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Sodom & Gomorrah Research Concluded

A VERY Strange Evidence?

In August of 1990, I had taken a small sample of ash, about four inches long, and was about to wrap it in tissue paper and place it in a plastic soap-carrying container. As I handled it, the layers loosened and separated, revealing a very, VERY strange site within the white material. I took it to Ron because it looked to me like an eyeball. I knew it wasn't -- actually, it was a perfectly round hole within the ash surrounded by a reddish ring of hard, crusty material. But Ron didn't have any idea what it was.

We filmed and photographed, roaming throughout the site on the "streets". When we returned home, we met Richard Rives, who had read Ron's book and was very interested in the research. Richard owns a travel agency and offered to help us get good airfares. Then, Ron asked him if he would be interested in also going over and helping with the field work. He was interested and two months later, in October of 1990, Ron and Richard returned to the site below Masada -- the site we were sure was Gomorrah.

The Evidence We had Prayed For

We had asked several of our friends to be praying that we would find the evidence that was needed. Sometimes its hard for us to know if something we feel led to work on is something the Lord wants us to pursue, or whether its a project of our own choosing. We all felt like this was important, but we also still knew we needed that "definitive" evidence.

In October, when Richard and Ron arrived, they discovered it had just rained. This is a very rare occurrence in this area which receives as little as 1/4 to 1/2 inch of rain a year. It was still overcast while they were there, which helped immensely. The bright sun on the white ash was almost blinding, but now they could see quite well. And as they wandered through the area, Richard saw what looked like an open room or cave up ahead and asked Ron if they could go investigate it. They would have never gone in that direction if Richard hadn't seen this, but now they headed for it.

And as they walked, they came upon a very large chunk of ash that had just recently fallen from quite a high section- probably because of the recent rain. Ron stopped to view this and saw numerous yellowish balls inside this broken ash, all surrounded by a reddish-black, crusty ring.

Prying one out, he recognized it as sulfur. Smelling it, he KNEW it was sulfur. Here was the evidence they needed- all through the ashen remains were round balls of sulfur (brimstone) encapsulated in burnt crystalline. Now we knew what my "eyeball" was! In my specimen, however, the sulfur had apparently fallen out as it separated while I was carrying it for several hours.

As they looked around, now knowing what to look for, they saw these sulfur balls literally everywhere they looked. Before, we hadn't been able to see them because the loose ash had covered everything. But now the rain washed away the loose ash and caused this section to fall way, revealing these sulfur balls embedded through the ashen material. The reddish-black crystalline material surrounding the sulfur balls showed that they had once been on fire. It seems that as these burning balls of brimstone fell from the sky, they burned right through everything. And as they burned, after a while, molten material surrounding the sulfur cut if off from the flame, preserving it in the interior of the ashes.

What was discovered was that as the ashen material erodes and these sulfur balls become exposed to the surface, they fall out of their capsule and can be found lying all over the ground. But we hadn't been able to see them before because they had been covered with the loose layer of ash. We began to research sulfur to see if sulfur in this form had been found anywhere else.

Richard, Ron, and I went to the Smithsonian and viewed their display of sulfur in its various forms, none being rounded balls. But to be sure, we asked to see their other specimens, and were shown their complete collection of sulfur which consisted of over fifty specimens. Again, none were in this form.

In Newsletter #8 (July 1994) we briefly discussed the crystalline capsules which surround the sulfur. The reddish color surrounding the sulfur balls was a result of the heat:  "The Colour also changes, deepening from yellow to dark red, and, finally, to black at about 250 degrees C (482 degrees F). The variations in both colour and viscosity are considered to result in changes in the molecular structure." "Encyclopaedia Britannica (1985) Vol. 13, p. 816

PLEASE NOTE- in our July newsletter, it stated that 250 degrees C (Celsius) was 280 degrees F (Fahrenheit), which was what the encyclopedia showed. However, it was in error. The accurate conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit is 482 degrees -- multiply C by 9/5 and add 32 degrees to attain the Fahrenheit equivalent.

