Biblically, the timeframe for the existence of the Cities of the Plain ranges from the early patriarchal period of Genesis 10 to the time of Abram and Lot in Genesis 13-19. Taken at face value, the biblical chronology would thus require the Cities of the Plain to exist during the Middle Bronze Age. Southern Dead Sea sites such as Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira belonged to the Early Bronze Age, and were destroyed hundreds of years before the time of Abram. This is problematic for the identification of these two southern sites as Sodom and Gomorrah.
Many biblical scholars who frequented the Dead Sea region during the 19th century favored a location for Sodom and Gomorrah northeast of the Dead Sea. They did so on the basis of clear statements in Genesis 13:1-12 as to their location on the Kikkar of the Jordan. Once they had visited the entire region, it became obvious to geographical thinkers like W.M. Thomson that the Cities of the Plain belonged to the Jordan Valley proper, not the southern end of the Dead Sea.
My “northern Sodom” theory has been batted about the scholarly community since I first began to publish on the subject in 2002. In the fall of that year, I presented a paper to the Near East Archaeological Society wherein I provided a detailed refutation of the traditional “southern Sodom” hypothesis held by several scholars, including B. G. Wood. Since that time, I have continued to challenge southern Sodom advocates regarding the many serious “cracks” in the southern theory, encouraging them to come up with a substantive refutation of my theory, if they could muster one. Up to the present time no one has attempted a detailed critique of my northern theory in print, until now. In my opinion, the fatal weaknesses inherent in Wood’s criticisms of my position reveal the untenable nature of the southern Sodom hypothesis.
Before my research into the biblical parameters for the location of Sodom, few scholars had paid much attention to the area specified by Genesis 13:1-12 as the actual place: the eastern Kikkar of the Jordan River, just north of the Dead Sea. This paper applies those parameters, in the form of a criterial screen, to various “Sodom candidate” sites, and reveals that Tall el-Hammam is the most reasonable choice for the infamous city.
After 158 years of empire-building, Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty entered a bizarre, sixty-year period of implosion, seemingly slow at first, but ever-accelerating toward ultimate collapse. It is my contention that the demise of the once-powerful Eighteenth Dynasty was largely, if not entirely, due to the events surrounding the Israelite Exodus from Egypt.
What we now know about the archaeology of the eastern Kikkar, particularly from excavations at Tall Nimrin and Tall el-Hammam, is well enough to put an end both to the Albrightian legend of the southern Dead Sea location, and the Finkelsteinian legend about aetiological legends.