and Gomorrah Destroyed
|The book of Genesis tells us the story how God had Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed during the time of Abraham. Is the location of Sodom and Gomorrah found? Can archaeology confirm when and how the cities were abandoned?|
and Gomorrah Destroyed
The history of Sodom and Gomorrah has long been viewed as a legend. Critics assume that it was created to communicate moral principles. However, throughout the Bible is referred to the ruin of the two cities as a historical event. The Old Testament mentions the destruction of Sodom several times (Deuteronomy 29:23, Isaiah 13:19, Jeremiah 49:18), and these cities play a key role in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles (Matthew 10:15, 2 Peter 2:6 and Jude 7). What has archaeology found to establish the existence of these cities?
Actually Sodom and Gomorrah were only two of five cities close to each other in this region. “At this time Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim, went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim(the Salt Sea)” (Genesis 14:1-3). The “Salt Sea" is another name for the Dead Sea. To the east six wadies, or river valleys, flow into the Dead Sea.
Along five of these wadies, ancient cities were discovered. The
most northern site is Bab
edh-Drha, which is assumed by many to have been Sodom. Bab edh-Dhra was occupied during the early Bronze Age (third
Overlooking the Dead Sea from a height of 550 feet, Bab edh-Dhra was no doubt built on a
bluff for defense purposes. The site consists of a town and a large
cemetery. In 1924, renowned archaeologist Dr. William F. Albright excavated this site,
searching for Sodom and Gomorrah. He discovered it had once been heavily fortified. Although he
identified this city as one of the “Cities
of the Plains” (Genesis 13:11), he found no conclusive
evidence to justify this assumption.
More digging was done in 1965, 1967, 1973 and 1979. Archaeologists discovered a 23-inch thick wall that circled the city, along with numerous houses and a large temple. Outside the city were huge grave sites where thousands of skeletons were unearthed. This showed the city was well populated during the early Bronze Age, when Abraham lived. Most intriguing was the evidence that a massive fire had destroyed the city. It lay beneath a layer of ash several feet thick. A cemetery only one kilometer (a little more than half a mile) outside the city contained charred remains of roofs, posts, and bricks that had turned red from intense heat.
It is also significant that only five sites have been located in the Dead Sea area, and each was near a flowing spring. All five date to the early Bronze Age, and there is no evidence of other occupations in the area until the Romans arrived more than 2,000 years later.
The archaeological world is still divided on the identity of this location as Sodom and Gomorrah and other cities of the plain. Some claim the evidence strongly suggests this is the site, but it is not conclusive. Others claim that these are the sites of the cities. Most recently this claim was renewed in 1999 by the Associates of Biblical Research. 
For more about the Historical Reliability of the Bible
 Editor, Hershel Shanks : BAR 06:05 (Sep/Oct 1980). Biblical Archaeology Society, (2002).
 Willmington, H. L.: Willmington's Bible Handbook (1997), page 888.
 The Bible and Spade Summer 1999 (Vol. 12, No. 3) from the Associates for Biblical Research.
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