Scientists have conducted archeological excavations at Tall el-Hammam since 2005. What they have uncovered is astonishing evidence of an event that may confirm the biblical account of the destruction at Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Tall el-Hammam archaeological site
Tall el-Hammam is an ancient walled city in the southern Jordan Valley northeast of the Dead Sea. This is an area of the Great Rift Valley known as “Middle Ghor” Within this area, lies a massive mound, the largest in the Jordan Valley, where archaeologists uncovered the largest continuously occupied Bronze Age city in the southern Levant.
Five-foot layer of earth contains melted stone that “bubbled as if boiled”
Evidence at Tall el-Hammam reveals a massive urban city that was occupied from 4700 BC until around 1650 BC when it was mysteriously and utterly destroyed. The destruction they found differed from other ancient sites destroyed by warfare or earthquakes. At Tall el-Hammam, a five-foot thick layer of earth contained fragments of pottery and outer surfaces that had been inexplicably melted into glass, ‘bubbled as if boiled”.
All walls in the city, some more than 6-feet thick and 40-feet high, were seemingly sheared off nearly level with the tops of the upper-city wall foundations. In some instances, the upper stories of massive 4-5-story tall structures have completely disappeared. Bricks in the city were pulverized, some reddened by fire, and blown off the site to the northeast.
Roofing clay was melted, bones were charred, wooden beams were carbonized. Limestone cobble was burned to a chalk-like consistency. It was clear an unusual firestorm event had been involved – and researchers had never seen anything like it before.
A massive research team is assembled to determine what happened at Tall el-Hammam
Scientists assembled a team of archaeologists, geologists, geochemists, geomorphologists, mineralogists, paleobotanists, sedimentologists, cosmic-impact experts to study the phenomena. They used a wide range of analytical approaches including optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), microprobe, focused ion-beam milling, cathodoluminescence, and neutron activation. They found that a five-foot thick layer underneath the city, a dark band known as the “destruction layer”, with a jumbled layer of ash, charcoal, and metaled rock. Radio carbon dating showed the layer’s age to be around 1661 BC. But what could be capable of melting metal, mudbricks, and pottery?
Detailed analysis found tiny fractured grains of sand called “shocked quartz” that only forms at 725,000 pounds per square inch. Diamonoids were also found that indicated wood and plants were instantly turned into a diamond-like material by high pressure and high temperatures. They found vaporized iron and sand that had melted at about 2,900 degrees, and surfaces that were speckled with tiny melted metallic grains. All of these are used as indicators of cosmic impacts.
Scientists found patterns in the destruction that hinted a blast of some sort occurred from a southwest direction. Study of the stratum showed the area remained uninhabited for more than 600 years after the event. It is believed high levels of salt had been deposited during the event which made it impossible to grow crops.
An extraordinary event annihilated the region in a manner described by Moses in Genesis 19:24
Researchers looked at various scenarios including destruction by war, fire, volcanism, earthquakes, even lightning destruction. All were easily ruled out.
Scientists ultimately concluded that about 3,600 years ago, the city had been veritably annihilated from a Tunguska-sized airburst – a airborne rock travelling at about 38.000 mph exploded about 2.5 miles above the ground. The blast was about 1,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Residents would have been evaporated by temperatures approaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Seconds later, a massive shockwave travelling nearly 1,000 miles per hour sheered the top off the city, levelling buildings and blasting objects into tiny fragments. The tornado-like wind would have travelled many miles away – certainly reaching the biblical city of Jericho, located about 14 miles west of Tall el-Hammam.
As for Tall el-Hammam itself, the bible tells us that Lot was allowed to flee the city of Sodom and Gomorrah before God levelled the area with sulfur and fire from the sky, essentially a “cosmic outburst” event.
“The sun had just risen over the land as Lot reached Zoar. Then the LORD rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the LORD.”Genesis 19:24