history subscribe to the notion that “Egyptian dates . . . are known to be 200 years off.” This simply is choosing to live in ignorance and support one’s presuppositions, and it displays a naivete that draws sighs of disbelief from ANE scholars and biblical scholars who’ve poured their lives into this field. For beginners, you cannot begin MB IIA in 1950. It simply does not work, if for no other reason than the duckbill axe (Beni Hasan) from Year 6 of Sesostris II, which tool/weapon is diagnostic for MB IIA and requires this period to be in place by 1881/80, at the latest. Moreover, my forthcoming book on Israel in Egypt, which obviously has a much more precise Egyptian chronology than you are offering, is going to demonstrate powerfully and conclusively that Jacob came to Egypt in 1876 (Year 2 or 3 of Sesostris III), that Joseph served under Sesostris III, and that Joseph’s son Manasseh was running an industry in the environs of Egypt during the reign of Amenemhet III, among other things. Whichever guru you are following–whether it be Ussher, Rohl, Bimson, or whomever, you would be much better off to burn those books and start from scratch. Stick will studying scholars who have formally studied Egyptology, ANE history, and biblical history with much greater and broader depth (and not just 1 or two of the above).

  14. Douglas says

    Eve, I forgot to mention that you cannot possibly end MB II in 1800. You obviously have not studied the archaeology and history of Egypt very well. The 12th Dynasty does not end until ca. 1801, and then you have a period of 13th-Dynasty kings who ruled while the MK persisted, followed by a number who ruled after its collapse, about 23 in total. Then you have Hyksos rule, which lasted anywhere from 108-148 years, depending on your preferred ancient sources. This takes MB II to 1550, unless you’re going to say that the Hyksos period equals MB III, in which case MB II ends in ca. 1650. Only in 1550 does LB I begin. Therefore, there is no way possible to have Lot’s separation with Abram in 1918. Egyptian history is not “off by 200 years”; rather, historical revisionism is off by 200 problems.

  15. Steven says

    Comment to Douglas…
    Actually the end of MB2 (I don’t like anything about an MB3; too ephemeral) has to be adjusted to the date (a bit uncertain) when Ahmosis drove the Hyksos military from Egypt. As I recall, that happened around year 19 of his reign. So, the end of the Hyksos Period could be as late as 1540 or 1530 BCE. But I agree, the band of uncertainty in the Egyptian chronology is only about 30-50 years, not anything like Rohl suggests. His views don’t synch culturally or in any other way with either biblical or ANE history. Tall el-Hammam has some Hyksos affinities (such as Tell el-Yahudieh ware and a few scarabs), but ceramically our terminal date is looking like it’s earlier and not later, between 1750 and 1700 BCE. All the MB2 cities in the Kikkar were destroyed at the same time because they share the same ceramic horizon.

  16. ULRICH says

    Comment to Dr. Collins…
    I’ve found nothing about the ash layer at Tall el-Hammam (chemical composition). Since the time of destruction you dated around 1650 BCE (in the book), it is close to the Thera eruption, dated scientifically at 1628 BCE. Moreover, the ash of the Thera event is found only eastwards of Santorini Isle. The Thera eruption is thought was about 5 times that of Krakatoa and an instantaneous explosion. It’s possible that a great incandescent volcanic mass was ejected obliquely into the stratosphere and landed in the east Jordan kikkar. I cannot imagine that a meteorite impact would leave such an amount of ash.
    Is an ash analysis of Tall el-Hammam and its comparison with Thera ash under way?

  17. dean says

    Everyone has an opinion, and only one of your opinions can be correct. What Collins has found is something that was destroyed by intense heat, something the ancient world could not have produced. I am no scientist, but I doubt a volcano could have caused the destruction Collins has found at Tall El-Hammam. Too sudden, almost instant death. How does the Pompeii destruction compare? Lots of ash, but bodies well preserved. In any case, for me, it does not matter whether Sodom is found or not. There is copious evidence for the historicity of the rest of the Biblical account, and no archeological find has ever contradicted the Bible. Therefore, I think it best to ponder the meaning of Genesis 13 for today.

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  19. Watyam says

    I am a UK citizen . I am the unpublished author of “Turtle island Is Atlantis (The Untold Story)” . It is a presentation dealing with the known facts surrounding the existence of the legendary “Atlantis” . The facts I present are the only known facts . They are extremely few and far between . As the genuine readership of Atlantis will appreciate , a recent publication of a work claiming to have found Atlantis was a publicity stunt . Nothing more !

