Jan 26, 2020

Various names of Tall el-Hammam

Tall el-Hammam overlooking the Kikkar of the Jordan (Jordan Valley)
Like most ancient sites, Tall el-Hammam had a long history represented by various names depending on the period (adapted from Leen Ritmeyer who said "Sodom is Tall el-Hammam but Tall el-Hammam was not always Sodom!"):

  • Beth-Haram( בֵּית הָרָם, הָרָן) Early Bronze period (Brussels E4: Egyptian Execration Text) [1]
  • Sodom (Canaanite)Middle Bronze period (Genesis 14)
  • Beth-Haran-Late Bronze period (Numbers 32:36). The event of Abel-Shittim on the Plains of Moab (Josh 2:1; 3:1) occurred around Tall el-Hammam.
  • Beth-HaramIron Age (Solomon 1 Kgs 4:7-19)
  • Betharamtha (Βηθαραμθα)1st Cent. BC (Herod the Great; Josephus Antiquities 18.27).
  • Livias1st Cent AD (Herod Agrippa 4 BC; Josephus Antiquities 20.29; Jewish War 2.168; 2.252; see also Theodosius Top. 19.1; P. XHev/Se gr 65.3-4)
  • Julias1st Cent. AD (Herod Agrippa 14 AD; Josephus Antiquities 18.27; 20.29; Jewish War 2.168; 2.252; 4.438).
  • SodomByzantine Period. Severus the Bishop of Sodom attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD representing the ecclesiastical province of Arabia [provincia Arabia] (Eusebius Onomasticon 26). This is the name that would have appeared on the Madaba Map not Livias as the pilgrims were only interested in Holy Site.[2]


[1] Brussels E4 (Haram) is generally located at the later Beth Haram, northeast of the Dead Sea. Posener and Mazar identified Beth haram with Tell Ikanu (Adam Zertal Z"l and Shay Bar, The Manasseh Hill Country Survey Volume 4: From Nahal Bezeq to the Sartaba [Leiden: Brill, 2017], 80), however, Haram cannot be located at Tell Iktanu, as there are no Middle Bronze remains on site, but as there is extensive Middle Bronze occupation at nearby Tell Hammam (Kay Prag, “Tell Iktanu and Tell Al-Hammam. Excavations in Jordan,” Manchester Archaeological Bulletin 7 (1992): 15–19), is a better candidate. Margreet L. Steiner and Ann E. Killebrew, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: C. 8000-332 BCE, Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 47.
[2] Mouncy identified the Ecclesiastical province that the Bishop of Sodom represented as Provincia Arabia, while Le Quien identified the Bishop of Sodom in the section under Ecclesia Zoarorum or Segor in the Provincia Palaestinae Tertiae (III). Antoine de Mouchy, Christianae religionis institutionisque Domini Nostri Jesu-Christi et apostolicae traditionis (Paris: Macaeum, 1562), 85; Michel Le Quien, Oriens christianus in quatuor patriarchatus digestus, in quo exhibentur Ecclesiae patriarchae caeterique praesules totius Orientis, 3 vols. (Paris: Typographia Regia, 1740), 3:743; Peter Graham, A Topographical Dictionary of Palestine, or the Holy Land (London, U.K.: J. Davey, 1836), 242. For a proposed solution that 
that the diocese of Sodom was later annexed by Zoar, see Graves, The Location of Sodom 2018, pp. 41-45. 

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