It seems that Sodom and Gomorrah were not as “destroyed” as previously thought.

The ruins of the biblical city of Sodom reportedly have been discovered by U.S. archeologists in southern Jordan.

God punished the wickedness of the citizens by destroying the city with brimstone and fire, the biblical story explains. Only the righteous inhabitants were allowed to escape the destruction and were spared by God.

The archeological team, directed by Steve Collins of New Mexico’s Trinity Southwest University, has been working for 10 years in the Jordan Valley. It now believes it has uncovered this magnificent historical site.

If confirmed, the discovery could give the archeological community an invaluable understanding of how people lived during between 3500 BC and 1540 BC.

And perhaps most interestingly, the excavations are revealing that life in the city came to an abrupt end during the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1540 BC), seemingly consistent with the biblical story. Preliminary tests reveal there was a stark end of life that lasted for about 700 years.

Collins addressed the significance of this discovery: ”The archaeological team unearthed a gold mine of ancient monumental structures and artifacts that are revealing a massive Bronze Age city-state that dominated the region of Jordan’s southern Jordan Valley, even during a time when many other great cities of the ‘Holy Land’ region were either abandoned or in serious decline,” he told Popular Archeology, which first reported the findings.

“Very, very little was known about the Bronze Age in the Middle Ghor (southern Jordan Valley) before we began our excavations in 2005,” he added. “Even most of the archaeological maps of the area were blank, or mostly so. What we’ve got on our hands is a major city-state that was, for all practical purposes, unknown to scholars before we started our project.”

Because Collins is so familiar with the excavated area and surrounding historical sites, he is fairly sure this is Sodom, he said.

He also has studied the descriptions of Sodom extensively. “Tall el-Hammam seemed to match every Sodom criterion demanded by the text,” he said.

The uncovered site contains both a lower and upper city, complete with a high city wall surrounding it, gates, and a town plaza. The city wall was constructed with mud bricks. The upper city was built to replace the lower city during the Middle Bronze Age.

Collins speculated that the upper part of the city was built for elites to escape threats from invaders. He also said the fortifications are much more extensive than previously imagined for communities during this age.

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