Sodom & Gomorrah along with Zoar, Admah and Zeboim constituted the Cities of the Plain referred to in the Bible and believed to have been situated in the Jordan Valley before their obliteration (apart from Zoar) in a catastrophic episode during the 2nd millennium BC. Explanations, religious and rational have been offered to explain the event. My preferred explanation is that an encounter with an extraterrestrial body such as a comet or asteroid caused the devastation(d).
In 2008, a Sumerian clay tablet, known as the ‘Planisphere’ in the British Museum, was, after 150 years, translated and claimed to record an encounter with an asteroid ‘suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah(e). Sean Bambrough supports a Mesopotamian location for the biblical Sodom(l).
In October 2015, there were reports that the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah had been finally located(a). November 2018 saw a further claim(b) that Sodom and possibly other the ‘cities of the plain’ had been destroyed by a meteoric airburst, similar to the Tunguska or the more recent Chelyabinsk events. This catastrophe took place north of the Red Sea in what is now Jordan, according to archaeologist Phillip Silvia of Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque(g).
Silvia’s conclusions have been confirmed by Dr Steven Collins(c) who has excavated at the Tell el-Hammam site and describes his findings in his book co-authored with Dr Latayne C. Scott, Discovering the City of Sodom .
A September 2021 paper(h) outlines interesting new evidence that the destruction of the Tell el-Hammam site was probably caused by a Tunguska-type airburst and further suggests that “about a minute later, 14 miles (22 km) to the west of Tall el-Hammam, winds from the blast hit the biblical city of Jericho. Jericho’s walls came tumbling down and the city burned to the ground.”
Jason Colavito added some further comments on the authors and background to this paper and concluded that “In short: The claim Tell El-Hammam was destroyed by an air burst is disputable. Its identification with Sodom is unproved and dubious, and no one has provided any evidence that an event supposedly transpiring in 1600 BCE was preserved accurately down to the composition of the first written account of Sodom in the surviving Genesis narrative, typically ascribed to the period around 500 BCE or later. If we can’t agree whether the Greeks preserved any real history from the Mycenaeans after only five centuries, we should be very careful in imagining the preservation of stories for two or three times that length with no evidence of intermediary versions.”(j)
>The original report appeared on the Nature website and so far over a quarter of a million people have accessed it. This lengthy document can also be read on the cosmictusk.com website(k).<
More imaginative commentators, such as Dan Sewell Ward (1940-2019) have proposed(f) that the destruction of S & G was the result of atomic warfare!
In Atlantis and other Lost Worlds , Frank Joseph claims that Comet Encke in 1198 BC “scores a number of meteoric hits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and possibly on Atlantis itself, which perishes ‘in a single day and night’, according to Plato. The catastrophe is global, encompassing the destruction of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah” Joseph bases this on the studies of two Swedish geologists, Thomas B. Larsson and Lars Franzén.
This linkage of Sodom with Atlantis is not new. In the 18th century, Carl Friedrich Baër (1719-1797) who was pastor at the Lutheran chapel in the Swedish Embassy in Paris, was possibly the first to propose a connection between the demise of Atlantis and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
A similar theory was proposed by Roger M. Pearlman in a 2018 booklet . In this small, difficult-to-read, book the author also suggests, a linkage between the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah and Atlantis, placing Atlantis in the Jordan Valley and equating Abraham with Atlas – “If Atlas, as described in Plato’s work, was based on a historic figure, Abraham alone meets key criteria.”
On a lighter note, in 1948, William Comyns Beaumont published an extraordinary book, Britain – The Key to World History , in which he claimed among other things, that Edinburgh was the original Jerusalem, London was Damascus and rather worryingly, that Bristol was Sodom.
However, more recently, some demented soul has suggested that “Atlantis comprised three centers of civilization. The main center of civilization was a very large island stretching through what is now the area of the Azores near the mid- Atlantic, down almost to off-shore Brazil in South America. The present-day Islands of the Azores are mountain tops of the original. The second was along the foot of the Himalayans, now occupied by Nepal and Northern Punjab. The third was the plains, now called North America.” Then for good measure, they claimed that Sodom had been located in Washington State in the United States and Gomorrah could be found offshore Miami!(i)
See: Köfels Impact
William Comyns Beaumont (1873-1956) was a British journalist and author.>He was the uncle of the novelist Daphne Du Maurier.<He is frequently referred to as an eccentric and not without reason. He published an extraordinary book, Britain – The Key to World History, in which he claimed among other things, that Edinburgh was the original Jerusalem, London was Damascus and rather worryingly that Bristol was Sodom (see map). Beaumont located the Pillars of Heracles at Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway along with its counterpart on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland(h), an idea resurrected over sixty years later by Marco Goti.>This identification has now been adopted by Alberto Majrani(i).<
In addition he was convinced that 18th Dynasty Pharaohs ruled the Welsh Britons. The foreword to the ‘Key’ is available online(d) as is a 1949 newspaper review(e).
In an earlier work he had identified ancient Britain as Atlantis and claimed that Atlantis was destroyed by a cometary impact in 1322 BC. This book introduced Beaumont as possibly the first British catastrophist, who expanded on this subject of celestial collisions in a subsequent book.
It has been claimed that Beaumont’s theory of celestial impacts partly inspired Immanuel Velikovsky’s writings, but characteristically, without receiving any recognition from that quarter.
Some years ago Benny J. Peiser drew attention to how Beaumont’s work had been overlooked and probably plagiarised citing a list of 25 similarities between the theories of Beaumont and Velikovsky previously noted by Alfred De Grazia(a).
In 1975, the American psychologist, Robert Stephanos (1925-2011)(c), founded the Comyns Beaumont Society in Philadelphia. Stephanos appears to have totally accepted Beaumont’s ideas including their more bizarre elements. In 1994 Stephanos published an article in Fate magazine(f), in which he also claimed that Velikovsky had ‘borrowed’ many of Beaumont’s catastrophist ideas.
Beaumont’s books are hard to find, however, all four of them have now been made available as reprints(b) and are a must for students of the history of catastrophism and its part in the Atlantis story.
Beaumont had completed the manuscript for another book, The Great Deception, shortly before his death. This has now been edited for publication by Janice Mendez and is now available in print and online. In it, Beaumont returned to the subject of catastrophism along with some radical historical revisionism and has its objective described by his grandson, Christopher Toyne, as “to propound the ultimate subterfuge by Emperor Constantine the Great to reconstruct the story of Jesus away from the British Isles and place it in the now Middle Eastern ‘Holy Lands.’ This is THE GREAT DECEPTION.” I expect the reviews to be entertaining.
A more recent (Jan.2017) review(g) of Beaumont’s odd ideas might be worth a read.
(a) See: Archive 2315
(f) Catastrophists in Collision: Did Velikovsky borrow from Beaumont’s original works? Fate [March 1994], 66-72