Sodom and Gomorrah Update -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 06:1 (Winter 1977)
Article: Sodom and Gomorrah Update
Author: Anonymous


Sodom and Gomorrah Update

In our Summer 1974 issue we published the first definitive report on one of the most significant finds of recent years—the discovery of five sites southeast of the Dead Sea which appear to be the Cities of the Plain mentioned in Genesis chapters 13, 14, and 19. The most famous of these five cities were Sodom and Gomorrah, so often mentioned in the Bible as examples of God’s judgment on sin.

Our Summer 1974 report was based on a very preliminary announcement of the discovery issued by the scholars involved, Walter E. Rast of Valparaiso University and R. Thomas Schaub of Pennsylvania State University. Since that time, further details on the discovery, made in the summer of 1973, have been published. A very brief report of work done during May and June, 1975 has also been released. Plans call for further work to be carried out at the sites in the summers of 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983.

In the report of the 1973 discovery of the sites, one is struck by the evidence of widespread burning which the archaelogists found at these ancient cities (See Genesis 19). At Bab edh-Dhra, the northernmost of the five sites (see the map on page 24), Rast and Schaub reported that there is “evidence of severe burning on many of the stones.” (page 8 of Reference 1). At the next site to the south, Numeirah, the archaeologists found the following: “The site as a whole is covered with ashy soil, suggesting that it was not utilized after the destruction which appears to be so evident on the surface. On the north side especially, the soil is spongy ash, and can be picked up in handfulls.” (page 9 of Reference 1)

During the 1975 campaign, Rast and Schaub again visited the site of Numeirah. Since their last visit in 1973, they found that some illegal digging had taken place. To the amazement of the two scholars, the pit that had been dug cut through a layer of dark ash almost seven feet thick! In this layer of ash they saw a wooden beam and pottery sherds from the same period as the final occupation of the fortified town at Bab edh-Dhra. Rast and Schaub hope to begin excavation at Numeirah during the 1977 season. (Reference 2)

At Feifeh, further evidence of burning was found: “A surface feature worthy of attention was the thick spongy charcoal across

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