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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    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

  2. Stephen Gazard

    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

  3. heystoopid
    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 !

  4. Spleen

    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.

  5. Mike Richards Silver badge

    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?

  6. supermeerkat
    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.

  7. supermeerkat

    Is there nothing asteroids can't do?

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

  8. Adrian Fitzpatrick

    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!!?

  9. A J Stiles
    Coat

    You're off form today, Hainesey

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

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    What is a "religious nut"?

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

  11. Peyton

    @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.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  13. 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

  14. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    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.

  15. supermeerkat

    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

  16. Nonsense

    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.

  17. Malboeuf
    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....

  18. Graham Marsden
    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!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    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'

  21. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  22. Philip Kroker
    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.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    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

  26. Simpson

    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.

  27. ImaGnuber

    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!

  28. Philip Kroker
    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.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    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.)

  30. 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.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @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.

  32. Kevin Campbell
    Joke

    @ Mike Richards

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

  33. RaelianWingnut

    @Mike Richards

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

  34. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  35. RaelianWingnut
    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*?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    who's a religious nut?

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

    19:24

  37. ImaGnuber
    Thumb Up

    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.

  38. Nic Hoy
    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!)

  39. Mark H

    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.

  40. David

    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.

    :)

  41. Philip Kroker
    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!

  42. Michael Hoffmann
    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.

  43. Stuart Duel
    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.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    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

  45. Daniel B.

    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?

  46. Pete

    Definition of a religious nutter

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

  47. gary
    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.

  48. David Simpson
    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 ;)

  49. Anonymous Coward
    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”.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    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

  51. triky
    Flame

    First Council of Nicaea

    People seem to forget that the Bible is not just a collection of writings from the apostles but was also reviewed, redrafted and censored in by the Romans 325 years after teh death of Christ in order to set a uniform Christian doctrine, with one leading body (the Church) dictating the terms of belief to believers and forcing the rest of the Empire to convert. It's easier to control an empire that way than letting everyone celebrate their own religion.

    Also, let's not forget the Bible has had 2008 years of existence, coupled with Vatican dictatorship, Spanish inquisitions, persecution of scientists and doctors for centuries, forced conversion of infidels in colonised countries, and finally with the president of the most military powerful country in the world handing out god bless america left right and center.

    Suffice to say, that's enough to put doubts into anyone's mind...

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    what's the date..

    hrmmm 1.4.08

    looks like a id10t error online or was that a virus.

    either way,

    here's my pinch of salt..

    oh yeah, mines the one with the dry crusty pockets...

  53. Abraham de Clercq
    IT Angle

    Om

    ...the Great God, is real.

    I saw him in a dream once after reading Small Gods... which must mean that I am his prophet... hence, hear my Prophecy!

    "Yer all gonna die."

    (Snickker...giggle...)

    Anyways- ascribing causes after the fact is as easy as claiming to be psychic and speaking in specialized semantics. Hmmm... making a prophecy pointing to a know and absolute fact, is stupid.

    The article is lovely in the graphic details of the crash and the events following it.. but the obvious misuse of Sodom & Gor* is dishonest and should be frowned on. (Really twist those brows and make Mr Potatoheads' Angry Eyes.)

    Then we can go on with the rest of this day and enjoy our coffee, electric lights, big cities and high tech gadgets while smiling upon the Wise and Mystic Ancients, who in their Glory, had absolutely nothing on us- really- we are living in the Greatest Age of Man.

    But then again...

    Nuts go well with beer- so we should be careful before we say they are Not Worthy of our Attention or cultivation!

    Hmm... more coffee... I feel my Math Co-Processor overheating (i486)

  54. John Angelico
    Coat

    <YAWN>

    1st April has finished already where I am

    Yes, the Akubra too - thanks.

  55. Aaron
    Alert

    Biblical Accuracy

    The Bible has always been proven by archeology to be historically and scientifically accurate, when it touches upon those subjects.

    It never starts out: "once upon a time, in a far away place"... but rather always gives specific dates, places, and names of people, etc. This is very different to mythology, which never gives specifics.

    Take as an example the Babylonian King Belshazzar spoken of in Daniel Chapter 5. For the longest time, historians doubted the existence of Belshazzar, because he wasn't spoken of in secular history. Secular historians new of Nabonidus as the ruler, not a Belshazzar. Turns out, that archeologists turned up some writings dated at that time, called the "Nabonidus Chronicle" that corroborates the existence of Belshazzar... turns out Belshazzar and Nabonidus had a kind duel rulership. During the events spoken of in Daniel 5, Nabonidus was out of town, with Belshazzar left in charge. This is also why, Belshazzar could only offer the 'third position' in power, and not the second position, for deciphering the hand writing on the wall (Read Daniel chapter 5). Very interesting reading no matter what you believe.

