Biblical Archaeology: Sodom and Gomorrah

The definition of archaeology is: The systematic study of past human life and culture by the recovery of remaining material evidence, such as graves, buildings, tools, and pottery. The remains of the cities once known as Sodom and Gomorrah, and three other cities on the plain in the same area, are not standard when one thinks of archaeological remains; but the exploration of these sites would still fall under archaeology as it pertains to the study of remaining material evidence.

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the most well known from the Bible. In Genesis chapter 19, there is an account of the Creator destroying these cities by raining down fire and brimstone from heaven. “And YaHuWaH(God) rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, from YaHuWaH out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”  (Genesis 19:24-25)  Most people know of Sodom and Gomorrah, but as is mentioned here, it speaks of all the plain, and in Deuteronomy we are told of more cities that were overthrown along with Sodom and Gomorrah: “All its land is sulfur, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboyim, which YaHuWaH overthrew in His displeasure and His wrath.”  (Deuteronomy 29:23) It is important to note here that brimstone is more commonly known as sulfur. The location of this event, and of the ancient cities on the plain abides next to the present day Dead Sea, which rests on the dividing line between Israel and Jordan. But is this account really true?

First century historian and author Flavius Josephus recounts in his book “The Jewish War,” the following: “…indeed there are still marks of the fire from heaven and the outlines of five cities to be seen, and ashes still form part of the growing fruits, which have all the appearance of eatable fruit, but when plucked with the hand dissolve into smoke and ashes. To this extent the stories about the land of Sodom are confirmed by the evidence of our eyes.” Here Josephus makes mention of five cities, and as we will see another city by the name of Zoar was also the recipient of Judgment. In the Biblical account, Zoar is the city that Lot, Abraham’s nephew, fled to when he was delivered out of Sodom by messengers of the Most High before the Judgment fell on Sodom. Lot then fled to a cave, along with his two daughters, before Judgment fell on Zoar for the same reasons as the other four cities. 

In more recent times, a Nashville, TN, based nurse anesthetist by the name of Ron Wyatt has provided compelling evidence for the truth of the Biblical account. Wyatt had been conducting archaeological expeditions in Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia during the 1970’s and 1980’s; specifically in regards to the Red Sea crossing, the resting place of Noah’s Ark, the location of the real Mt. Sinai in Arabia, and also with the finding of the Ark of the Covenant beneath the site of the crucifixion in 1982. Wyatt had been traveling back and forth between Jerusalem and the Gulf of Aqaba(the area of the Red Sea crossing) and noticed what appeared to be white ashen remains amidst a brown desert backdrop along the Dead Sea. In 1988 he began to investigate and discovered very distinct structures within the very distinct white regions. The visual evidence for ancient structures is very clear and they are all nothing but pure ash. Pure ash, along with one other element: the presence of endless amounts of sulfur balls encased in capsules. The sulfur balls, when found on hard surfaces on the ground, were surrounded by brown/red burn circles, or rings. Structures at these locations include buildings, ziggurats, and what are thought to have been sphinxes. Ziggurats are pyramidal, step shaped structures probably used for worship or sacrifice. 

Wyatt explored five sites where this same ash and sulfur were omnipresent, one of which was Zoar. The ashen material at these sites is calcium sulfate, which is the result of limestone mixed with sulfur at temperatures exceeding 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Just as Josephus wrote in the 1st century, this ash turns into dust as fine as talcum powder when handled and crushed. Naturally occurring sulfur is approximately 40% sulfur and is yellow in color. The sulfur from these sites was/is white. Wyatt had these sulfur balls analyzed through New Zealander Ross Patterson at Spectra Chem Analytical laboratories in Wellington, New Zealand. The results showed the samples to be approximately 98% pure sulfur. Wyatt is also known to have used Galbraith labs in Knoxville, TN, for analysis of other materials in his expeditions, namely that of material found at the resting place for Noah’s Ark in Turkey. He may have used this lab for further analysis of the sulfur but I could find no information on that. White sulfur samples of 98% purity is something not found anywhere on earth with the exception of the samples taken from the ashen sites along the Dead Sea.

By comparison, in the first century the volcano Mt. Vesuvius destroyed the city of Pompeii, in present day Italy, and left the city under ash. Today, the city has hardened  remains of stone structures and does not resemble the sites of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other ancient cities of the plain in the slightest manner. This was a natural event, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a supernatural event just as described in the Bible, and is the reason for the unnatural purity of the sulfur. As well, nothing grows in these areas and the Dead Sea is unusually dense with salt just as described in Deuteronomy 29:23. 2 Peter 2:6 and Jude 1:7 tells us specifically that these cities have been left as an example. Jude 1:7 and Ezekiel 16:49 tells us why this Judgment fell on these cities.

Stunning visual footage of the remains of these ancient cities can be seen at the website and Youtube channel Ron made numerous return trips to Sodom and Gomorrah through the 1990’s before his passing in 1999. Also, the video presentation by Ross Patterson on Youtube entitled: “Sodom and Gomorrah-true location found-Ross Patterson,” provides great information and a thorough visual tour of these sites. The remains of Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeboyim, Admah, and Zoar may be the most compelling visual evidence for the truth of the Bible anywhere on earth. This event took place approximately 3900 years ago. The aforementioned verse of 2 Peter 2:6 tells us not only that this is an example, but is also a warning:

“For if Elohim did not spare the messengers(fallen angels) who sinned, but sent them to Tartaros, and delivered them unto chains of darkness, to be kept for judgment, and did not spare the world of old, but preserved Noah, a proclaimer of righteousness, and seven others, bringing in the flood on the world of the wicked, and having turned to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah condemned them to destruction-having made them an example to those afterward who would live ungodly.”   (2 Peter 2:4-6)

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