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Jericho began as a prominent resting place for the Natufian culture's hunter-gatherers around 10000 BCE

BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY

Jericho is one of the world's oldest inhabited cities, going back to more than 10,000 years ago. It is located 10 kilometers northwest of the Dead Sea in the lower Jordan Rift Valley at a depth of 258 meters below sea level, making it the world's lowest city. It also features the world's oldest known defensive wall. Extensive excavations have unearthed even earlier stone structures. The springs located in and around the city were the reason for its early settlements. These springs provide enough water to feed a big population. In this article, we will look at the history of Jericho from its beginnings through the Battle of Jericho which has been mentioned in the Holy Bible.


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Initial Settlement

Jericho began as a prominent resting place for the Natufian culture's hunter-gatherers around 10000 BCE. Year-round living and permanent settlements did not begin in the area until the last Ice Age ended approximately 9600 BCE when the cold and dryness induced by the previous Ice Age came to an end. Tell es-Sultan, located 1.2 miles north of modern-day Jericho, was the first permanent village. It is built atop the Ein as-Sultan spring, which supplies it with water. These circular homes were 16 feet in diameter and made of clay and straw. By around 9400 BCE, the community had expanded to over 70 houses.

Jericho An invading group built a second colony about 7000 BCE, absorbing the earlier occupants into their civilization. It, too, was a Neolithic Pre-Pottery village Photo by Snowscat on Unsplash

The Famous Wall of Jericho

According to archaeological evidence, by 8000 BCE, the site had expanded to 40,000 square meters and was encircled by a stone wall 3.6 meters high and 1.8 meters wide at the base. A stone tower 8.5 meters high and 9 meters wide at the base stood within the wall. The tower featured a 22-step internal staircase. The wall is considered to have been built to defend the town from flooding. The tower was also utilized for ceremonial purposes. This implies that there was some sort of social structure going on in the town. Some historians believe that the tower was built to encourage people to participate in the community way of life. Estimates of the population range from 300 to 3000 people. Wheat, barley, and legumes were domesticated during this period. Irrigation was most likely created to offer an adequate area for the production of these crops.

The Second Settlement

The initial civilization was abandoned after a few centuries. An invading group built a second colony about 7000 BCE, absorbing the earlier occupants into their civilization. It, too, was a Neolithic Pre-Pottery village. At this period, there is evidence that sheep may have been domesticated. Buildings were rectilinear mudbrick constructions. Each structure was made up of multiple rooms arranged around a central courtyard. The apartments had lime terrazzo flooring, whereas the courtyard had a clay surface. Other innovations include flints shaped like arrowheads, sickle blades, scrapers, and axes. The most notable characteristic of this civilization was that they preserved the heads of departed relatives by plastering the skulls and painting the person's features on them.

Jericho New communities had then been occasionally building Jericho Photo by nour tayeh on Unsplash

The Fall of Jericho

New communities had then been occasionally building Jericho. These towns were Neolithic at the time, but there is evidence that they were manufacturing pottery. It was re-walled around the end of the fourth millennium BCE. The evidence suggests that the walls have been rebuilt several times. The Amorites built the biggest of these towns about 2600 BCE. There was another interruption in the occupancy of the site about 2300 BCE. It was conquered by the Canaanites around 1900 BCE and rose to prominence between 1700 and 1550 BCE. This was because of the emergence in the Mitannite region of the nobles who used chariots called the Maryannu. Their growth has led to further urban development in the vicinity, notably Jericho. By that time, in a double enclosure built of mud-brick were two walls encircling the town. On top of a stone, the base was the outer wall. They were not stable, but of an amazing height. Age of Bronze During an earthquake, Jericho collapsed in the 16th century in 1573 B.C. Found at the site, Charred wood indicates that the city ruins were destroyed. It was uninhabited when reconstructed until the end of the 10th century or the beginning of the 9th century BCE.

The Battle of Jericho

According to the Bible, approximately 1400 BCE, after crossing the Jordan River and entering Canaan, Jericho was the first city to be assaulted by the Israelites. When Israel rode it for 7 days, bearing the Covenant Ark, the Wall of Jericho was demolished. On the seventh day, Joshua ordered his people to blast their rams' trumpets and to cry out on the walls until they collapsed. Excavations on the site indicate a network of walls that have crumbled since the end of the 17th or the beginning of the 16th century BCE. An earthquake was the most probable cause of the collapse. The subsequent earthquake devastation descriptions correspond to the Bible descriptions of the collapsed walls. It also shows that, from the late 15th to approximately 10th century AD, Jericho was uninhabited. Non-biblical scholars think now that the tale of the Bible is a metaphor. The narrative was written in 722 BCE, long after that, and utilized by the Kingdom of Israel to claim the region. Whereas biblical scholars refer to the walls destroyed 175 years earlier as evidence that the Bible's account is genuine. They say that the dating is faulty and that the earthquake was God's recompense for following the orders of the Israelites. The Bible says that Jericho remained abandoned until in the 9th century BCE Hiel the Bethelite was founded.


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