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Ulrich Elkmann Offline

Beiträge: 13.546

24.09.2021 14:27
Tell el-Hammam, 1650 v.Chr. Antworten

Das ist der Stoff aus wüsten Science-Fiction-Katastrophenfilmen. Wie es aussieht, hat dergleichen nicht nur vor 65 Millionen Jahren die Saurier & die Trilobiten erwischt.

Das Paper ist vor 4 Tagen in "Nature" publiziert worden.

Article Open Access Published: 20 September 2021

A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam a Middle Bronze Age city in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea

Ted E. Bunch, Malcolm A. LeCompte, A. Victor Adedeji, James H. Wittke, T. David Burleigh, Robert E. Hermes, Charles Mooney, Dale Batchelor, Wendy S. Wolbach, Joel Kathan, Gunther Kletetschka, Mark C. L. Patterson, Edward C. Swindel, Timothy Witwer, George A. Howard, Siddhartha Mitra, Christopher R. Moore, Kurt Langworthy, James P. Kennett, Allen West & Phillip J. Silvia

Scientific Reports volume 11, Article number: 18632 (2021)


We present evidence that in ~ 1650 BCE (~ 3600 years ago), a cosmic airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam, a Middle-Bronze-Age city in the southern Jordan Valley northeast of the Dead Sea. The proposed airburst was larger than the 1908 explosion over Tunguska, Russia, where a ~ 50-m-wide bolide detonated with ~ 1000× more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. A city-wide ~ 1.5-m-thick carbon-and-ash-rich destruction layer contains peak concentrations of shocked quartz (~ 5–10 GPa); melted pottery and mudbricks; diamond-like carbon; soot; Fe- and Si-rich spherules; CaCO3 spherules from melted plaster; and melted platinum, iridium, nickel, gold, silver, zircon, chromite, and quartz. Heating experiments indicate temperatures exceeded 2000 °C. Amid city-side devastation, the airburst demolished 12+ m of the 4-to-5-story palace complex and the massive 4-m-thick mudbrick rampart, while causing extreme disarticulation and skeletal fragmentation in nearby humans. An airburst-related influx of salt (~ 4 wt.%) produced hypersalinity, inhibited agriculture, and caused a ~ 300–600-year-long abandonment of ~ 120 regional settlements within a > 25-km radius. Tall el-Hammam may be the second oldest city/town destroyed by a cosmic airburst/impact, after Abu Hureyra, Syria, and possibly the earliest site with an oral tradition that was written down (Genesis). Tunguska-scale airbursts can devastate entire cities/regions and thus, pose a severe modern-day hazard.


Since 2005, archeological excavations have been conducted at Tall el-Hammam (“TeH”), an ancient walled city in the southern Jordan Valley located northeast of the Dead Sea (Fig. 1). The ruins are situated in a part of the Great Rift Valley known as the Middle Ghor, defined as the southern end of the valley between Lake Tiberias, Israel at ~ 200 m below sea level (mbsl), and the Dead Sea at ~ 415 mbsl. This area represents the southernmost 25 km of the Jordan River drainage, where the valley floor north of the Dead Sea is a relatively flat and disk-like plain, called “the Kikkar of the Jordan” (hakikkar hayarden) in Hebrew 1,2.
Potential written record of destruction

There is an ongoing debate as to whether Tall el-Hammam could be the biblical city of Sodom (Silvia2 and references therein), but this issue is beyond the scope of this investigation. Questions about the potential existence, age, and location of Sodom are not directly related to the fundamental question addressed in this investigation as to what processes produced high-temperature materials at Tall el-Hammam during the MBA. Nevertheless, we consider whether oral traditions about the destruction of this urban city by a cosmic object might be the source of the written version of Sodom in Genesis. We also consider whether the details recounted in Genesis are a reasonable match for the known details of a cosmic impact event.


All TeH sampling profiles investigated contain an MB II burn layer that is highly complex and variable across the tall but is generally composed of three parts. The first part is the deepest one and is mainly pulverized mudbrick, mixed with larger melted and unmelted mudbrick fragments, melted and unmelted roofing clay, ash, charcoal, charred seeds, unburnt wood, burned textiles, bones, plaster fragments, broken pottery, and melted pottery. We call this the ‘debris matrix’. It varies in thickness up to ~ 1.5 m and is only occasionally missing across the entire tall.

