The long-lost Biblical city of Sodom — a city that the Bible claims was destroyed by God because of its immorality — may finally have been found. Archaeologists have uncovered a slew of monumental structures and artifacts in a Jordan Valley mound known as Tall el-Hammam offering evidence of a city-state that is believed to have thrived during the Bronze Age when other Holy Land cities were being abandoned or were in decline.
Based on the location, dates of occupation, and the remains of other ancient cities nearby, archaeologists think it's the best candidate yet for what was once Sodom. "Tall el-Hammam seemed to match every Sodom criterion demanded by the text," Steven Collins, head of the archaeology team, said. In accordance with texts that say Sodom was the largest, the site at Tall el-Hammam is "at least five to 10 times larger than all the other Bronze Age sites in the entire region," Collins said.
The city is believed to have prospered during the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (between 3500 and 1540 B.C.), Popular Archaeology says, and is strategically located along water sources and trade routes, suggesting that it was a central hub during its time. The city-state is flanked by walls and fortifications that archaeologists say would have required "millions of bricks" and "large numbers of laborers" to build.
Excavated evidence suggests that the city came to a "sudden, inexplicable end" at the end of the Middle Bronze Age, Popular Archaeology says. For the last 700 years, the area has been largely uninhabited by humans.