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.
Two archaeological sites have been proposed for the biblical city of Sodom Bab edh-Dhra and Tall el-Hammam. Both locations have evidence of fiery destruction, both have smaller towns nearby, and both are near the Dead Sea. But there are significant differences between these two sites, and each site has its passionate defenders. This article examines both of these archaeological sites by asking four questions. How does each site fit with the text of Gene- sis? Are there traditions that help locate Sodom? Does the date of the occupation and destruction favor one site? And, what does the archeological evidence reveal? The author concludes that Tall el-Hammam is the best candidate for biblical Sodom. But this conclusion has major ramifications. If Tall el-Hammam is Sodom, then our assumptions about how the ancients used numbers must be reexamined. But it also opens up great new vistas for biblical research into the times of the patriarchs. We will be able to know more about how Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph lived, and we will be able to understand and teach the biblical text with greater accuracy and authority.