Sodom & Gomorrah: Update
A number of things have changed in regards to our knowledge of the ashen remains of Sodom & Gomorrah since our newsletter and video on the subject were released. Below is an update based on some recent exploration by a friend of this ministry.
In December of 1996, while on a private trip with a friend to view and explore the remains of the cities of the plain, we joined up with a tour group from the United States that Ron Wyatt was leading. On that particular day we were traveling down the Dead Sea coast road near Masada. As we were looking out the western side of the bus at the formations that we believe are the remains of Gomorrah, Ron leaned in my direction, pointed toward the east and said, “You know Bill, I have always thought that those formations on the other side of the Dead Sea in Jordan are associated with the ones here at Gomorrah but I have never had a chance to go look. Do you think you and your friend could go over there after you continue on with your trip and take a look for me?”
In order to understand what Ron was asking, you need some idea of the layout of the region.
If you stand at Masada on a clear day (a relatively rare occurrence) and look eastward across the Dead Sea into Jordan, you can see a large area of whitish-colored formations that appear to be similar to the ones in Israel. In fact I had seen these myself back on my first visit to this area in 1992 and also just a few days before this conversation took place while exploring the Gomorrah area on my own. However, I had never really given any thought to them being a part of the Gomorrah site.
I immediately agreed to do this but with no Jordanian visa and the fact that one of the three remaining days that I would have left in Israel was a Moslem holiday (holy day), I was not able to go into Jordan. I was of course disappointed at this turn of events but little did I know that the Lord was in the process of working things out.
Within 30 days of my return from that trip, I came into contact with a man that had some friends in eastern Turkey. This contact opened the possibility to my visiting the Noah’s Ark site. As the details of that trip began to fall into place, I realized that while I was back in that part of the world it would be a good opportunity to travel into Jordan and attempt to confirm Ron’s theory about this site being related to the ones in Israel.
In June of 1997, after a very successful four-day trip to eastern Turkey, I found myself in Jerusalem preparing to enter Jordan. I was very excited about the prospects of this trip but I also had some concerns. My traveling companion for the Turkish part of the trip was unable to go with me to Israel or Jordan. This meant that I must travel alone into an area that I was not familiar with and to which I had no knowledge of the roads or the language. The only thing I knew about the location of the site I was seeking was based on what I could see across the Dead Sea from the Israeli side. I knew of course that it was directly across the sea from Masada but over the last two months I had not been able to locate what I considered to be an accurate map of the area. I had located several maps from various sources but they were inconsistent in showing what was in that particular area.
The next morning I caught a taxi down to the Allensby/King Hussein bridge. This is one of three crossing points into Jordan from Israel. Here is where the Lord really began to work for my success on this portion of the trip.
To our knowledge no one who recognizes these areas for what they are had ever visited this site in Jordan. My objective on this trip was very simple. I had decided since I would be traveling alone in a strange country, that if at all possible, I would make this a “day trip”and accomplish my minimal goals in one day. My goals were to locate the site and find ashes, brimstone (sulphur) and any other evidence that would link it to the other five sites in Israel.
The Allenby bridge is a high security check point which is located in the Palestinian West Bank and is heavily traveled. It often takes up to two hours to negotiate the 300 yards of no-man’s land that is the border between Israel and Jordan. Also, because of both Jewish and Moslem holidays and holy days, sometimes the bridge is closed down on certain days of the week. I had planned to enter Jordan on the 11th of June and if necessary stay until the evening of the 12th before returning to Israel. I was hoping to be able to finish my business in Jordan quickly (within one day) and return. But having never been to Jordan, not knowing the language, and the lack of any kind of a decent road map, I had no idea how long this would take.
As it turned out, June 11 was a Moslem holiday of some type BUT the bridge was NOT closed. However, since it was common knowledge to the locals that it was a holiday, they all assumed that the bridge would be closed. Therefore, none of the locals came to cross at that bridge on this day. This meant that there were only four other people on the bus with me going into Jordan and the whole process took only 45 minutes! What a blessing! The Jordanians did not even check my bag on entry!! I paid the tax on both sides and I was through.
