The Destruction of Sodom: A Scientific Commentary

By Graham Harris

An exploration of the scientific background to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, ranging from geological processes to the economy of the Dead Sea region.

ISBN: 9780718893682


In The Destruction of Sodom, the Biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is examined under the spotlight of modern science against a cultural backdrop of history and archaeology. In this scientific reconstruction, the account of events described in the book of Genesis is verified and it is established that the destruction occurred at about 2350 BC as a result of an earthquake-induced landslide transporting Sodom to the depths of the Dead Sea. Strands of geography, geology, and engineering science are drawn together to provide comprehensive treatment of all relevant scientific aspects pertinent to a rational understanding of the mechanics of the disaster. The detailed scientific argument follows a discussion of the Genesis account and considerations of Canaanite culture and commerce, with specific attention to the trade in bitumen. On this point, Graham Harris provides evidence that the mainstay of Canaanite commerce was the exploitation of the bitumen resources of the Dead Sea, that the Sodomites were among the world’s first chemical engineers, and from the resources of the region a large number of processed materials also would have been exported to Egypt.

The Destruction of Sodom is an example of the application of science to a fuller understanding of one of the most intriguing events of the Old Testament, and will be of direct interest to scholars as well as to the wider public.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 216
Illustrations b&w

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Graham Harris attended Imperial College, London, with graduate and postgraduate studies in civil engineering and engineering geology. His professional career as a specialist geotechnical consultant included assignments over a ten year period involving detailed study of the sediments and geology of the Dead Sea region.


List of Figures
List of Tables


1. The Genesis Account
2. The Dead Sea
3. The Canaanites
4. Bitumen in Antiquity – Sources, Recovery and Processing
5. Bitumen in Antiquity – Applications and Trade
6. Mineral Resources in Antiquity
7. Earthquakes and Landslides
8. The Destruction
9. Conclusions


Appendix I. A Note on Radio-Carbon Dating
Appendix II. Earthquake Magnitude and Intensity



Endorsements and Reviews

Not since the relatively recent discoveries of the world’s oldest known temple (11,500+ years old) at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, or of the legendary lost city of Iram-Ubar, has there emerged as important a set of conclusive evidence of the existence of Biblical and Qur’anic ‘lost cities’ than what we find in Graham Harris’s The Destruction of Sodom.
Louis Buff Parry, recognised ancient trade network expert