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back to article Assyrian clay tablet points to 'Sodom and Gomorrah' asteroid

A Cuneiform clay tablet which for over 150 years defied attempts at interpretation has now been revealed to describe an asteroid impact which in 3123 BC hit Köfels, Austria, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction which may acccount for the biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Planisphere clay tablet. Pic: Bristol …

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Gates Horns

S0ddit...

Excellent news. The new location of Sodom and Gomorrah gives the Austrians an extra wedge of street cred.

A slice of Wiener schnitzel and <cough> something for the weekend.

Gates - the origin sod from gomorrah

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The location may not be known, but ...

OK, a little off the topic

The British Museum has another tablet which lists the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Lasha in the exact order as in the bible. Prior to the discovery of this, historian's views were that Genesis was not written at the time, but the order of listing such towns was important as they were the trading importance of the towns, which was known at the time, but lost thereafter

See Genesis 10:19

However, I'm glad to see modern computing unravelling the vast knowledge held in those cuneiform tablets

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Happy

Why do I have the feeling

Why do I have a very happy feeling you've got me sucked right in , I'll just set the HG Wells time machine with the co-ordinates 36 degree 24 minutes north latitude and 25 degrees 24 minutes east longitude and the timer to dawn April 1st 1600 BCE for a ring side seat for the greatest event in Minoan History , now that will truly be a blast !

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Misinterpretation

This being an ancient language I expect they misread "squiggly line" as "wiggly line". It should have been translated "Dear Diary, I have managed to move my telescope so I can see into the bedroom of the fit bird opposite my house. In the name of the holy Sun God I must declare: phwoooaarr."

Paris because five thousands years from now Confessions Of An Heiress will be mistranslated as an academic study of cosmic radiation.

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Sodom and Gomorrah

I love the fact a complete lack of archaeological evidence for either city ever having existed, doesn't get in the way of a media-friendly theory about their destruction. A shame they didn't go so far as to explain the halification of Lot's wife, but perhaps that's a follow up paper.

BTW. We all know about what was meant to be happening in Sodom, but what the hell was going on in Gomorrah?

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Alert

If wonder if the religious nuts will jump on this...

...and use it as further "proof" of the accuracy of the bible, whilst ignoring all of the other inaccuracies, contradictions and general non-sensical elements.

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Is there nothing asteroids can't do?

So, not only did an asteroid kill off the dinosaurs, it created Christian sexual guilt.

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Hmmm

So the tablet was inscribed in 700BC and it tells about an event in ~3100BC - 2,400 years earlier?!? With all our current techie prowess, we can only a very rough idea of what was going on that long ago, so how accurate can a historian operating in 700BC have been!!?

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Coat

You're off form today, Hainesey

I can't believe nobody has said "sodomy and gonorrhoea" yet .....

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Linux

What is a "religious nut"?

So - how would you describe a religious nut? :)

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@Adrian Fitzpatrick

The tablet "was a copy". The original could have been much older (and probably was, considering the Sumerians date back much further than 700BC). Also, the original was from the diary of an astronomer, not an historian.

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Anonymous Coward

@supermeerkat

If wonder if the anti-religious nuts will jump on this and use it to poke fun at the religious nuts. Oh, it has already happened.

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Pum

re: Mike Richards: Archaeological evidence for Sodom and Gomorrah

The first of the "five cities of the plain" mentioned in Genesis, of which Sodom and Gomorrah were two, was discovered at Bab edh-Dhra, Jordan in 1924 by William Foxwell Allbright, but only later found to be an Early Bronze Age city. Four other Early Bronze Age settlements have since been found in a line southward, though they have yet to be excavated. Despite further searching, only five settlements of this period were found, corresponding the the "five cities of the plain".

Evidence that the settlements were destroyed by fire and not resettled for two thousand years has been found at Bad edh-Dhra and at least one of the other sites.

Also, the destruction of Sodom was discussed by many classical writers, including the Greek geographer Strabo and the Roman historian Tacitus in the 1st century BC. Both stated that the story was widely believed, and that the remains of the cities could still be seen. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, writing in the 1st century AD, "... there are still marks of that Divine Fire, and the traces of the five cities are still to be seen, as well as the ashes of their growing fruits; ... [which] if you pluck them ... dissolve into smoke and ashes. So what is told about the land of Sodom is confirmed by the evidence of our eyes."

Source: "Ancient Mysteries" by Peter James and Nick Thorpe, ISBN 0-345-43488-9

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Coat

2@heystoopid

Don't forget the three rules of time travel.

1. Remember to tell your mam not to unplug the extension lead.

2. Make sure the extension lead is long enough.

3. Always design the machine so that you don't have to get off it to use the kick start.

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I'd say a religous nut is...

