Provided by Trinity Southwest University & the Museum of Archaeology



Season Fifteen

26 JANUARY -5 MARCH 2020

Southern Jordan Valley north of the Dead Sea
The Hashemite Kingdon of Jordan

Trinity Southwest University

Veritas International University

The Department of Antiquities, Jordan

Steven Collins, PhD 

          God destroyed it. 
 History lost it.  
          We found it. 
 You'll dig it! 

The College of Archaeology & Biblical History of Trinity Southwest University presents one of the most exciting volunteer opportunities in the history of biblical archaeology: The Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project.

Five years of focused research into the location of the biblical Cities of the Plain by Dr Steven Collins led to the discovery of a group of ancient sites that are by far the best candidates for Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim (Genesis 13-19). Now, after over a decade of excavations, Dr Collins and his team of scholars have solved a mystery that has confused and confounded Bible scholars for centuries.

The key to locating the Cities of the Plain is an intricate analysis of the biblical text. The three main biblical criteria for the correct identification of these famous cities are: (1) geographical—the biblical text clearly indicates that they were located on the eastern edge of the Jordan Disk (Heb., kikkar), the well-watered circular plain of the southern Jordan Valley north of the Dead Sea; (2) chronological—they must date from the Middle Bronze Age, the correct timeframe for Abraham and Lot, with underlying strata from a previous era such as the Early Bronze Age (the cities are also mentioned in Genesis 10); and (3) stratigraphical—their Middle Bronze Age destruction must be followed by at least a few centuries of inoccupation (Moses found the area to be an uninhabited wasteland). The sites discovered by Dr Collins meet all these criteria and more.

Measuring about 1000 meters from east to west, Tall el-Hammam is the largest of these Jordan Disk sites, and was, without doubt, the chief city in the group—the infamous Sodom itself. It was also the largest city in the southern Levant for most of the Bronze Age. With clear indicators of Chalcolithic Period, Early Bronze Age, Intermediate Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, and Iron Age 2 occupations (an occupational gap of at least six centuries after the MBA), the identification of Tall el-Hammam as Sodom is now virtually assured, reinforced by discoveries during the first eight seasons of excavation. 

Many scholars have treated the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, even their very existence, as myth, legend, or pure fiction, bolstered by the fact that their actual locations had never been discovered (that’s why most Bible maps don’t even show them!). But this is all changing! TeHEP is truly history in the making. 

And that’s where you enter the picture! You can become a 2020 TeHEP team member! The Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) needs committed volunteer diggers to join with its professional staff in order to excavate this most-likely candidate for the city of Sodom. Indeed, TeHEP is one of the most important biblically-related excavations in history! 

The dates for the dig proper are 26 January through 5 March 2020. Because of our weekly dig schedule, we encourage arrivals on Fridays (generally departing the USA on a Thursday, and arriving on a Friday). That way you'll have a day to rest, then go through dig orientation and field training on Saturday before starting to work at the site on Sunday, the first day of the dig week. Fridays and Saturdays are days off, and are also our days for special field trips to great sites around Jordan. There are special requirements for volunteers for the 2020 Season, so ask Glenda in the TSU office for those details.

Booking your dig experience at Tall el-Hammam is simple. The first step is to pay your participant fee to TeHEP and go through the application process. Volunteer slots will fill up very quickly. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: All participants must stay at the TeHEP headquarters hotel with the rest of the TeHEP Team. Contact Glenda at 505-332-4253 for details.

The second step is to arrange your own round-trip flight to Amman. This gives you flexibility in choosing an airline, and in finding the best price (we'll make recommendations). You'll then pay your for your own visa (40 JD = about $56) as you enter customs. You'll also be responsible for your own transportation from the airport to the hotel upon arrival, then back to the airport on your day of departure (taxi costs are reasonable, and we'll provide detailed instructions for you). 

The third step is to pay half of your hotel bill when you arrive, then pay the balance of your hotel bill when you check out at the end of your dig experience.  

These are the requirements for individuals who wish to participate: 

1. Register and pay your participation fee online at you may contact Glenda at TSU by email, or by phone at 505-332-4253. We recommend that you purchase a travel insurance program through your credit card or other insurance source. 

2. You must be in reasonably good physical condition. This is for your own protection. Working on an archaeological excavation can be physically demanding. While we always try to match dig responsibilities to the physical abilities of individuals, there is always considerable walking over rough terrain. 

3. You must be a team player. People with their own agendas, or who are inclined to "do their own thing" to the exclusion of others, are usually more trouble than they’re worth to the Project. We need people who are courteous, helpful, thoughtful of others, and conscientious about being at the right place at the time with the right stuff. 

4. You must carry your own travel and medical insurance. Many credit cards offer travel medical insurance plans that are comprehensive and inexpensive. Local medical care is readily available and reasonably priced, but you must have your own insurance should a major problem arise. 

5. 100% of cancellation fees are usually covered by travel insurance, provided the premium has been paid and reason for cancellation is insurable. Those who do not purchase travel insurance should be aware of the following cancellation penalties relative to the down payment: from the day of registration a $250 non-refundable administration fee applies. Thereafter, the following additional charges apply beyond the $250 administrative fee: for cancellation 120 or more days prior to scheduled excavation start date 75% of the down payment balance is refundable; for cancellation 60-119 days prior to scheduled excavation start date 50% of the down payment balance is refundable. There is no refund on the down payment for cancellations made less than 60 days prior to scheduled excavation start date (31 January 2014). Submit cancellation in writing.

We hope to see you
at Tall el-Hammam
this coming season! 

Learn More


Many scholars have treated the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, even their very existence, as myth, legend, or pure fiction, bolstered by the fact that their actual locations had never been discovered (that’s why most Bible maps don’t even show them!). But this is all changing! TeHEP is truly history in the making.  

And that’s where you enter the picture!

The Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project