Scriptures - Free Download:
We have prepared new versions of our latest Tsiyon Messianic
Scriptures for you!
the entire book of Bereshit/Genesis as well as the first of
the five books of Psalms for your use in our EBD Bet
Midrash. These are the same version, with some updates, that we
use in the Midrash, so you can follow along using the same
translation we are reading from on the program. You can download
these latest Tsiyon Messianic Scriptures free of charge
Artists - Tsiyon Road has a winning roster of Messianic
Music artists. If you know any independent Messianic musicians who
might like to add their music to our list, please tell them to
Archaeological Evidence for Sodom: Recent Findings Shed Light on
Discoveries of ‘Biblical Proportions’
By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service
NEW MEXICO (ANS) -- There
are few events in a person’s life where one can say that they have
changed a society’s understanding of history. For Dr. Steven Collins
of Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque, this just may be the
Upon his recent return
from the Tall el-Hammam dig in Jordan, Dr. Collins was full of
fascinating facts and possible historic findings.
But before I get into
his recent finds, allow me to review what occurred during last
In my article “Sodom
Found?” I wrote, “According to Collins, ‘The traditional "Southern
Theory" site of Sodom does not have the geographical parallels
described in the [biblical] text. Namely: 1. One can see the whole
area from the hills above Jericho (Bethel/Ai), 2. It must be a
well-watered place (described "like Egypt"), 3. It has a river
running through it (the Jordan), and 4. It must follow the travel
route of Lot" (who went to the other side of the Jordan, eastward,
away from Jericho.)’”
What does all this
mean? Simple: The traditional sites attributed as Sodom may be
With this, Dr. Collins
and his team began digging at a new site, Tall el-Hammam, which
corresponded to several factors. Dr. Collins summarized the end
result: “To start with, the Tall el-Hammam site has twenty-five
geographical indicators that align with the description in Genesis.
Compare this with something well known—like Jerusalem—that has only
sixteen. Other sites have only five or six. So this site has a
greater number of indicators than any other Old Testament site. That
is truly amazing.
findings—pottery, architecture, and destruction layers—fit the
timeframe profile. Meaning we should expect to find items like what
we are finding from the Middle Bronze Age. This is exactly what we
are uncovering. “Lastly, we have secured internationally recognized
experts to review our findings. One such person is Dr. Robert
Mullins; then there are our colleagues from the Department of
Antiquities in Jordan. Dr. Mullins is an expert in Bronze Age
pottery, and there are many others as well. My ceramic expertise
also covers the Bronze Age. Their conclusions on the matter reflect
that our findings are correct. Once again, this is incredible.”
“Though we are still
digging and uncovering a plethora of material and artifacts, and
much research still needs to be conducted, I feel that the evidence
for this being the ancient city of Sodom is increasing by the day.”
The bottom line was
that the findings of Dr. Collins’ team in Jordan were producing
great results—all pointing to the city of Sodom.
Now let’s fast-forward
As I met Dr. Collins
at Solomon’s Porch Café (aptly named title for our meeting) in
Albuquerque, I could tell something exciting was afoot. We sat down
with our tea and coffee and began to chat.
I started by asking
some simple questions: “How long was this particular dig?”
“The dig was from
December 6, 2010 through January 28, 2011,” Dr. Collins replied.
Did you bring a team?
“Yes, 120 of us split
between Jordanian workers and staff, Trinity Southwest University
staff, and volunteers from around the world.”
Was the location in
the exact place as last year? I asked.
“Yes. We call this the
Premier location. What made this dig exciting, however,” Dr.
Collin’s shifted in his chair with enthusiasm as he continued, “Is
that the Director General of Antiquities spent a good deal of time
“You see, in Jordan,
the news of this find has created large interest. As a matter of
fact, one of the leading archaeologists from Jordan stated: ‘This is
perhaps the most important archaeological discovery of the modern
Jordanian’s—and many others—are beginning to see is the mounting
evidence for Sodom,” Dr. Collins concluded.
Beyond last year’s
discoveries, what new evidence are you referring to? I
enthusiastically wondered aloud.
“To put it simply, we
have uncovered evidence of a massive, violent destruction.”
Such as? I prodded
“To begin with, ash
and destruction layers in the terminal Bronze Age strata MB-2,” Dr.
Collins replied. He continued: “But the real big news is that we
found skeletal remains that demonstrate a quick, violent death.”
Amazed, I asked for
the background of this discovery.
“It began three years
ago when we found some skeletal remains. Like many archaeological
sites, we didn’t mention the find publicly because of the potential
problems involved with such remains. However, with these recent
finds, we had to say something because it was so monumental.
“It began when one of
our doctoral students, Carrall Kobs, was supervising on site. She
discovered two sets of human remains, then another. Concerned, she
called me over. I asked her to walk me through the discovery and
excavation process, asking important questions along the way. What
we found was ash, debris, and destruction material with no
indication of insertion cuts for graves or primitive burial
indentations. They weren’t burials.
“To add further
intrigue, this archaeological stratum was clearly within the Middle
Bronze Age horizon. It was the terminal destruction of the city.”
Tell me more about the
skeletons, I asked.
“Two of our
osteologists, Dr. John Leslie, PhD, MD, and Dr. John Moore, PhD,
DDS, looked over the bones. The area they concentrated on was the
bottom half of the body, including the pelvis region, legs, and
feet—the upper portions on two of them were missing. The initial
results were amazing and quite exciting archaeologically—but sad in
how the people died. They found the bodies splayed out, face down,
joints twisted, toes hyper-extended, with many signs of violent
burial within collapsing debris. In short, the bodies were extremely
traumatized in their death.