...a religious type, usually protestant, who is one or more of the following closeminded, generally intolerant, right wing, homophobic, creationists, anti-evolution, believers in bible inerrancy, American etc etc

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Only two minor slips int this story

1) The event happend about 9k - 10k years ago

2) It was only a landslide... No evidence of an impact was ever found, the impact theory has been rebutted in the 1970ies.

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Paris Hilton

@Spleen

Sorry Spleen! It looks like your Paris got turned into a pillar of salt. She probably wasn't looking back at the city so much as she was checking to see if the shift she was wearing made her ass look fat.

And no, it's not your clothes that make your ass look fat, honey. It's having your head in there. Or others....

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Pirate

@heystoopid

You realise, of course, that the law of Conservation of Narrative Causality will mean that it's actually your Time Machine that becomes the asteroid that plummets to Earth so you will, indeed, have a ringside seat...

... Briefly!

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Alert

Re: I'd say a religous nut is...

"...a religious type, usually protestant, who is one or more of the following closeminded, generally intolerant, right wing, homophobic, creationists, anti-evolution, believers in bible inerrancy, American etc etc"

One or more.. so being American alone is sufficient? No "general intolerance" or "closemindedness" shown there by the sneering party above, then.

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Anonymous Coward

@supermeerkat

Good - glad that's cleared up. I thought you might be making sweeping generalisations there for a second...

Yours, a mildly offended 'nut'

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Coat

This only leaves one question.

What (dramatic pause) incinerated the capital of Assyria?

I don't kn-- <aaauuuuugggghhhhh>

Damn Bridges of Death. Seem to be everywhere these days.

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Coat

@supermeerkat

I hate getting into a theological debate on an IT website but it has already begun so...

if the bible is truely so nonsensical and inaccurate, then why is it when completely rational, non-bible believing people give it an honest openminded effort to disprove the bible once and for all they end up believing it? If you don't believe that this can happen check out www.leestrobel.com, that is if you aren't so closedminded that you can't even give a competing viewpoint a chance. This website just happens to be the most public example of this, there are many more.

cheers!

PS I think the reason why Sodom and Gomorrah haven't been found is that God completely destroyed them. I'll wager though that the map that shows the exact former location of the cities is sitting in some museum.

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Alien

@Philip Kroker

There are some who believe they must be helped to become 'clear' of the confused Thetans attached to them after Lord Xenu tried a rather extreme solution to intergalactic overpopulation.

Doesn't make them right of course.

But then, as a member of the 4th or 5th Invasion Fleet of the Marcab Confederation, I would say that wouldn't I?

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Joke

I'd say a religious nut is...

Hard on the outside, hard on the inside, and can be seen hanging in trees. Like all nuts.

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Coat

How do they know it's a copy and not a fake?

How do they know it's a copy and not just an early example of a fake put in place deliberatly?

Even if it was a copy, how were the Sumerians able to date (and verifiy as genuine) the original?

I'll take the fire proof jacket and any spare asbestos you have lying around..

Anonymous 'cus religous nuts are scarier than black helicopters

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Meteor Path

One of the End of the World type programs on discovery tv, theorised that a certain sized meteor, on a certain path, would incinerate people and things, below the path of the meteor.

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Wow!

""The in coming angle was very low (six degrees) and means the asteroid clipped a mountain called Gamskogel above the town of Längenfeld, 11 kilometres from Köfels, and this caused the asteroid to explode before it reached its final impact point."

Wow! Spectacular! What an image!

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Coat

@Anonymous Coward

if you feel the urge to mock someone be man enough to put your name to it, unless of course tht is your name, in which case I apologize for ridiculing your manhood Mr. Coward.

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Coat

Snow crash...

"non-bible believing people give it an honest openminded effort to disprove the bible once and for all they end up believing it"

INFECTIOUS MEME CONTAINER!!!

Don't open. Burn on sight. Put anyone who has come in contact into quarantine. Lethal force may be used if deemed necessary.

(Yeah, I was educated by Catholics. Also, my sex life sucks.)

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J
Pirate

Titles, titles...

"I love the fact a complete lack of archaeological evidence for either city ever having existed, doesn't get in the way of a media-friendly theory about their destruction."

Well, I guess they are not trying to prove the existence of the cities, but the source of the legend. If some city (or cities) was destroyed in the event, it would sure be something otherworldly to people at the time. Another example that I slightly remember reading about is the hypothesized creation of the Black Sea, when a big flood ensued when sea levels were raised after the glacial period, or something like that. Imagine what people would say about that those days. Might have inspired the legend of the "universal" flood of the Bible (of which nobody out of that region of the world, e.g. China, Americas or even Africa, heard of in those days). Some blokes with their families and goats on boats would easily be Noahs...