    One more example... this time on scientific accuracy. Check out Isaiah 40:22 and Job 26:7... how did the Bible writers know the shape of the Earth, etc. at that time way before the invention the telescope and before Columbus sailed the world?

    Thought you all would find this interesting.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame Religion

    I have deeply researched the Bible, and have found it to be true and accurate in all respects. I have come to believe that it truly is the word of God.

    For those of you that believe in the Bible, but have not studied it and read it... you are blind. For those of you that do not believe in the Bible, but have also never read and studied it, you are ignorant. Too many people make flippant and uniformed comments on something they have never taken the time to study... I guess we can blame religion for that.

    All religion that breeds hate, harbors terrorists, defends pedophiles, milks money from their parishioners to fund an extravagant lifestyle, gets involved in political affairs, and controls it's people through ignorance, superstition, & fear is from the Devil, not God. (Matthew 7:13-29 & 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15 & 1 Timothy 4: 1-3)

    Yes, what the Bible really teaches, and what todays brands of religion teach are completely different things.

    Today's churches act as political pulpits and provide refuge to the worst offenders in our society. They extort money from the masses for greedy selfish gain and do not even come close to providing spiritual enlightenment as taught from Scripture. Therefore, they should be taxed just like every other business, they should be held accountable for their actions, they should show proof of their teachings.

    I agree with Ben Franklin & James Garfield:

    "The divorce between Church and State ought to be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no Church property anywhere, in any state or in the nation, should be exempt for equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization to that extent you impose a tax upon the whole community."

    — James A Garfield, 20th U.S. President (1881)

    "When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obligated to call for help of the civil power, it's a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one." -- Benjamin Franklin

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    All wrong.

    The ancient disk actually says:

    Redeem this tablet for one [1] free* camel wash at Honest Abdul's, the only 24 hour camel stop this side of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    * Conditions apply.

  58. Rogan Paneer

    Biblical Accuracy? dream on

    Ok, since this discussion has evolved into a discussion of biblical accuracy, I must add my $0.02 worth.

    Just as evolutionary theory, geology and astronomy have destroyed the scientific claims of the Pentateuch, so modern archaeology has methodically exposed the origins of these writings as Iron Age spin and propaganda, collected around the 7th century BCE to bolster the territorial ambitions of Jerusalem-based kings. No Exodus, no Golden Age of David and Solomon. Excavation has, for example shown that the towns identified in the Exodus story were not inhabited during the period when the events must have taken place- but they were inhabited later, during the 8th-7th centuries BC, when the stories were being crafted. In any case, identifying a 'biblical' site is one thing, but it doesn't prove the claimed events actually occurred or that historical personages did what was claimed, any more than future archaeologists discovering the site of Edwardian-era London would prove the existence of Mary Poppins.

    This is why the straw man approach of Aaron is misleading. The Old Testament is not pure myth, but a mix of facts (for credibility), fancy and spin, setting out for its 7th century BC audience a 'Golden Age' that can be returned to by adopting a particular brand of faith (and also, naturally, the Jerusalem-based kings that champion it). This doesn't mean that the OT is always wrong, it just means that until its contents can be corroborated with other texts or excavation results, it's best treated as a massively-massaged folk story.

    And yes, I've read the Bible, but i've read other books as well.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Pride not Sodomy

    my fire and brimstone evangelical preacher from ones youth, insisted that that the issue was not with the debauchery of Sodom and Gommorah (much as it was) but the real and greater sin was that of the "pride of man" in so much he though he new best and ignored the will of God. There by God really and truelly shafted the said dwellers of the sea side towns.

    oh, for a similar fate to Skegness and Rhyll

  60. triky

    the sacred mushroom and the cross

    I read the bible. But i also read this book: The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross. In 1970, the famed Dead Sea Scrolls scholar John Marco Allegro published a series of articles which which maintains that Christianity has its origins and nature in fertility cults of the Ancient near east centred on a sacred Mushroom. Allegro was a expert in Semitic languages and also studied Hebrew dialects. Extremely interesting reading, revealing hidden messages and codes within the Bible.

    The gist of the theory is that pre-Jesus, religions were closed and secretive and difficult to join, namely because of intiation rituals and so forth. Then Jesus came along and told people that anyone could be part of his religion, that the only condition to entry was to repent and believe. It became a hugely popular religion, and all the other smaller religions struggled to survive. So they became Christians, and for fear of losing their own religious beliefs, hid the secrets of their practices within the Bible itself. One of these practives is the preparation of mushrooms for consumption and communion with God. Very interesting reading for those who have the interest.

