‘Fire and Brimstone’ that Destroyed Biblical Sodom Matches Findings of Cosmic Catastrophe 3,700 Years Ago
Analysis of archaeological sites north of the Dead Sea demonstrate that a meteor explosion in the skies 3,700 years ago instantly obliterated a civilization and destroyed once fertile farmland in several settlements in the area of what is now Jordan. This discovery provides another explanation for the sudden desertion of what researchers believe to be the biblical city of Sodom.
The Middle Ghor Event
ScienceNews reports archaeologists have blamed the low-altitude explosion of a meteor for the abandonment of at least five archaeological sites in a 25-kilometer-wide (15.53 mile) circular plain called Middle Ghor in modern day Jordan. Ground surveys suggest 120 smaller settlements may have also been affected by the Bronze Age catastrophe and once fertile farmlands in the area were made barren. Despite the 2,500 years of occupation at the sites before the tragic event, the catastrophe was such that the lands were abandoned for centuries.
A less threatening meteor in the sky. ‘The Meteor of 1860’ by Frederic Edwin Church. (Public Domain)
Archaeologist Phillip Silvia of Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque and his colleagues presented their findings last week at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR). The ASOR Abstract states their analysis suggests “[…] a Tunguska like, cosmic airburst event that obliterated civilization including the Middle Bronze Age city state anchored by Tall el Hammam in the Middle Ghor (the 25 km diameter circular plain immediately north of the Dead Sea) ca. 1700 B.C.E., or 3700 years before present (3.7kaBP).”
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Evidence for the Meteor Over the Dead Sea
Their evidence comes primarily from analysis of samples taken over 12 years of excavations by Silvia and others during the Tall el Hammam Excavation Project and at nearby sites. One way researchers found indications of Tall el Hammam’s desertion comes in the form of radiocarbon dating of the stone foundations, which were all that was left when mudbrick buildings unexpectedly disappeared about 3,700 years ago.
Tell el-Hammam; Kafrein Trenches 2. (APAAME/CC BY NC ND 2.0)
The extreme heat of the meteor’s explosion explains the vitrification of the outer layers of pottery from the same time period. Strong winds also sent “tiny, spherical mineral grains that apparently rained down on Tall el-Hammam” according to Silvia. This is the dark ash that was discovered burying the scorched foundations.
Tall el Hammam – The Biblical Sodom?
Tall el Hammam is a fascinating site. In 2015, researchers declared that the archaeological site “matches the description of the area where Sodom was located according to the Bible.” Steven Collins of Trinity Southwest University of New Mexico, who has been excavating the site for at least 10 years, explained how they made the link, “It [Sodom] was said to be the largest city east of Kikkar. So, I came to the conclusion that if one wanted to find Sodom, one should seek the largest city that existed in this area during the Bronze Age, in the time of Abraham. When we explored the region, Tall el-Hammam was an obvious choice, as it was five to ten times larger than the other Bronze Age cities throughout the region, even those found beyond Jordan.”
A comparison of the site’s size and the artifacts unearthed there alongside those discovered at nearby cities led the researchers to assert they have “no doubt that Tall el-Hammam was the ancient city of Sodom.”
And now there’s a strong scientific explanation to accompany the religious one for why the city was suddenly abandoned so long ago.
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In the abstract for their presentation at the ASOR meeting, the researchers call the meteor explosion the “Middle Ghor Event” and explain that it not only wiped out “100% of the Middle Bronze Age cities and towns” in the area, but also sent “a super-heated brine of Dead Sea anhydride salts” over the farm land, making it barren.
Dead Sea salt. (CC0)
They suspect that the event was so devastating that people did not return to inhabit the region for 600 or 700 years. The discovery of huge iron gates at Tall el Hammam announced the repossession of that key city after centuries of abandonment.