    Now then , to Sodom and Gomorrah ; The original Old Testament ; the work particularly surrounding the Biblical Flood Version is a doctored version . It is as it always was , flawed , unsafe , unsound and far , far from the truth and facts as can ever be . However , whilst academics , scholars and so-called “Professional” historians are forever laying claims , let me put a spanner in the works . Since the latter half-quarter of the 19th century not one of the published authors writing on the subject of “Ancient mysteries” , inclusive of the Biblical Flood ( Also thought to be the scientific Meltdown which science dated to 11000 BC , and which , as I have indicated in my unpublished work “The Flood Dichotomy” , may well have been what I have referred to as “Sitchin’s Flood Catastrophe” ) have ever placed their revelations/discoveries/findings/opinions in the context of the Biblical Flood Version – or any other of the flood dates which have been published . I have not the time to check my books here , but surely , it was sometime in the 1990s that it was declared that Sodom and Gomorrah were discovered beneath the ” Dead Sea” ? Of course , there will never ever be the proof , the truth will not be known nor acknowledged if ever the truth and the facts were known ! There are two megalithic structures beneath the dead Sea . If it were ever shown that they represent Sodom and Gomorrah…then Dr Collins would have to rethink . So , too , all others in his capacity . The “Christian” God did not send angels to speak with Lot . Modern science suggests one of two scenarios ; nuked cities or cities literally obliterated from the face of Earth by at least one asteroid . The date ? Dating systems are but guidelines . The date is unknown . Angels ? If you ignore asteroid impact-s entirely , then you have to decide on Gods and angels = Aliens and they set about destroying the world or WE , our very own ancestors rose to or even beyond a nuclear age into a space age . WE unleashed a nuclear and chemical war upon ourselves . Which version ?

  20. mike says

    The trinitite glass found at Tel Hammam convinces me!

  21. Kevin says

    Mike, it is not only trinitite, it is all of the overwhelming evidences thus far discovered. Reading the biblical text (as I have many times myself) no one could ever place these cities at the southern end of the Dead Sea. This is like the traditional placement of Mt Sinai. Anyone who has seen/visited this place knows it is not the correct location (it doesn’t fit any of the scripture). If you are not following the Biblical text in looking for Biblical places, you are traversing unknown lands without a map, compass, or even the sun to guide you. In other words, you are flying blind.

  22. Bob says

    If something has been ‘destroyed’ why are any parts of a city being found. According to the Bible, the only thing that was left was pillars of salt. Finding ruins of Sodom would defy what the Bible says unless there was clear signs that these ruins had been previously destroyed, which would surely exist and be a good thing to look for.

  23. Kevin says

    I believe you are thinking of Lot’s wife being a pillar of salt. The Bible, when speaking of Sodom, says Abraham could see thick smoke, and that the cities were overthrew (burned). It also says the land was nothing more than brimstone, salt, and burning (Deut) so that nothing could grow at that time. But that does not mean there would be no evidences of the ruined burnt out cities (set as an example to those coming after Sodom of what happens under such circumstances). Josephus wrote that the burnt destruction of those cities could be seen in his time (1st century).

  24. Lawrence says

    I think that Dr. Steven Collins has been vindicated, by all of the evidence to date.

    The bible and trowl go well; hand in hand.

  25. Noel says

    The Bible gives a date for the exodus …

    And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord. 1st Kings 6:1 (KJV)

    The conventional dates for this is around 970 bc … Thiele 1983, p. 78. This gives us a date of 1450 bc for the exodus. At the time of Thutmose 3rd. Those dates can be argued by a few years.

    How long were Isreal in Egypt?

    The answer is given by Henry Ainsworth, a British theologian from the early 1600s:

    “Ver. 13. Knowing Know,] That is, know assuredly: see Gen. ii. 17. Not Theirs,] Meaning Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Canaan itself; wherein they were but strangers, Gen. xvii. 8. Psal. cv. 11, 12. and therein afflicted. Gen. xxi. 9. xxvi. 7, 14, 15, &c. but chiefly in Egypt. Four Hundred Years,] Which began when Ishmael, son of Hagar the Egyptian, mocked and persecuted Isaac, Gen. xxi. 9. Gal. iv. 29. which fell out thirty years after the promise, Gen. xii. 3. which promise was four hundred and thirty years before the law, Gal. iii. 17. and four hundred and thirty years after that promise, came Israel out of bondage, Exod. xii. 41. 2 (emphasis added)” (Henry Ainsworth)

    That means that when Lot and Abraham split up, it was already within the 430 year period of ‘Isreal in Egypt’ … this is AFTER 1880bc …(give or take a few years). (1450bc plus 430 = 1880bc).

    I think that agrees with the dates that Dr Steven Collins gives for the patriarchs of between 1900 to 1550 bc ..

    “As K.A. Kitchen has clearly demonstrated (On the Reliability of the Old Testament), the patriarchs belong between 1900 and 1540 BC based on historical synchronisms and elements of cultural specificity.”