The same encyclopedia, Vol. IX, p. 660, explained why these capsules surrounding the sulfur balls were of a crystalline structure:

    "Monoclinic, or prismatic, sulfur, which is obtained when liquid sulfur is cooled slowly, consists of long, needle-like crystals."

An Earlier Report of the Sulfur Balls

Sulfur in such a pure form, in rounded balls simply isn't found anywhere else on earth except in this region, that we've been able to ascertain. And reports have come in that these have been found quite far north, which verifies Ron's belief that this plain was quite large. We have talked with numerous geologists and chemists without telling them why we were asking. However, we weren't the first ones to discover these sulfur balls in the region. When William Albright and Melvin Kyle set out to find the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in 1924, they, too, found these balls of brimstone; however, they were looking for the sites at the southern end of the Dead Sea:

    "...a region on which brimstone was rained will show brimstone. Well, it does; we picked up pure sulfur, in pieces as big as the end of my thumb. It is mixed with the marl of the mountains on the west side of the sea, and now is to be found scattered along the shore of the sea even on the east side, some four or five miles distant from the ledge that contains the stratum. It has somehow scattered far and wide over this plain." "Explorations at Sodom" by Dr. Melvin Kyle, 1928, pp. 52-53.

Influenced by the common misconception that the cities were at the southern end, these men obviously were on the very sites, yet misinterpreted them as being "marl", or an earthy limestone deposit used as fertilizer on soils deficient in limestone. And the reason that these sulfur balls are found throughout the entire plain is simple -- the Bible says the entire plain was included in the destruction of the cities:

    GEN 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

Our next task was to check each of the five sites and be sure there were sulfur balls at each one. Ron and his team completed this except for one site -- the site of "Zeboim", north of Jericho. In January of 1991, we found the site was now off-limits, behind the fencing that comprises the "neutral zone" along the Jordan River. With three strands of barbed wire running along the top, we decided we had better just wait for a better time. The site, "Zoar", is located just below a checkpoint, and we didn't want to bring a lot of attention to our being there, so we quietly explored this one, finding the sulfur balls plainly exposed in the ashen structures.

Sodom was by far the largest site, and a bit more difficult to get to. It is located behind Mt. Sodom in the plain that extends right up to the mountains, and it requires more walking and difficult climbing to get to. But, the sulfur balls were there also.

As we mentioned, the sites have suffered a tremendous amount of erosion and the best preserved, by far, is "Gomorrah". The site, "Admah", at the northern end of the Dead Sea, is exposed to a great deal of wind as it is located in an area not as well protected by the mountains. Also, its ash has turned sort of brownish on the outside, probably due to something in the wind settling on it. Whenever a section breaks away, the pure white color can still be seen inside.

These cities, with the exception of "Zoar", were not small -- they were very, very large with populations in the thousands. We know that the entire plain was a lush, beautiful area, compared with the Garden of Eden in the Bible.

We also know that the Jordan River most likely, at that time, flowed all the way down to the Gulf of Aqaba. All rivers, with the exception of one that we know of in Africa, flow to either a sea, ocean or at least a lake. At the time Sodom and Gomorrah existed, we are told that where the Dead Sea now is, was a "vale" or valley that was full of "slime pits", meaning it oozed bitumen. Since the cities were said to be in the plain, not in the valley, this proves that they were not covered by the waters of the sea. It also explains something else.

The "Sin of Sodom"

Most people associate Sodom & Gomorrah with only one sinful passion -- that of sexual perversion. And they were guilty of that, as are a large number of people not only today, but down through the ages. But the Bible states that their sin was something else:

    EZEKIEL 16:49-50 Behold, THIS was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, PRIDE, FULLNESS OF BREAD, and ABUNDANCE OF IDLENESS was in her and in her daughters, NEITHER DID SHE STRENGTHEN THE HAND OF THE POOR AND NEEDY. And they were HAUGHTY, and COMMITTED ABOMINATION before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Here we learn that the root of their sinfulness stemmed from their great wealth which led them to idleness and a disregard for those less fortunate than they. They were full of pride and haughtiness, thinking they were better than others.

