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Last week we mentioned that the late P. W. Lapp, who excavated the site of Bab Edh-Dhra between 1965-1967 estimated that there were the remains of over 500,000 people in the cemetery there.

What we didn't mention is that there are TWO other cemeteries in the area. The one at Safi "which looks to be almost as large as the one at Bab edh-Dhra" and another one at Feifa "almost a mile in either direction that can also compete with Bab Edh Dhra both in size and usage". (Biblical Archaeological Review Volume 6 No. 5).

Now it is true that the present excavators Rast and Schaub have personally told me that these figures may be exaggerated, but they so far have not come up with figures of their own and admit that Lapp was an extremely competent investigator.

Thus we have a situation where there are an estimated ONE AND A HALF MILLION bodies in a land that cannot grow enough today to feed even a small village!

The landscape around Numeira This is the landscape around Numeira. It looks like a shot of the terrain on the moon. What then of the famous Biblical quote:- [Gen 13:10.39] And Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw that the Jordan valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Two questions are immediately obvious.

1) If this was written or even edited in post exilic times after the captivity in Babylon, how would they know that the land was well watered?

2) All the scientists state that this land was NOT well watered at the time of the Biblical account. Then, how do they account for the 1.5 million well fed bodies. How were these people fed taking whatever time period one wants to try and fit the data to the theory?

Those questions however are an important side-issue. The question at hand is to explain the evidence at these sites. Some have said that they were the remains of the Cities of the Plain including Sodom and Gomorrah, but the evidence is clearly otherwise. The bodies were buried BEFORE the destruction by burning.

We will now see how important the revised chronology really is in explaining the major Mysteries of the Bible.

My revised chronology dates the Exodus to the end of the early Bronze Age and the final destruction of these sites coincides with the area-wide catastrophe which occurred at that time with the mass migrations and disruptions that followed.

The vast cemeteries were therefore begun some 1,800 years earlier using conventional dating figures (much less using the conventional chronology) and were created as a result of the mass slaughter that took place at the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as recounted in the Bible.

The scenario probably involved the survivors of that holocaust those from the cities and the majority living outside the cities dragging their dead and wounded to a safe haven, preferably near a fresh water source (hence by a wadi). Those that died were buried in mass graves BEFORE a settlement was established at Bab edh Dhra and Safi.

Gradually as the danger subsided and a semblance of normality returned, the survivors broke up into settlement groups mirroring the original towns of origin. Thus, those Sodomite survivors gathered together and formed a new settlement as did the survivors of Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim and Bela. Fortunately there was a wadi complex somewhat nearby and each settlement group managed to have their own access to fresh water at the head of individual wadis.

Thus the sites found by our modern archaeologists are in fact the "mirror" cities of the plain.

We suggest that the remains of the original five "cities of the plain" will be found buried deep under the southern part of the Dead Sea or possibly deep beneath the area designated Lisan and Ghor.

Early Bronze Sites near the Dead Sea Although these areas are presently 300 meters below sea level it does not necessarily mean that this was the case in 1882 BC. (This is our estimated date under the revised chronology for the destruction of the cities of the plain.) The mere fact that so many grave sites were discovered in an area which today is unable to sustain any population of any size, proves the validity of the Biblical description that describes the area as a "fertile plain". Where else could the food have come from to feed the millions which modern Israeli and Jordanian technology is unable to emulate. The mere existence of the graves and charnel houses proves two things.

1) Both the climate and topography MUST have been different in the early bronze age.

2) A catastrophe must have taken place to change that state of affairs. These graves alone destroy the credibility of those who preach uniformitarianism whose credo is that there have been no major changes in climate and topography in the Middle east in recorded history. One and a half million corpses buried in one of the most inhospitable spots of the world today may be a striking testimony to the theory of Catastrophism.

Any Questions?

Michael S. Sanders

Irvine California

1988 to May 27, 1998


I have just received a note from Tom Schaub, one of the directors of the excavation of the area. He informs me that the information contained in the article in Biblical Archaeological Review was incorrect in many ways. I am investigating the discrepancies.

Biblical Mysteries
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  1. The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Hershel Shanks (ISBN: 0679457577)
  2. The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land by Ephraim Stern, et al. (ISBN: 0132762889)
  3. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East by Eric M. Meyers (Editor), (ISBN: 0195065123)


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