  26. dom says

    It is possible that it may have occured there too. The actual sites of Sodom and Gommorah were revealed to Ron Wyatt, and amateur archeaologist over 25 years ago, In searching the Bible for clues to their locations, Ron and his wife Mary Nell found scripture references that mention four of the cities as forming part of the boundaries of the Canaanites:
    “And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.” ……Genesis 10:19
    It would be strange for Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim to each be listed as boundary markers if they were all in the same general location, at the south end of the Dead Sea. It is logical that the cities would be located at some distance from each other in order for it to be necessary to include each of them as boundary markers.
    Ron’s location of the sites he had found were, indeed, scattered over a distance of over fifty or more miles. One of them was located North of Jericho which was in perfect accord with scripture which indicates that Zeboim would be located North of the Dead Sea.
    “And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual: And another company turned the way to Bethhoron: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboin toward the wilderness.”
    1 Samuel 13:16-18
    Later in 1989, Ron and Mary Nell Wyatt visited the site just below Masada and took samples of the whitish material which broke right off in their hands and disintegrated into particles the consistency of talcum powder. At that time, Mary Nell actually found one of the brimstone capsules imbedded in a piece of compacted ash, however, no conclusion was drawn, at that time, as to what it was.
    In October of 1990, Ron Wyatt and Richard Rives returned to area. As they examined the area below Masada they discovered that it had just rained. As they wandered through the area, Richard saw what looked like an open room or cave at some distance and as they approached the vicinity of the cave they came upon a very large chunk of ash that had just recently fallen from a high section – probably because of the recent rain. As Ron stopped to view this he saw numerous yellowish balls inside this broken ash, all surrounded by a reddish-black, crusty ring. Prying one out, he recognized it as sulfur. On closer examination, now knowing what to look for, it was found that all through the ashen remains were round balls of encapsulated sulfur (brimstone).
    After the discovery of the brimstone. Wyatt Archaeological Research began a study to see if brimstone was found in this form anywhere else. Ron and Mary Nell Wyatt along with Richard Rives went to the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington D.C. and examined their display of sulfur in its various forms, none being rounded balls of powdered sulfur. In addition, none of them were encapsulated. A request was granted by the Smithsonian that specimens other than those on display be examined. This collection of sulfur from around the world, consisted of over fifty specimens. None of them displayed the characteristics of the brimstone sulfur found in the vicinity of the “cities of the plain.”
    Ron Wyatt was not the first person to discover brimstone near the Dead Sea. When William Albright and Melvin Kyle set out to find the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in 1924, they, too, found these pieces of brimstone at Southern end of the Dead Sea.
    “…a region on which brimstone was rained will show brimstone. Well, it does; we picked up pure sulfur, in pieces as big as the end of my thumb. It is mixed with the marl of the mountains on the west side of the sea, and now is to be found scattered along the shore of the sea even on the east side, some four or five miles distant from the ledge that contains the stratum. It has somehow scattered far and wide over this plain.” “Explorations at Sodom” by Dr. Melvin Kyle, 1928, pp. 52-53.
    Neither was Marvin Kyle the first to observe the ashen remains. The other record of these cities comes from Josephus in his “Wars of the Jews”, Book IV, Chapter VIII:
    “Now this country is then so sadly burnt up, that nobody cares to come at it;… It was of old a most happy land, both for the fruits it bore and the riches of its cities, although it be now all burnt up. It is related how for the impiety of its inhabitants, it was burnt by lightning; in consequence of which there are still the remainders of that divine fire; and the traces (or shadows) of the five cities are still to be seen,…”
    Josephus’ description perfectly describes what can be seen at these ashen sites: “…It be now all burnt up.”
    The account of destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah and “all the plain” was not a fairy tale. It was an historical event that occurred exactly as the Biblical account presented it. Not only that, but the evidence remains, as Peter wrote, as an “ensample [a visual example] unto those that after should live ungodly”. They provide the entire world with the evidence of, as Jude wrote, “the vengeance of eternal fire.”
    Bearing this in mind let us consider the writings of Malachi who wrote of the final reward of the wicked:
    ” …behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”
    ” But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 4:1-3

  27. Mark says

    What makes me excited about the prospect of Tel El Hammam possibly being the authentic site is the weakness of the arguments against the site. With some of the other various biblical sites I have followed over the years, arguments against the sites have been substantial. Here and elsewhere, for Tel El Hammam, the arguments I have read have seemed rather weak.

  28. Patricia says

    I am fascinated with this site of Tel El Hammam for a different reason. I believe this region of the plain to be the burial ground of Gog from Ezekiel 39:11. “Gog” is equated with the nation of Israel in Numbers 24:5-9 in the LXX. Josephus details a major battle in AD 68 when thousands of fleeing Israelites were trapped against the Jordan and slaughtered by Placidus and his Roman troops. Many of their dead bodies were carried downstream into the Dead Sea (Wars 4.7.4-6). Presumably these thousands of Israelites were later buried there in the plain where all of the bodies and the bones of Israelite dead from the Jewish / Roman war were taken for burial in order to “cleanse the land” of Israel (Ezekiel 39:11 &16). It would be interesting if signs of a mass burial ground were to be found in this same area, dating from that AD 70 era. It would be indeed ironic if the site of the original Sodom’s destruction was also the cemetery for Jerusalem’s dead of AD 70 to be interred – the city that was “spiritually called SODOM and Egypt” in Rev. 11:8.

  29. Tim says

    How do you deal with the lines of evidence stated here:

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