"if the bible is truely so nonsensical and inaccurate, then why is it when completely rational, non-bible believing people give it an honest openminded effort to disprove the bible once and for all they end up believing it?"

And I bet that you would define "completely rational" people giving an "honest open minded" effort as only those who end up believing all the crap that is in there. Whomever doesn't is necessarily either not completely rational or honest or open minded, for sure... Like the millions who did the opposite journey of finally reading the thing and seeing what is actually written there -- the best way to make someone skeptical of "sacred" texts is to get them to really read them completely and by themselves (and not have some shaman pick and choose what fits the moral and knowledge of the day), I've noticed.

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@Philip Kroker

"if the bible is truely so nonsensical and inaccurate, then why is it when completely rational, non-bible believing people give it an honest openminded effort to disprove the bible once and for all they end up believing it?"

Because completely rational people want to make money, and are perfectly happy to milk people who don't know any better. You can tell them any story you want, and as long as it ends in "I found God" they'll buy it. "I woke up one morning and decided that I could make lots of money by writing a short book about apologetics" doesn't draw crowds the same way. You have any idea how much money Lee Stroebel makes off of those "The Case for [X|Y|Z]" books? They aren't even bought by non-religious or doubting types for the most part, they're bought by avid churchgoers to reaffirm what they already believe.

It's irrational to NOT write feelgood books to people who you already know are going to agree with you, and thus buy more of your 100-page-tossed-together-in-a-week-of-reviewing-some-biblical-passages drivel. Plus, since it's churchy and good, so you get paid to go on the Hour of Power and pitch your book to hundreds of millions of people worldwide who fit the prior description, and will buy your books for 10 bucks a pop.

Jaded, me? Guess I just know too much.

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Joke

@ Mike Richards

Gomorrahry is similar to Sodomy, except that it involves Visquene, a trapeze, and three live chickens...

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@Mike Richards

Get it right. Lot's wife wasn't halificated. She was sodiumised.

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Stop

@Philip Kroker

I believe that the Bible was thrown together by ignorant religious nutters. Surely God knew that the Earth revolves about the sun, not vice-versa. See http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/absurd.html.

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Gates Horns

@Philip Kroker

Mmm... maybe God built the universe to *look* as though it elegantly operates on the emergent properties of the simple fields and particles from which we *think* it's constructed, whereas in fact it's a hugely complicated bodge full of patches, fix-ups, special purpose code, and epicycles. If so, He's a) a sadist and b) laughing up His Sleeve right now, and c) wearing a Scary Clown suit whilst riding back and forth on one of His Epicycles. And tooting a horn.

Have you ever thought of *that*?

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IT Angle

who's a religious nut?

This guy looks a few pickles short of a sandwich... project343.blogspot.com

19:24

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Missing the point

All these anti-religious nutters are so busy slamming the religious nutters* that they are all missing the point:

Wow! Spectacular! What an image! Clipped a mountain and kept on going! Put it in the next Die Hard or something.

*their term, not mine. No, I'm not religious.

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Paris Hilton

@Anonymous Coward (one of them at least)

"...how were the Sumerians able to date (and verifiy as genuine) the original?"

the article doesn't say they did - the computer program used the relative positions of the stellar objects depicted to work out the date (presumably using some form of precession based calculation)

just because the civilisations were ancient doesn't mean they were populated by idiots (or paris, bless her cotton socks!)

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Intelligence and the Bible

So that you know where my comment is coming from, I will start by saying that I am a Christian; I am also studying to be a pastor.

I wanted to point out that believing in God or in the Bible has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. Many people far more intelligent than I (and likely you though I don't know you) deny the authenticity of the Bible, and many others who fall into that same category affirm that the Bible is God's Word.

I would also add that, for many of these people, their decision to believe or disbelieve had nothing to do with open or closed-mindedness. I am quite sure that many who did not want to believe in God ended up believing in Him, and I am just as certain that many who were seeking after God ended up denying Him.

So all the name-calling and jockeying for intellectual standing leads to nothing, because even as the Bible teaches, its message is foolishness to unbelievers and the very wisdom and power of God to those who believe. The Gospel is about God's love calling out to us, not our intellect.

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Non-religious nut

<quote>...a religious type, usually protestant, who is one or more of the following closeminded, generally intolerant, right wing, homophobic, creationists, anti-evolution, believers in bible inerrancy, American etc etc</quote>

Now please explain what a non-religous nut is. An explanation of yourself should suffice.

