Steven Collins from Trinity Southwestern University in New Mexico, who has led the excavation, says the newly discovered city is ‘monstrous’ compared to others in the area.

Evidence suggests Tall el-Hamaam was thriving on the banks of the river Jordan and was an important trade route. These facts fit the biblical description of Sodom.

Archaeologists believe Tall el- Hamaam was suddenly deserted at some point in time towards the end of the middle Bronze Age.

The lack of inhabitants is suggested by the presence of hardly any artefacts from the Late Bronze Age. ‘What we’ve got on our hands is an important city-state, major city-state that was, for all practical purposes, unknown to scholars before we started our project,’ said Collins.