One unexpected benefit of crossing into Jordan at this bridge was that of the five sites that Ron has identified as the cities of the plain, he had never been able to actually get into the most northern site because it was located within a security zone that was surrounded by a fence. Well, guess which security zone that was. That’s right, the one you drive through as you cross over into Jordan!! I had a nice 5 minute bus tour through what is thought to be the remains of the city of Zeboim. The Israeli security building where I waited for the Jordanian bus was right in the middle of this area!! To my great disappointment, I was not allowed to take any pictures while in the area because of security reasons. I thought about attempting to sneak a couple of quick shots but I knew that in doing that I would be risking the loss of my film and possibly even my camera equipment if I was observed. So I reluctantly made no photos or video of the area. However, I can say that its appearance is identical to the site at the immediate northern end of the Dead Sea that Ron identifies as Admah.
Once over the Allenby bridge I walked across the street to the Avis car agency and picked up my car. It was supposed to have air conditioning but of course it didn’t work. And of course they didn’t have another car that they would give me. By the way, in Jordan during the month of June it averages about 100 degrees during the day.
So off I went toward Amman and then without really knowing where I was going I was able to find the three turns that I had to make to get to the highway that goes down the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. Virtually all of the road signs (other than those that use the international symbols) were in Arabic EXCEPT for the ones that indicated where the Dead Sea highway was. Those were in English or at least they appeared that way to me. Perhaps the Lord had something to do with that, which really would not surprise me.
After traveling down the coast highway about 60-70 km. I spotted in the distance, across an expanse of the Dead Sea, what appeared to be the site I was looking for.
However, I could not find a road that went into it. I tried several possibilities over the next hour and a half but none led me any closer to the site than about 2 km.
At one point I came to a place where some whitish-colored mounds were located on either side of the main road. Stopping at this point I found that this was a small “finger”of the larger site that I was seeking. I found both loose ash (I stepped into one portion of it and sank up to my waist!) and ash that was in very thin layers which are indicative of having been heated to extremely high temperatures. However, at this spot I was not able to locate sulphur or any other evidence.
Getting back into my car and continuing down one of the side roads I had found, I thought that I would simply park my car and hike the distance (about 2 km.) out to the site. As a side note: this is not usually a good idea in a middle eastern country. Car theft is a big problem in this part of the world and you could end up finding that your car is missing when you return. In fact I had already parked my car under a tree and had put on my backpack in preparation for the journey when what I can only describe as a “tap on the shoulder”got my attention and I was strongly impressed not to hike to the site but to go back up to the main road.
Going back to the main highway, I soon found a road that led into the site but it was blocked by a guard post and security gate. I stopped here and asked the guard (who of course spoke no English) if I could use the road. He was very polite but said, “No”. I then tried to explain that I needed to find a road that went down into this section and he kept motioning for me to go back to the main road and turn left. I did this and traveled north about 2 km. until I came upon a paved road that I had not seen before. Turning down that road it did not look very promising. I could see that it went about 1 km. and then ended at a dried-up river bed. As I approached the end of the road, I saw that the rocks in the river bed were so large that even a 4×4 would not be able to cross. However, I also noticed that someone, with great care, had pushed some of the stones aside creating a smooth path that went all the way across the river bed to the other side. I made this crossing and when I came over the rise on the other side, the road was paved again and I could see that it led right into the area I needed to explore!
Driving into the site, I was amazed at what I saw. On both sides of the road were formations exactly like the ones at Gomorrah in Israel.
There were the walls of a city, a platform near the entrance that had two pedestals on it with a small amount of remains that probably had once been a statue or worship symbol of some kind. There were several ziggurats (step-pyramids) both small and large and a number of open chambers visible in some of the formations.
One open chamber in particular was very tempting for me to enter but as I surveyed the area I noticed a large number of cat prints in the loose ash, some the size of my fist.
This brought to mind the warning signs I had seen a few days before in Israel about the leopards that frequent these areas. It had advised that hikers should travel in groups of three or more. And of course these prints led right up to the open chamber in question and you could even see a worn spot at the entrance where something had gone in and out of that opening many times. Because of this and the fact that I was alone and had no backup if I did get into any difficulty, I decided not to attempt entry.