:)

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Unhappy

@Anonymous Cowards

I find it interesting that the "non-believers" out there feel so insecure about their own beliefs/lack thereof that they must resort to bashing those who do adhere to any religion. Is religion bashing perhaps a new sport? I also find it amusing that they are overly eager to point to the events of the past that paint religion as the source of all evils while blissfully ignoring/failing to mention that people who despised religion in all its forms also committed some less than flattering acts, Stalin comes to mind, though there are others.

Even more amusing than that I find the fact that most of the cricizing is done by anonymous cowards. Are you so ashamed of what you believe that you are unwilling to put your names behind what you say? Perhaps you need to hide because you fear recrimination for your childish insults? I am not ashamed of what I believe so I am not afraid to put my name to it, that does not mean I agree with everything done in the name of God, because as we all know that turn of phrase has been used to "justify" some things that are just wrong.

Again to any posters whos name really is Anonymous Coward my apologies, to those who name is not but still use it, grow some backbone!

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Paris Hilton

If Sodom actually existing proves the Bible as all correct...

... then the Iliad talking about Troy (which also actually existed) proves that Paris (the Greek dude not the heiress) really had to give an apple to three lovely, buxom, Greek godesses, right?

Paris, the latter day one.

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Alien

God Squad

No, it's just that the rationally minded non-believers understand that the belief in the existence of a supernatural omnipotent entity generally known as God is simply absurd. It all stems from ancient man worshipping the Sun. And from one man's need/desire to control others.

There's certainly many good things, useful lessons and ripping yarns in these collection of 'holy' texts. They are also filled with some utter tripe. But to believe in a God? It's quite silly if you really put your mind to it.

Perhaps something becomes of our consciousness after death, becoming a part of something else, but that's an entirely different matter. Either we'll find out about that upon death or we won't. Either way, we won't be able to tell the tale.

People who believe in God are seriously in need of a mental health evaluation.

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Anonymous Coward

There can be only one. (correct god) See the rest of you in hell I guess.

@ Mark H

I completely agree. "believing in God or in the Bible has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence."

venganza.org

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Universal Flood

"Might have inspired the legend of the "universal" flood of the Bible (of which nobody out of that region of the world, e.g. China, Americas or even Africa, heard of in those days)"

Umm... no. The "Universal Flood" also appears in the Mayan "Popol Vuh". Given the distance, there may have been some extreme climate change that made the water level rise?

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Definition of a religious nutter

Someone who takes a predefines word view construct and trys to force the evidence to fit.

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Stop

It's quite simple....

The planet we all live on is still pretty much exactly the same as it was thousands of years ago. It's us that change.

If a giant asteroid were to come crashing down to earth, we (most) wouldn't say "Oh no God is sending his wrath", we would say "Oh no a giant asteroid" because we know better.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that all these old texts ie: the bible, are filled with events that, people back in those days, had no explanation for and thus of course it must be the wrath of a god etc.

We as a people need to wake up and start believing in each other instead of the rants and misunderstandings of our ancestors.

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Alert

proof of bible , proof of god ?

Just like to point out that proving events that exist in the bible are historically accurate is not quite the same as proving that god exists-he sent his only son-blah blah blah.

A metorite destroying Sodom and Gomorrah is fine but that doesn't prove that god exists or that he sent said metorite, just that when people of the time looked at what was left of the sodomites they maybe though twice about accidently popping it in the "wrong" hole incase "god" smote them too ;)

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Anonymous Coward

@ gary

"If a giant asteroid were to come crashing down to earth, we (most) wouldn't say "Oh no God is sending his wrath", we would say "Oh no a giant asteroid" because we know better."

Not if you are a 'merkin right-wing born-again evangelist zealot. You'd be saying: “Oh no, God is sending his wrath”.

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IT Angle

Trifles

We can sit around and study small circles of stone forever (even coming up with hundreds of meanings - as one chap did from Azerbaijan I believe, suggesting that this great event related to some sort of inter-stellar vehicle...)

Ultimately any quasi-religious link between archaelogical findings and events/places that are still subject to people's opinions will never settle the issue.

More importantly the Bible discusses many hundreds of facets of history and science that have been proved true. If we stop making assumptions based on our long-held views that because many religious leaders have lied/cheated/stolen this makes the Bible wrong or that science is absolutely right 100% of the time - which it damn-sure aint - then we will see that the Bible has more impact on us now than we care to give it credit for.

To the "religious nuts" out there: remember not all doctrine and belief is in the Bible - that should tell you something.

To the "religious nut"-haters out there: remember that there are some things that science will never be able to explain. It takes more faith to believe a theory than it does to look at a simple explanation and make your own mind up. It's often the simplest solution that gets thought of last

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