Israel National News is reporting that Jordan has signed an agreement with a Russian company to search the bottom of the Dead Sea for the remains of the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. According to the report, the search project will begin in late December.
The following is an excerpt from the article published by Israel National News:
Biblical archaeologists have several theories as to where the Sodom and its associated cities were located. According to the Torah, G-d overturned Sodom, Gomorrah, and three other cities because of their degeneration, sin and iniquity, turning a once fertile plain into a stark wasteland. Abraham, who prayed for the cities, was unable to prevent G-d from mandating their destruction. Archaeologists and geologists have suggested that a major earthquake or meteor storm might have been the means by which it occurred. Research has centered on the area around the Dead Sea, and the modern city of Sodom, and nearby Mount Sodom, which is made almost completely of rock salt, is considered the most likely site of the ancient cities.
However, some archaeological evidence has emerged that indicates that the site could be on the east bank of the Dead Sea, with two sites in Jordan – Bab edh-Dhra, and Numeira, both considered viable candidates. The Jordanian-Russian search will center on Bab edh-Dhra, which also has several Christian monuments.
According to Madani, further evidence that the cities remains are located on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea came after recent NASA photographs of the area indicated that the bottom of the sea is littered with debris and objects not found in other bodies of water. According to the Jordanian, Israel recently sent a submarine down into the Dead Sea in an attempt to explore the bottom of the sea, but discovered that the objects in the NASA photos were on the Jordanian side of the sea. Jordan prevented the Israelis from searching over the border, and now Jordan is seeking to discover what it believes are the remains of the cities by itself.
Personally, I do not believe the Russians will find the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Russians are paying all the expenses of the search in exchange for exclusive rights to film a documentary of the search. To me, this venture is more a publicity stunt than an archaeological search.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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