Does Archeological Evidence Support the Biblical Story of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Rabbi Leibel Reznick says that it does!

In an article published in Aish, Rabbi Leibel Reznick demonstrates how the archeological data support the Biblical story. The following is the introduction to his article:

The Torah tells us the story of the rise and downfall of Sodom and Gomorrah. To the non-believer, the Biblical story seems so incredible that it must be relegated to the realm of myth and fantasy. The 20th-century German Bible critic, Theodor Noldeke asserted that “The whole story of Sodom and Gomorrah is unhistorical and comparatively late in origin.” J. Maxwell Miller of Emory University boldly claims, “These narratives of Sodom and Gomorrah are purely products of the storyteller’s art, which of course raises serious questions about their usefulness for historical reconstruction.” John H. Hayes, a colleague of the aforementioned J. Maxwell Miller, confirms Professor Miller’s belief. Are the assertions of these skeptics based on facts or are they merely the distorted opinions of non-believers? Let us examine the facts of the case and see for ourselves.

After examining the archeological date, Rabbi Reznick presents the following conclusions:

To summarize, the archaeology evidence as to the destruction of the five Cities of the Plain is inconclusive. However the preponderance of other evidence with regards to the Torah’s story of Sodom and Gomorrah is overwhelming.

1. The Bible refers to a metropolis of five cities in the Dead Sea area.
Five, and only five cities, have been found in the Dead Sea area.

2. The Bible refers to a conquest by the Mesopotamians.
The artifacts found in the Dead Sea area show a Mesopotamian influence.

3. The Midrash describes the metropolis as a thriving population.
The enormous number of burials in the large cemeteries attests to a great population.

4. The Talmud and the Midrash describe the area as an agricultural wonderland.
The great diversity of agricultural products found in the ruins verify the lush produce enjoyed by the area’s inhabitants.

5. According to the Talmud, there was a span of only 26 years between a war in the area and the ultimate destruction.
Devastation levels found in Numeira (Sodom) are consistent with the Talmud’s assertion.

6. The Talmud states that Sodom, unlike other cities in the area, only existed for 52 years.
The ruins in Numeira (Sodom) indicate that the city lasted less than 100 years.

7. The Bible attributes the destruction of the cities to a fiery storm that rained down from above.
Thick layers of burnt material covering the remains of the cities in the area bear this out.


After reviewing the archaeological data, Rabbi Reznick is convinced that the story related in the Bible is accurate. Read his article here and decide whether the archaeological data support the Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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This entry was posted in Archaeology, Book of Genesis, Sodom and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Does Archeological Evidence Support the Biblical Story of Sodom and Gomorrah?

  1. The Watcher says:

    >Doctor M, you consistently have terrific posts here. This is another one. Thank you so much.


  2. >Watcher,Thank you for your comment and your nice words. I appreciate you recommending my blog to your readers.Claude Mariottini


  3. >Dr. Mariottini-This is really fascinating. Although I haven't delved much into the field of Biblical Archaeology, I do firmly believe that Sodom & Gomorrah were real and that the Bible doesn't lie when telling this story. Thank you for sharing this article.


  4. >Joshua,Archaeology at times can help us better understand the Bible and at times it can complicate the study of the Bible. However, archaeology is a fascinating field of study, and I love it.Claude Mariottini


  5. >It would seem chronology is the crucial factor. I think by most models the Early Bronze Age destructions make these five cities too early for Abraham (as the article itself points out). Admittedly, patriarchal chronology is a can of worms, but my sense is that most scholars would put the patriarchal era somewhere in Middle Bronze Age. If Joseph gained a favorable position in Egypt because Egypt was then ruled by the Semitic Hyksos, Abraham belongs some time in Middle Bronze IIB (or perhaps *very* early IIC). On the other hand, if Joseph's centralization of Egypt's agricultural production is reflected in the administrative reforms of Amenemhat III, this would push Abraham back to MBIIA. Even with this best-case scenario, there's maybe 300 years between the destruction of Bab edh-Dra and environs and Abraham's career in Canaan.Bietak's theory of "cultural lag" can make up 100 years of that discrepancy. Can isolationism really account for an additional two whole centuries?(At the same time, Stephen Collins' argument for Tall el-Hammam [] as the site of ancient Sodom seems too late, as MBIIC finds are apparently well represented.)


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