A noted biblical archaeologist and director of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan, Dr. Steven Collins, recently gave a lecture at Calvary Albuquerque titled “Why Sodom Matters.”
During his address, Dr. Collins gave an update on the excavations at Tall el-Hammam/Sodom. After detailing the history of the dig (the “right place,” the “right time” and the “right stuff”), Dr. Collins showed slides of the recent findings from the location, including cloth, bones and other artifacts.
Dr. Collins then proceeded to show a slide of an isolated, freestanding building at the possible location where Moses and the Israelites camped in the Kikkar of the Jordan (the Plains of Moab). It dates to the Late Bronze Age, the time of Moses and Joshua.
Dr. Collins stated, “I have a sneaking suspicion that Moses may have co-opted and used the building for his personal headquarters, completing the book of Deuteronomy before crossing to Jericho the other side of the valley.” The small but sturdily built structure (likely a “customs house” because of artifacts found in it) had pieces of carbonized furniture, including a chair, on the floor. Collins’ reasons that if Moses had used this structure, he also would have employed the furniture!
As one can imagine, if this statement was confirmed—and this would be very difficult—the end result would be of monumental importance, rivaling the find of the city of Sodom at Tall el-Hammam. Such a chair would be the only artifact ever found potentially linked directly to Moses. But again, as mentioned, Dr. Collins was quick to point out that it was just a “sneaking suspicion.”
To say the least, however, the artifacts and information presented in the lecture is of vast importance to both the biblical and archaeological communities, coming from one of the largest Bronze Age sites in the region.