For that same reason I also determined that I would as quickly as possible gather the evidence I came to get and be on my way. A number of the locals had seen me enter this area and I did not know how long it would be before I began to attract attention.
I drove into the site about 1 km. until my progress was blocked by a huge mound of ash that apparently was placed across the road to discourage people from proceeding any further. Pulling my car off to the side of the road I got out and within a few minutes began to locate round balls of sulphur. I found numerous samples imbedded in the formations but only three good specimens that I was able to retrieve and bring back. The formations exhibited the familiar layering that we see in the Israeli sites and they were surrounded by loose ash that had eroded away over the years.
After spending about two hours within the site, I gathered up my specimens and equipment and headed back out to the main road and north to the Allenby bridge and back into Israel.
Once I had returned to the United States and shown my video and specimens to Ron, it was determined that we needed to send a team of people into the site to document everything that was there. This was scheduled for November 1997. At one point we had as many as seven people planning to go on this trip but as it came down to the time to leave there were only two; myself and Jerry Bowen who I had asked to go with me almost at the last minute.
On this trip we made arrangements to stay overnight in a nearby town and rented a 4×4 to help us negotiate some of the rough terrain we would no doubt encounter. As we retraced my steps from the June trip, we found that the road that was blocked off by a mound of ash had been cleared and we were able to drive completely into the site. After proceeding about 2 km. into the formations the road turned steeply upward and we found ourselves on top of a large flat plain about 40-50 feet above the formations we had passed through.
From this vantage point we could see everything in the area. We could even clearly see into Israel and were able to spot Masada and the formations located there. One of the most amazing things we found on this “high place?”was not what WAS there, but what WASN’T there. Other than a high wall (about 40 feet) to the north and about 10 ziggurat-shaped formations, there was nothing. It was as flat as a table top with the exception of these formations.
The next surprise we experienced was when we found that a local mining company (one that mines minerals from the Dead Sea) had built a paved road right through the middle of the site. In fact this road connected back to the main road at the guard shack that I had been turned back from in June. This road amazingly was built right over the ashen wall that was to our north. We proceeded on this road and when we came over the top of the wall we were treated to a stunning sight. The wall was rectangular and completely encompassed an area of about one square mile. There were two ziggurat formations located inside the walls; one on each side of the road and at the extreme northern end was a large building and fenced area which was the storage and office area for the mining company. Other than that there was nothing inside the wall. Because we thought that the mining company might consider this their property and ask us to leave we stayed away from that section.
In examining the ziggurat formations on this flat area we found several things. We of course found the layered ash and brimstone that is associated with all of these sites. We did notice that most of the ziggurats were very close to the same size and shape and were terraced from top to bottom. Several of them had what appeared to be a flat altar or platform on the top.
Many of these ziggurats also had a platform or built-up area adjacent to them that showed evidence of something (a statute or worship symbol) having been on display there at one time.
We see these same platforms in the site at Masada where on one of these formations a very distinct sphinx-shaped object sits.
The conclusion that these were not natural formations but man-made was inescapable. There was both order and symmetry associated with all these formations.
At the top of three of the ziggurats and also scattered around their sides, we found hundreds of both small and large pieces of material that had the consistency of ceramic tiles or pottery shards.
Unlike the ash on which they lay, they would not crumble and when hit together they made a very distinctive “clink”sound that is associated with ceramic tile. We brought a dozen or so of these specimens back and they are currently being tested by at least one scientist. However, it seems clear that either these “tiles”were once used as a decorative covering for the ziggurat or that there was some material on the ziggurat which was “fired”into a ceramic-type material as it burned.
Regardless of how you analyze it, these specimens are solid evidence that either these formations were burned at high temperatures or they were man-made formations covered with some type of ceramic tile. This, with the ashes, sulphur, and evidence of burning, along with the order and symmetry of the various formations, conforms closely to what one would expect to find within the remains of Sodom & Gomorrah according to the Biblical description. As more evidence and further results of our testing is available we will share it either in this newsletter or on our web site.