More on Sodom

17 May 2019

At … in 1908 a massive blast in Siberia flattened 2000 square kilometres of uninhabited taiga forestry. Curiously, no crater was found. Scientists explained it as a meteor exploding 5 to 10 km above the surface of the Earth. An interdisciplinary team of archaeologists and scientists are now using the 1908 Tunguska event as a model to explain the mysterious ending of a thriving civilisation near the Dead Sea. The Denver based American School of Oriental Research annual meeting saw a paper delivered by Phillip J Silvia (a member of SIS), 'The 3.7 BP Middle Ghor Event: Catstrophic Termination of a Bronze Age Civilisation'. According to Steve Collins, the excavator at Tall al-Hammam, the violent conflagration that ended occupation of the tell produced melted pottery, scorched foundation stones, and several feet of ash and destruction debris charred into a dark grey matrix.

At … the site of Tall al-Hammam commands the region over every other elevated site on the plain. The Dead Sea is to the SW, the Jordan River directly to the W, and the Jordanian Highlands to the E. It is surrounded by rich irrigated farmland. It provides a panoramic view. The tell is the ancient remains a city – going back at least as far as the Chalcolithic period of the 4th millennium BC (and probably even earlier). It was located at a cross roads of major trade routes, N to S and E to W. It became a monumental urban centre 5000 years ago – until suddenly it came to an end in a massive conflagration. It remained abandoned for the next 700 years. The article then goes on to provide an account of the excavations and what they have found, from an archaoelogists viewpoint.

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