  61. Jesse
    Joke

    @ Mike Richards

    Your decree that ancient literature must be backed up by archaeological evidence makes it clear that you are a Bone Head on so many levels.

  62. Douglas Cox

    The Köfels (Pseudo)impact is Too Old and Not an Impact Site

    There is a significant problem with this specific theory as the Kofels landslide / (Pseudo)impact is too old to the alleged impact that is allegedly described in the tablet. First, about the Kofels landslide, Hermanns et al. (2006) stated:

    “Pieces of wood recovered from a reconnaissance gallery in the Tauferberg gave a conventional 14C age of 8710+/-150 years BP (Heuberger, 1966), and an AMS 14C age of 8705+/-55 years BP (Ivy-Ochs et al., 1998),”

    If a person presume that the 700 BC date is calender years, the transformation of years C14 to calender years gives a calibrated date of 9683 ± 90 BP (about 9700 BP) for the Köfels landslide. Thus, in calender years, the landslide happene about 7,000 years before the cuneiform clay tablet was made and about 4,600 years before 3123 BC (5123 BP) when it is argued that the impact occurred. The Köfels landslide occurred thousand of years before either the tablet was argued to have been made, or the when the alleged impact was suppose to have occurred. The Köfels landslide is much too old to have any connection with any of them.

    References Cited:

    Hermanns, R., L. Blikra, M. Naumann, B. Nilsen, K. Panthi, D. Stromeyer, and O. Longva, 2006, Examples of multiple rock-slope collapses from Köfels (Ötz valley, Austria) and western Norway. Engineering Geology. vol. 83, no. 1-3, pp. 94-108.

    Heuberger, H., 1966, Gletschergeschichtliche Untersuchungen in den Zentralalpen zwischen Sellrain-und Otztal. Wissenschaftliche Alpenvereinshefte. no. 20.

    Ivy-Ochs, S., H. Heuberger, P. W. Kubik, H. Kerschner, G. Bonani, M. Frank, and C. Schluchter, 1998, The age of the Köfels event. Relative, 14C and cosmogenic isotope dating of an early Holocene landslide in the central Alps (Tyrol, Austria). Zeitschrift fur Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie. vol. 34, pp. 57–70.

    Also, there is a discussion of the evidence for the Köfels landslide being an meteorite / comet impact in:

    Deutsch, A., C. Koeberl, J.D. Blum, B.M. French, B.P. Glass, R. Grieve, P. Horn, E.K. Jessberger, G. Kurat, W.U. Reimold, J. Smit, D. stoffler, and S.R. Taylor, 1994, The impact-flood connection: Does it exist? Terra Nova. vol. 6, pp. 644-650.

    They found a complete lack of any credible evidence for an impact having created the Köfels landslide. The alleged "shock quartz" found by earlier investigators was discredited as neither being "shock quartz" nor formed by an impact. The melted rock associated with this landslide was identified as "frictionite" created by frictional heat generated by the landslide, the largest in Europe as discussed by:

    Erismann, T. H., 1977, Der bimsstein von Köfels impaktit oder friktionit?. Material und Technik. vol. 5, pp. 190–196. Erismann, T. H., H. Heuberger, and E. Preuss, 1977, Der Bimsstein von Köfels (Tirol), ein Bergsturz-“Friktionit. Mineralogy and Petrology. vol. 24, no. 1-2, pp. 67-119.

    and

    Masch, L., H. R. Wenk, and E. Preuss, 1985. Electron microscopy study of hyalomylonites-evidence for frictional melting in landslides. Tectonophysics. vol. 115, pp. 131–160.

    These above studies clearly demonstrate that the estimated kinetic energy of the rock mass displaced by the landslide would have generated the heat necessary to melt the rock and form the “pumice”, which they called “frictionite”.

    Sorenson et al. (2003) concluded:

    “Analysis of the Köfels sturzstrom seems to indicate that most aspects can be explained without recourse to exotic emplacement scenarios. The bulk of the material resembles the debris from an energetic but conventional landslide.”

    Reference Cited

    Sorensen, S.-A., and Berthold Bauer, 2003, On the dynamics of the Köfels sturzstrom. Geomorphology, vol. 54, no. 1-2, pp. 11-19.

    Go look at "Cause effect models of large mass movements" at

    http://info.tuwien.ac.at/geophysik/research/landslides/1997_pr01/structure/koefels.htm

  63. Nancy L WEBSTER
    Alert

    Bare hands

    British Museum has lost its gloves?

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