» Home > In the News

Discovering Sodom

20 August 2018

The book, 'Discovering the City of Sodom' is now listed as a number 1 best seller on Amazon. The author's are Steve Collins and Latayne C Scott. It is published by Howard Books ( a subdivision of Simon and Schuster) : 2013. I purchased my copy a couple of years ago and was impressed by the claims made in it – more or less blowing away the idea Babh ed-Dhra could have been Sodom. The Kikkar region is full of ruin mounds – much like most of the Near East. It is the roundish plain where the river Jordan meets the Dead Sea (in a delta formation). Jericho lies on one periphery (in the west and across the Jordan river) and Tall el-Hammam on the opposite periphery (in the east). It contains sites which were abandoned and left in ruins at the close of the Chalcolithic period (such as Tuleilat Ghassul) and sites that thrived in the Bronze ages. During the Iron Age the term Kikkar was extended to a wider area to meet the confluence of the Jordan with the Jabbok river. South of the Jabbok we had Moab and Amman – and north of the Jabbok, the land of Gilead (between the Jabbok and the Yarmouk). Gilead was a contested region – claimed by the Arameans (who had swept out of North Arabia at the end of the LB age) and the tribes of Israel (who had historically conquered the region much earlier).

In 19th century maps the Plain of the Five cities was invariably located on the Kikkar (the northern end of the Dead Sea). It could be argued that the story of Lot contained elements of the whole country around the Dead Sea – and the ruin mound of Hammam does not come with a sign post saying, 'this is the city of Sodom'. We don't even know if Sodom was a later appellative applied to the ruins as a warning to not stray from God – of whichever tribe you belonged to. If sodomy was generally practised one has to wonder how the city survived over hundreds if not thousands of years. Many commentators regard the Sodom tale as religious hyperbole but if Hammam proves to have been destroyed by an airburst this view will have been dented.  

Skip to content