In December of 1999 we traveled to Israel to do some exploration in and around Jerusalem and in the Dead Sea area around Sodom and Zoar. In our exploration around Jerusalem one thing of interest was that we were able to get on top of the Calvary escarpment directly over the crucifixion site.
by Bill Fry
Here is another view of the top of the escarpment.
We had never been there before as it is difficult to locate the site from the top of the escarpment and access is restricted. For this reason we recommend that others not try to duplicate our efforts. Not only could you be in some danger yourself but if a number of people start to go to this area, we may lose the ability to access the site completely.
Once on the escarpment we made an interesting discovery when we located the crucifixion site approximately 20 feet below. There are two large cracks in the escarpment bedrock. These are not small insignificant cracks. In fact one of them is over 12″ in width.
The other is in the face of the escarpment at the very edge. Notice the fence.
Of course they have been filled with earth, rubble and other debris but they are definitely there, which is consistent with the events described in the Bible; that the “rocks were rent”.
In the largest of the two cracks there was a large thorn bush growing out of it. This bush can be seen behind me in the photo below.
While I am not an expert on plants of the Middle east, it appeared to be a “crown of thorns” bush. This is traditionally thought to be the bush that the crown of thorns was made from. Of course this particular bush is only a decade or two old but it IS an interesting place to find this type of plant.
We also spent several days down at the Dead Sea near the site of Sodom and Zoar in an attempt to determine if any remains of Lot’s wife might still be preserved. This was something that Ron had told me years ago that he wanted to look for.
There is some reason to believe that this might be the case since the Jewish historian Josepheus mentions that he had seen her remains in his day. Also in 2 Peter 2:6 we are told that the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah (and possibly Lot’s wife) were left as an “ensample” (ie. a visual exhibition) to those that would come afterward.
We had hoped to have a large group of people to explore the area we had mapped out as a possible location based on the biblical story. However, because several people were not able to make this trip, there were only three of us.
The going was pretty rough as the area is quite undulating and is scored with areas where flash floods from the adjacent mountains have washed away some of the ashen remains and has deposited debris in its place.
While we did not find any remains of anything that resembled a person, we did find one very interesting formation that I have never seen the likes of before in all my exploration of these ashen cities.
Here is the same formation from another angle.
We also found some interesting ashen remains which seem to represent a worship area. Its appearance is very similar to one of the worship areas located in Gomorrah. Below are two of the more distinct formations we found.
When we are able to generate more interest in this search and we are able to obtain more manpower, I will return and search again.