The following argument by Bill Schlegel seems coherent to me:
“I believe we will always have problems trying to locate Sodom and Gomorrah. Besides significant geological/geographical changes to the region associated with the divine destruction (Gen. 13:10), the divine destruction probably didn’t leave much (any?) of the cities to be found. The Hebrew for these cities’ destruction is unique (a combination of shachet “destroy” and hafach, “turn upside down”). It is unlikely that any of these tells/ruins in the Rift (north or south) are Sodom or Gomorrah. More likely is that these ruins represent peripheral cities, perhaps one was Zoar, which were spared the divine judgment.
Tall el-Hamman is an interesting dig. There’s no question that this is the region where Israel camped before striking across the Jordan. Tall el-Hamman may be Abel-Shittim (Num. 33:49). But this could be a problem for the excavators—identifying the Iron Age remains at Tall el-Hamman with another Israelite town goes against identifying Tall el-Hamman with Sodom, because it is unlikely that what once was Sodom became the Israelites’ Abel-Shittim.”
So I fear we are entering here a debate like that provoked by Sir Charles Leonard Woolley after identifying a flood-stratum at Ur and claiming it was a vestige of Noah’s Flood.
In my view the Shroud of Turin deserves more credit as trace for the miracle of Resurrection than Tall el-Hamman as trace for Sodom. Nonetheless the discussion about the authenticity of the Shroud is a never ending story (see recent news).
This confirms that we belief on miracles like Resurrection of Christ, destruction of Sodom, or Noah’s Flood because of accounts of eyewitnesses and the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles, and not because these miraculous events left everlasting visible traces.
Paraphrasing Jesus’ words in Luke 16:31 one could add: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced by any trace.”
So we come again to the conclusion formulated in a previous post:
We can agree that there are two possible explanations regarding the Genesis accounts of the Flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah:
Your explanation as “an overly embellished story of a possibly real event”.
My explanation as a miraculous events, which dissolved all sinners on earth (what means the same as all sinners in Noah’s region), respectively all sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah, and didn’t leave other traces in the ordinary world.
If one thinks that Jesus’ and Peter’s teaching refer to a real historic Flood (the same way as one interprets that “Adam was a real Person in History” like @Kathryn_Applegate and myself do) then Explanation 2 will obviously be preferred. If not, one can keep to Explanation 1.
In any case this looks like a noteworthy result of our discussion.