The second part, immediately above the debris matrix, is composed of thin, windblown, fine-grained laminations, including fragments of broken plaster, limestone spherules, and charcoal, radiocarbon-dated to 1650 BCE. It is not present in all locations and instead, is typically found on the NE sides of SW-facing wall remnants at the top of the debris matrix. This extraordinary stratum is termed the ‘blow-over layer'. Nothing similar has been identified in any older or younger deposits, beginning in the Early Bronze Age and extending through the Iron Age.

Radiocarbon dates were obtained for 26 samples from the destruction layer, and of those, three dates were rejected by OxCal as outliers that are a few decades too young, and three dates were rejected as being a few decades too old. The following datable materials were extracted from the destruction layer in Field UA in and around the palace: carbonized wood, including twigs (n = 11), carbonized grains and seeds (n = 3), charred organic material (n = 4), organic sediment (n = 1), and collagen from burned bone (n = 1).

The Bayesian-modeled age for the destruction layer is 1661 ± 21 BCE (3611 cal BP) (Fig. 5; Supporting Information, Tables S1, S2) for a range of 1686–1632 BCE with a 68% confidence interval (CI, approximately equivalent to 1σ). Because of radiocarbon-dating uncertainties, the age of the destruction event has been rounded to the nearest half-century: 1650 BCE ± 50 (3600 cal BP). This age is consistent with seriation, a standard dating method used in archaeology based on the ages of stylistic changes in pottery and artifacts. This method provides an estimated age of ~ 1750–1650 BCE2.


Human bones in the destruction layer
Upper tall

If the MB II destruction event at TeH was of sufficient magnitude and abruptness to be fatal for human inhabitants, as the evidence indicates, human remains should exist in the MB II layer. Indeed, human skeletal remains of sufficient size to be positively identified were found on the upper ring road that encircled the upper tall between the MB II defensive fortification wall and the outer wall of the MB II palace. Two human skulls were found about 20 cm apart (Fig. 44a, b), adjacent to a portion of a pelvis and a likely arm bone fragment. One skull was missing the mandible, and the right orbit was crushed about 50%. The second skull fragment consisted only of the upper dentition and lower half of the right orbit. Only two or three rib fragments were found and no other long bones were recovered. The forensic evidence suggests that the two bodies may have been decapitated, dismembered, and disarticulated. The record indicates that most of the bones had been shattered into small pieces and mixed into a matrix of pulverized mudbricks.
Lower tall

During Season 6139, excavations were conducted in two 6-by-6-m squares along the ring road of the lower tall. Both squares revealed a significant abundance of disarticulated and fragmented human skeletal remains in the MB II destruction layer139 (Fig. 44c). In one square, three partially intact skeletons were found. All bones observed were embedded in a loose debris matrix composed of pulverized mudbrick, ash, and charcoal (Fig. 44c). There are no indications of intentional burial, scavenging, accidental death, violence, or battle damage.

Two osteologists examined the bones of two adults and one child139. Disarticulation of the skeletons was generally severe, and for the adult skeletons, only leg bones were preserved. For one skeleton, ~ 10 cm of the ends of both femurs showed evidence of charring. The remaining skeleton was represented by many fragmented bones found in the surrounding matrix. Metatarsal bones were abnormally hyper-extended (i.e., joints were over-stretched) and the proximal phalanges were hyper-flexed at almost 90 degrees to the metatarsals. The right knee joint of one skeleton also was hyper-extended139. In a nearby child’s skeleton, the legs were hyper-flexed backward and the knee joints were disarticulated. Another skeleton was found buried in a crouching position with the hands raised to the face, a posture commonly adopted for protecting the head, as occurred during the volcanic eruption at Pompeii 140.

"Les hommes seront toujours fous; et ceux qui croient les guérir sont les plus fous de la bande." - Voltaire

Ulrich Elkmann Offline

Beiträge: 13.546

24.09.2021 14:42
#2 RE: Tell el-Hammam, 1650 v.Chr. Antworten

Ich muß mich entschuldigen. Es fällt mir erst jetzt auf, daß ich beim Einstellen verrutscht bin; die leidige Gewohnheit. "Eigentlich" gehört das in die Rubrik "Andere Themen," da hier ja (noch) kein Blogbeitrag vorliegt. Den werde ich in den nächsten Tagen nachliefern. Um hier keine weitere Konfusion anzurichten, lasse ich das hier stehen. Eine archäologische Sensation bleibt das trotzdem.