“Shortly after, we
discovered a child body one meter north. The child’s skeleton showed
the same destruction, demonstrating traumatic demise.”
How so? I was quite
“The legs were flexed
in the wrong way, the knee joints were ripped apart, one arm was
broken with left palm up, and the other arm was smashed under the
pelvis. In all, it showed the signs of a sudden, ghastly death.”
Any other skeletal
remains? I prodded.
“Yes. We’re still
investigating these. But generally speaking, skeletal remains were
found throughout the area, following the same patterns. One skeleton
seems to be crouching, as if in fear, protecting itself from the
So what can one
conclude from all this? I asked.
“It may be too early
to say, but initial evidence points towards a large-scale
destruction from a catastrophic event. I say this because, in that
area, the skeletal remains were traumatized by an east-to-west
directional event, demonstrating that the catastrophe came from a
particular compass point.”
Naively, I asked what
they did with the skeletons.
“We took extreme care
and precautions in working with the skeletons, going above and
beyond protocol. Our goal was to ensure the safety and preservation
of all the remains embedded in the ground.”
This is a significant
find, I agreed. But is there more?
“Yes, much more. In
the same geographical matrix we found ash, pottery, mud bricks, and
objects, all pointing to a Middle Bronze Age time frame—the time of
Abram and Lot.
“Also, we think we may
have found the precinct of the temple as well. As of now, we’ve
found a 100x100 meter area in the lower region of the tall
[sometimes spelled tell]. One of the main walls is three meters
thick and twenty meters long. If what we’re looking at is the
temple, it appears that it may be the south wall.”
This all sounds quite
amazing, I responded. And wanting to know “what next?” I asked if
they were working with outside experts.
“Throughout the whole
expedition we have been working with outside experts. On this
particular dig Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, a world-renowned expert in ancient
architecture has been assisting us. He’s done publication drawings
and renderings for over 70 excavations in Israel, so we’re really
glad to have him at Tall el-Hammam.
“Initially he was very
skeptical of the Sodom designation for Tall el-Hammam. But with his
recent visits and work at the site, his attitude may be changing
toward a more positive position. In all, it would be safe to say
that Dr. Ritmeyer would say that Tall el-Hammam is the best
candidate for Sodom. I know he’s done several presentations on
Hammam as Sodom.
Leslie has written up a scholarly assessment of the skeletal
remains, to be published with our Season Six Report in major
archaeological journal. Furthermore, our TeHEP Conservator had the
bones infused with plastic for preservation purposes. The child
bones have been collected within their ash matrix, and we’re waiting
for carbon 14 test results, and other tests.
“So, in all, we’re
using outside help, and we have many scientists working on our dig
staff and in various analytical capacities—botanists, faunal
experts, geologists, ceramic typologists, climatologists, chemists,
materials scientists, you name it.”
By now, Dr. Collins
and I have been talking for over an hour. I am engaged with every
word and sentence as he describes the site. And even further, I
marvel at what his team is uncovering. Before I let him go, I have
one more question. And the answer—once again—amazes me. Is there
anything unusual about Tall el-Hammam that you didn’t expect when
you began digging over five years ago?
“You won’t believe
this, Brian, but something quite fascinating has occurred during the
past two dig seasons. We’ve found a vast amount of evidence that
Tall el-Hammam and its surrounding area contains the largest and
best preserved necroscape in the region. Or put in layman terms: an
ancient landscape altered and designed for astronomical as well as
Intrigued, I asked,
“With our recent
discoveries we found a large number of megalithic features: standing
stones, menhirs, astronomical alignments, dolmens, henges, stone
circles, and a host of other structures made of very large stones.
Our staff anthropologist, Lucy Clayton, is collaborating with us on
the interpretation of these. We’ve also got two of our senior field
archaeologists, Dr. Steve McAllister and Dr. David Maltsberger, and
an outside astronomer, working on the significance of our stone
“To add more
fascination to this, we were on site during solar and lunar events,
which showed the ancient inhabitants had a clear understanding of
How so? I inquired.
“One example is that
the large standing stones—menhirs— are aiming at the temple. Another
is that many of the megaliths give indication of an astronomical
calendar, particularly for solar alignments. We’ve already tracked
some of these firsthand.
“Though we’re just
beginning this area of study, the findings are fascinating. In all
of this we may also have found the reason that Joseph and his large
Egyptian entourage mourned Jacob’s death in this same location for
seven days, in Genesis 50. You know, the area of Tall el-Hammam is
biblical Abel Mizraim and Abel Shittim. Abel means ‘place of
mourning’. That’s what our megalithic field is—a sacred landscape
purposefully constructed for the mourning of ancestors. It’s quite
probable that the area became known as ‘Abel’, the place of
mourning, after the destruction of Sodom and the Cities of the
Plain. Very exciting stuff!”
Tossing out one more
question (breaking my promise for one final question), I asked how
Dr. Collins would summarize the Tall el-Hammam site.
“Well, in my opinion,
we have found the city of destruction: Sodom. But beyond this, I
believe this site is one of the best pictures of a Bronze Age
city-state ever discovered and studied. The Tall el-Hammam is
helping us develop new constructs for landscape anthropology,
archaeological methods, and a mountain of clues to ancient man’s
beliefs and actions. It may well turn out to be one of the greatest
discoveries in modern archaeology. Actually, it already is.”
Need to talk to us? - In the USA and Canada just call us toll
free at (888) 230-2440 for help. Internationally, email us and we
will arrange a phone or Skype call for you.
YHWH, Abraham, Lot and his family, two angels and the Sodomites -
these are the principal players in our latest Midrash. As you will
see as you consider this account with us, nothing could be more
relevant in these last days than the prophetic warning afforded us
by the destruction of Sodom.
Eliyahu ben David