History and Archaeology of Jericho



By the Editors of the Madain Project

Jericho, Arabic Arīḥā (أريحا), town located in the West Bank. Located in the Judean Desert, Jericho is known as the “City of Palms” because of its lush landscape, watered by underground springs. Jericho is one of the earliest continuous settlements in the world, dating perhaps from about 9000 BCE. Archaeological excavations have demonstrated Jericho’s lengthy history.

Traces have been found of visits of Mesolithic hunters, carbon-dated to about 9000 BCE, and of a long period of settlement by their descendants. The size of this settlement justifies the use of the term town and suggests a population of some 2,000–3,000 persons. Jericho is famous in biblical history as the first town attacked by the Israelites under Joshua after they crossed the Jordan River (Joshua 6). A particularly important remnant from Umayyad rule is the remains of the Khirbat al-Mafjar, a remarkable 8th-century building complex situated in the Wadi Al-Nuwayʿima, some 3 miles (5 km) north of Jericho.

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Featured Article Tower of Jericho

The tower of Jericho is an architectural megalith dating roughly to 8300 BCE (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Era), a time belonging to the Near East early Neolithic era, making it by far the oldest known monumental building. Ever since it was discovered there has been an unresolved debate for archaeologists and the general public alike regarding its function and purpose. The main three theories regarding the tower's purpose are that it may be part of a fortification system, that it is a part of a flood-deflection system, or that it is some sort of symbolic monument.

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