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:''For other meanings of the word '''Jericho''' see: Jericho (disambiguation)''
Jericho (Arabic أريحا Arīḥā; Hebrew alphabet יריחו Standard Hebrew Yəriḥo Tiberian Hebrew Yərîḫô Yərîḥô) is a town in the West Bank near the west bank of the Jordan River

Biblical background

Jericho is mentioned in the Jewish Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) over 70 times Here are some examples:
  • Prior to Moses' death God is described as showing him the Promised Land in the Book of Deuteronomy with Jericho as a point of reference: "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto mount Nebo to the top of Pisgah that is over against Jericho And the Lord showed him all the land even Gilead as far as Dan" (Deuteronomy 34:1) [1]

  • The Book of Joshua describes the famous siege of Jericho when it was circled seven times by the ancient Children of Israel until its walls came tumblimg down [2] after which Joshua cursed the city: "And Joshua charged the people with an oath at that time saying: 'Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up and buildeth this city even Jericho; with the loss of his first-born shall he lay the foundation thereof and with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it'" (Joshua 6:26)

  • The Book of Jeremiah describes the end of the Judean king Zedekiah when he is captured in the area of : "But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and when they had taken him they brought him up to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath and he gave judgment upon him" [3] (Jeremiah 39:5)

Prehistoric times

Three separate settlements have existed at or near the current location for more than 11000 years The location was probably desirable on account of a supply of fresh water and a favorable position on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea

Tell es-Sultan

The earliest settlement was located at the present-day Tell es-Sultan (or Tell Sultan) a couple of kilometers from the current cityArabic tell means "mound" -- consecutive layers of habitation built up a mound over timeas is common for ancient settlements in the Middle East and Anatolia Jericho is the type site of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPN A) and B
The habitation has been classed into several phases:

Natufian

Proto-Neolithic -- construction at the site apparently began before the invention of agriculture with construction of stone Natufian culturestructures beginning earlier than 9000 BC

PPN A

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A 8350 BC to 7370 BC. Sometimes called Sultanien A four hectare settlement surrounded by a stone wall with a stone tower in the centre of one wallRound mud-brick houses Use of domesticated emmer wheat barley and pulses and hunting of wild animals

PPN B

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B 7220 BC to 5850 BC (but 14C-dates are few and early) Expanded range of domesticated plants Possible domestication of sheep Apparent cult involvingthe preservation of human skulls with facial features reconstructed from plaster and eyes set with shells in some cases
After the PPN A settlement-phase there was a settlement hiatus of several centuries then the PPN B settlement was founded on the eroded surface of the tellThe architecture consisted of rectilinear buildings made of mudbricks on stone foundations The mudbricks were loaf-shaped with deep thumb prints to facilitate bounding No building has been excavated in its entirety Normally several rooms cluster around a central courtyard There is one big room (65 x 4 m and 7 x 3 m with internal divisions the rest are small presumably used for storage The rooms have red or pinkish terrazzo-floors made of lime Some impressions of mats made of reeds or rushes have been preserved The courtyards have clay floors
Kathleen Kenyon interpreted one building as a shrine It contained a niche in the wall A chipped pillar of volcanic stone that was found nearby might have fitted into this niche
The dead were buried under the floors or in the rubble fill of abandoned buildings There are several collective burials not all the skeletons are completely articulated which may point to a time of exposure before burial A skull cache contained seven skulls The jaws were removed the face covered with plaster cowries were used for eyes All in all ten skulls were found Modelled skulls were found in Tell Ramad and Beisamoun as well
Other finds:
  • Flints: arrowheads (tanged or side-notched) finely denticulated sickle-blades burins scrapers a few tranchet axes 1% obsidian Ciftlik and green obsidian from unknown source
  • : querns hammerstones a few ground-stone axes made of greenstone Dishes and bowls carved from soft limestone Spindle whorls made of stone and maybe loom weights
  • Bone Tools: Spatulae and drills
  • stylised anthropomorphic plaster figures almost life-size
  • Anthropomorphic and theriomorphic clay figurines
  • shell and malachite beads

Pottery neolithic A and B

Late 4th millennium BC Jericho was occupied during Neolithic 2 and the general character of the remains on the site link it culturally with Neolithic 2 sites in the West Syrian and Middle Euphrates groups There are the rectilinear mud-brick buildings and plaster floors

Bronze age

A walled town continuously occupied until some time between 1580 BC and 1400 BC when it was destroyed
The Biblical account of its destruction is found in the Book of Joshua The bible describes the destruction as having happened as a result of Joshua Moses' successor Unfortunately Moses is generally thought to have lived at around 1300BC and as such critical scholars see a contradiction between history and the biblical text in this area

Tulul Abu el-'Alayiq

A later settlement spanned the Hellenistic New Testament and Islamic periods leaving mounds located at Tulul Abu el-'Alayiq 2 km west of modern er-Riha

Current location

The present city was captured by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967 It was the first city to be handed by Israel to the Palestinian Authority in 1994 in accordance with the Gaza and Agreement]

Archaeology

The first archaeological excavations of the site were made by Charles Warren in 1868 Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzingerexcavated Tell es-Sultan and Tulul Abu el-'Alayiq between 1907-1909 and in 1911 John Garstang excavated between 1930 and 1936Extensive investigations using more modern techniques were made by Kathleen Kenyon between 1952 and 1958

References

  • Digging Up Jericho Kathleen Kenyon (1957)

External link