Nachtrag aus dem Paper:

Discussion of human bones

A medical doctor (co-author T.W.) inspected the human bones and concluded that the injuries occurred perimortem, including damage to the eye socket of one skull. We propose that the individuals represented by the bones were violently torn apart by a powerful airburst/impact, leaving only a few hand and foot bones still articulated and unbroken. It would not be possible to duplicate these injuries and disperse the bones as found in this layer by warfare or by accidental falls from a great height, e.g., off the adjacent rampart. Although tornadoes (max winds of ~ 512 km/h or ~ 318 mph) can cause bone breakage, organ damage, and disarticulation (Supporting Information, Text S3), they are exceedingly rare in Jordan or Israel and typically of low intensity. In any event, no known tornado has been shown to burn bones and break them into small fragments.

The most severe known injuries to human bodies result from the impact of airborne high-velocity objects, such as during explosions and tornadoes (Supporting Information, Text S3). In addition, the ground-hugging blast wave from an airburst/impact would be laden with high-velocity missiles, including sand, gravel, pulverized mudbrick, plaster fragments, potsherds, broken branches, and shattered timbers. At tornado-force wind velocities and extremely high ambient temperatures, these missiles would be capable of incinerating/stripping flesh and crushing bones. Current evidence suggests that the human mortality rate at TeH was very high, so that most likely none of the ~ 8000 inhabitants survived.

Based on the distribution of human bones on the upper and lower tall, we propose that the force of a high-temperature, debris-laden, high-velocity blast wave from an airburst/impact (i) incinerated and flayed their exposed flesh, (ii) decapitated and dismembered some individuals, (iii) shattered many bones into mostly cm-sized fragments, (iv) scattered their bones across several meters, (v) buried the bones in the destruction layer, and (vi) charred or disintegrated any bones that were still exposed.

In summary, although man-made explosives and atomic bombs can account for an extreme range of damage to humans, they can be ruled out because of the age of the site. In addition, warfare, accidents, and tornadoes can be eliminated because they are incapable of causing the observed severe skeletal damage at TeH.

Potential causes of the city destruction

Here, we consider 10 processes that account for some or all of the wide-ranging observations and evidence related to the destruction of Tall el-Hammam and nearby cities/villages. Table 2 lists the potential matches for 17 lines of evidence for each of these possibilities.

Anthropogenic activities
Matches 12 of 17 lines of evidence.

Normal city fires/wildfires
Matches 8 of 17 lines.

Matches 7 of 17.

Matches 5 of 17.

Crater-forming cosmic impact
Matches 17 of 17.

Cosmic airburst
Also matches 17 of 17 lines of evidence. Overall, one or multiple Tunguska-sized airbursts by a comet or meteorite seems most likely to account for the wide-ranging suite of observed evidence for the destruction of TeH (Table 3). In the future, it would be useful to search for proxies across the Jordan Valley at various distances from TeH. Any discernible pattern would help locate ground zero, where proxy concentrations would be the largest. We know from archeological evidence that 16 cities/towns and > 100 villages across the southern Jordan Valley were abandoned at this time, but not whether their walls were destroyed or if high-temperature, high-pressure proxies are present at those sites.

"Les hommes seront toujours fous; et ceux qui croient les guérir sont les plus fous de la bande." - Voltaire

Johanes Offline

Beiträge: 2.409

24.09.2021 16:20
#3 RE: Tell el-Hammam, 1650 v.Chr. Antworten

Zitat von Ulrich Elkmann im Beitrag #2
Ich muß mich entschuldigen. Es fällt mir erst jetzt auf, daß ich beim Einstellen verrutscht bin; die leidige Gewohnheit. "Eigentlich" gehört das in die Rubrik "Andere Themen," da hier ja (noch) kein Blogbeitrag vorliegt.

Wieso eigentlich? Ein Blogeintrag dazu wäre eine Zirde.

Stand 23.06.: Dem BMWi fällt auf, dass der Strombedarf nicht bis 2030 konstant bleibt.
26.07.2021 DIW PLANT starken Nachfragerückgang bei Energie. to be continued

Ulrich Elkmann Offline

Beiträge: 13.546

24.09.2021 17:08
#4 RE: Tell el-Hammam, 1650 v.Chr. Antworten

Ich wollte es spontan festhalten und weitergeben. Das Paper ist ziemlich lang; ich hab' es auch erst überflogen. Aber es ist der seltene Fall, wo eine wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichung spannender ist als jeder ausgedachte Thriller.

"Les hommes seront toujours fous; et ceux qui croient les guérir sont les plus fous de la bande." - Voltaire


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