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Jan 12, 2007
Bab edh-Dhra the Southern Sodom
Today we visted the ancient castle of Karak high on the ridge of the kings highway. Then it was off to see Bab edh-Dhra the site of the southern argument for Sodom.
Between 1965 and 1967 Bab edh-Dhra was excavated under the direction of Paul Lapp. Much work was done at a large cemetery south of the city. It was more than five-eighths of a mile in length and at least half that wide. If the work which was done is typical, the area may contain a minimum of 20,000 shaft tombs estimating the dead at over half a million and the number of potsherds at two million!
Unfortunately, Paul Lapp died unexpectedly in 1970 and the task of further research fell to R. Thomas Schaub and Walter E. Rast. They set out to answer some unanswered questions about Bab edh-Dhra. In late May, 1973, they began to examine some similarities between pottery from Bab edh-Dhra and pottery found at Safi and Feifa.
In first examining the Feifa site they discovered a burial ground which could compete with Bab edh-Dhra in size and usage. Then they found the remains of a city wall and a tower. Early Bronze Age 3000-2350 B.C. pottery was also discovered which placed this ruin in the same time period as Bab edh-Dhra. Feifa was discovered on the north side of the Wadi Feifa.
While exploring the Wadi south of Bab edh-Dhra, Schaub and Rast came upon another early bronze fortification. Numeira was also located on a level top of a plain just south of the spring, Wadi Numeira. We visited Numeria as well on the way back from Bab edh-Dhra.
There was a pattern forming. Each of the early bronze sites was discovered built on a piece of ground overlooking a Wadi (ravine), enclosed by a stone wall with a tower at one end, and situated near a spring.
Now knowing what to look for, Schaub and Rast combed the area between Lisan in the north to the Southern tip of the Ghor between Numeira and Feifa. They found Safi located on a piece of limestone overlooking the Wadi Hesa where they found early bronze pottery. They again found a cemetery that could compete with Bab edh-Dhra and Feifa in size and kind. The last early bronze site to be discovered was Khanazir, the southern most city located on the northern side of the Wadi Khanazir. This site has all of the common characteristics of the other four sites with the exception of the cemetery.
Dr. Collins argues that Bab edh-Dhra could not be the site of Sodom because “Bab edh-Dhra was destroyed several hundred years before Abraham and Lot were ever born, and besides, it’s entirely in the wrong place!”