Updated: Saturday, 16 May 2009, 12:26 AM MDT
Published : Friday, 15 May 2009, 8:03 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque archeologist and his team have returned with artifacts from a dig site near the Dead Sea which they believe reveals the lost city of Sodom.
Dr. Steven Collins and a team of about 70 have spent the last four years digging in Jordan. They have recovered thousands of artifacts, most of it pottery.
They have also discovered human and animal bones, jewelry and weapons.
"We have some Roman from the Iron Age, say from about 600-700 BC, going all the way back to Bronze Age, even very early in the bronze age going back to about 3000, even back as early as 4000 BC," Collins said.
Collins and his team have brought all the pieces back to Albuquerque for further study.
"Human beings are very prone to fads, and in pottery the pottery forms are changing constantly over time," Collins said. "No one uses them for more than 35 years or so.
"By identifying the forms that are tied to certain periods we can date the layers of dirt that we are digging."
Collins said based on the location of the site and the age of the pottery they believe they have in fact found the lost city.
"The prescribed profile from Bible is that we would have a Middle Bronze Age city that was destroyed and not reoccupied for some time," Collins said. "That's exactly what we've got
According to the writings in the Bible the holy cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were so filled with sinners "the Lord rained down burning sulfur" on them.
Collins and his team have brought in two scholars who they hope will help them determine if these pieces really are from the lost city of Sodom.
A leading Jordanian scholar is lending his expertise as is Dr. Bob Mullins from Azusa Pacific University in California.
"It's the location, based on the biblical text, where Sodom and Gomorrah should be," Mullins said. "I do agree with Steve on that.
"The period fits, Middle Bronze Age."
It will likely be years before scholars can determine if the artifacts are from Sodom as believed. Dr. Collins said this process usually take 10 to 15 years or more.
Right now they are in the fourth year of their dig. The group
will return to the site to dig some more this summer.
For an account of project from the Associates for Biblical Research current to January, click here .