Tell es-Sultan

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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Tell es-Sultan (تل السلطان), literally meaning the "Sultan's Hill", also known as Tel Jericho (תל יריחו) or Ancient Jericho, is an archaeological site in the West Bank, north of the centre of Jericho.

Overview

The tell was inhabited from the 10th millennium BCE, and has been called "the oldest town in the world", with many significant archaeological finds; the site is also notable for its role in the history of Levantine archaeology.

The area was first identified as the site of ancient Jericho in modern times by Charles Warren in 1868 CE, on the basis of its proximity to the large spring of Ain es-Sultan (عين سلطان) that had been proposed as the spring of Elisha by Edward Robinson three decades earlier.

Archaeology

circa 8300 BCE

Pre-pottery Neolithic Era Tower
During her excavations, Dame Kenyon found a cylindrical stone tower about 26 feet high and 28 feet in diameter just inside the oldest Jericho walls. The tower, incorporating an internal stairway, has been dated to at least 8000 BCE, making it perhaps the world’s oldest man-made structure. Archaeologists originally thought the tower had defensive or irrigation functions, but recent studies suggest it marked the summer solstice. Whatever its purpose, the Jericho tower remained the tallest man-made structure in the world until about 2650 BCE, when it was surpassed by the stepped pyramid of Djoser in Egypt.

circa 1800-1650 BCE

Middle Bronze II Dwellings in Area A
A major result of the Italian-Palestinian expedition was the discovery of a Middle Bronze II lower city, encompassing the tell on the eastern and southern sides. A group of houses was excavated outside Building A1 and against the Tower, and gave back a large inventory of domestic items and pottery, as well as some interesting finds, such as a calcite alabastron, and a bronze adze.

circa 2450-2350 BCE

Early Bronze IIIB Building in Area B
Immediately inside the inner line of the souther city-wall, a building dating from the Early Bronze IIIB (circa 2450-2350 BCE) was excavated and restored in year 1997-1999. Building B1 included a row of rectangular rooms, parallel to the city-wall: finds suggest they were devoted to food production. It was destroyed by a violent conflagration, as it is testified by its main wall ruinously collapsed around 2350 BCE.

circa 200-300 CE

Roman Era Winepress
The Austro-German archaeological expedition brought to light a plastered floor, a wall and two wine presses possibly belonging to a rural villa erected on the south-eastern slope of the tell.

circa 2650-2350 CE

Early Bronze III Dwelling Quarter in Area F
On the northern plateau of the tell, in Area F, a huge portion of an Early Bronze Age IIIA dwelling quarter was excavated; nine domestic units in quite good state of preservation were exposed on the eastern and estern side of the street. Each house was provided with a hearth and various working installations, such as benches, cutting and grinding slabs, pulping platforms and holes. Findings belong to the ordinary domestic assemblage, mainly illustrating food production and preparation.

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See Also

References

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