as a little girl I wanted to be just like Indiana Jones when I grew up but my college professor killed those dreams when he wouldn’t let me bring my whip to class…

Now I live vicariously through other people whose teachers obviously had no objections to whips.

Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project believes they found the site of Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s a quite fascinating the work they’ve completed thus far. Interestingly, on their site that make no assumptions about what happened to the inhabitants of this ancient city; however, John Bergsma attended a session discussing the dig and writes about it here – the elephant in the room.

“The cities at the site were suddenly and completely wiped out in the Late Bronze Age, which makes a reasonably good fit with the biblical accounts of Abraham and Lot. The entire presentation was very convincing, but never once did they deal with the “elephant in the room”: what caused the sites to be suddenly abandoned? As soon as the session was over, I was the first to raise my hand. “Did you find any arrow heads? Signs of invasion? What happened to them?” The lead archeologist paused for a moment. “I didn’t want to go there,” he said. Another pause. “I’m preparing material for publication.” Pause. “All I want to say ‘on camera’ is, they appear to have been wiped out in a ‘heat event’.”

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  • tj.nelson

    “All I want to say ‘on camera’ is, they appear to have been wiped out in a ‘heat event’.”

    Ah ha! Global warming!

  • kenneth

    I’m more than a little skeptical of this project and the people running it. If you look at their work and credentials, it’s obvious that Biblical archaeology is about apologetics, not science. They may employ some scientific methods and make some decent discoveries, but it’s science done with a pre-determined agenda – to “prove the Bible true.” In what I have read of Steven Collins, he seems to believe that the credibility of the Bible, and thus of Christianity in our society, rests in some measure upon the agreement of archaeological evidence with the text of the Bible. In other words, he REALLY doesn’t want to see the Bible “proven wrong” by the digs.

    When they start relying on supernatural explanations for things they find, they’re not practicing science at all. The suggestion which is apparently being discreetly floated out to true believers, is that they think the site makes a case for the “smiting” event in which God blasted the city with an atomic-like fireball or somesuch. Some sites commenting on his work indicate that this sort of thinking was inspired by some bits of pottery with a glaze-like covering which were believed to date from an era before people could fire their kilns hot enough to make such a glaze. It’s a big, big leap from something like that to a conclusion that a civilization was “wiped out” by some sort of supernatural cataclysm.

    If they believe they found Sodom and further that the settlement ended due to some truly extraordinary event, I’d love to see it published and put through the peer-review process by people who have the background and training to properly validate or criticize the findings on a scientific footing.

    • I think this statement, taken directly from their site, contradicts your claims that Biblical archaeology is apologetic, not science.

      “doing archaeology solely from a biblical perspective can mean missing the larger reality of Near Eastern cultural milieus. A biblical (hermeneutical) bias might possibly influence the interpretation of data which, ironically, could otherwise be used to illumine the biblical narrative itself. In all archaeological endeavors, what we must strive for is objectivity. Indeed, sites with no clear biblical connection are just as important for determining the history of the region. Archaeological importance should never be equated with biblical importance. A careful assessment of all evidential avenues is the only reasonable approach to archaeology. “