Why were they so wealthy? The mention of the "slime pits" may provide the answer for it. Bitumen was a most valuable commodity in those days, being used extensively all over the ancient world. Not only was it used as a coating for burnt mud bricks (as a preservative), it was used in the mortar; it was used to provide a water-tight covering for things such as the "reed ark" Moses was placed in as a baby. Even today, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica,

    "In its various forms bitumen is one of the most widely distributed of substances".

In the Ebla tablets, one tablet listing some purchases and the price for each item in silver, shows that the highest price was paid for bitumen. And the people of these cities had only to walk out in their "front yard" and gather it. They had no reason to engage in hard work. They had a "gold mine" just there for the taking. This also explains why the kings of the great nations wanted to make them vassals -- to participate in their great wealth through the extraction of tribute in the form of bitumen.

This bitumen could also possibly have provided a hint as to a catalyst in the conflagration which occurred in this plain. Bitumen, or slime pits, result from an underground petroleum reserve oozing through to the surface. And all oil reserves have natural gas associated with them, which also can seep into the air. All of this is speculation, but the region yields the elements and evidences of an extremely cataclysmic occurrence -- one in which a lake was formed, blocking the river from its continued flow and which devastated the entire plain to the extent that nothing grows there.

Evidence from the Ebla Tablets

When the archives at ancient Ebla (in present day northern Syria) were first discovered in 1975, the translator, Giovanni Pettinato, reported he had found the names of the five cities of the plain not only listed, but in the same order as in Genesis. However, the Syrian government was "angered at the emphasis placed in the West on the tablets' alleged Biblical significance". (BAR, May/June 1980, p. 48) A rather large controversy then began over these tablets, which the Syrians felt were being used to link the Biblical Patriarchs with Syrian history, something they would not stand for. This finally resulted in Pettinato's resignation and letter of recantation as to many of the translations. However, that's just par for the course.

These tablets reveal evidence that positively confirms the Biblical account and Satan is fighting hard to suppress it. The later appointed director of the Italian mission excavating at Ebla issued a statement which shows why Pettinato was forced to recant:  "These allegations [linking the Ebla tablets with the Bible] were propagated by Zionist-American centres to be exploited for atrocious purposes aimed at proving the expansionist and colonialistic views of the Zionist leaders." (Ibid., p. 49).

When Pattinato, the original translator of the texts, made his recantation, he still insisted that the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were correct. In light of the serious objections made by the Syrian government, which are purely political in nature, based on their intense hatred of the Israelis, I think we can confidently accept the evidence as it was originally published. And in his original publication, he writes that a king of one of the cities is mentioned, "Birsha", which is exactly what the Bible states:

    GENESIS 14:2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.

What is so exciting about these tablets is that they come from a well established city, one hundred forty acres in size, that existed during the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Biblical record reveals that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed just twenty-four years after Abraham left Haran, which is within one hundred fifty miles of ancient Ebla.

And mentioned in the Ebla texts, uncontested, are cities whose names reflect Abraham's relatives:

  • Phaliga=Peleg
  • Til-Turakhi=Terah
  • Nakhur=Nahor and
  • Haran

Not only that, but they mention "Ur in the region of Haran", which is the city Abraham left from originally.

Sodom and Gomorrah and their fate was not a fairy tale. It was an historical event that occurred exactly as the Biblical account presented it. Not only that, but the evidence remains, as Peter wrote, as an "ensample [a visual example] unto those that after should live ungodly". They provide the entire world with the evidence of, as Jude wrote, "the vengeance of eternal fire." Malachi wrote of the final reward of the wicked:

    MAL 4:1-3 For, behold, the day cometh, that SHALL BURN AS AN OVEN; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, SHALL BE STUBBLE: and the day that cometh SHALL BURN THEM UP, saith the LORD of hosts, that it SHALL LEAVE THEM NEITHER ROOT NOR BRANCH. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And YE SHALL TREAD DOWN THE WICKED; FOR THEY SHALL BE ASHES UNDER THE SOLES OF YOUR FEET in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.


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