From Academic Kids

For other meanings of the word Jericho, see: Jericho (disambiguation)

Jericho (Arabic أريحا ʼArīḥā; Hebrew יְרִיחוֹ, Standard Hebrew Yəriḥo, Tiberian Hebrew Yərḫ, Yərḥ) is a town in the West Bank, near the west bank of the Jordan River. Jericho has a population of approximately 19,000. [1] (


Prehistoric times

Three separate settlements have existed at or near the current location for more than 11,000 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 city. In Arabic, tell means "mound" -- consecutive layers of habitation built up a mound over time, as 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:


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


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 wall. Round mud-brick houses. Use of domesticated emmer wheat, barley and pulses and hunting of wild animals.


Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, 7220 BC to 5850 BC (but carbon-14-dates are few and early). Expanded range of domesticated plants. Possible domestication of sheep. Apparent cult involving the 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 tell. The 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 (6.5 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.
  • ground stone: 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

During the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1550-1150 BC) Jericho with the rest of the cities of Canaan was a vassal of the Egyptian empire. Many of the Canaan cities were destroyed during 13th century BC, and such traces have been found in Jericho by 3 different excavations. There are also archaeological signs of a wall around the city with a stone outer revetment but primarily built of mud brick. The exact sequence and dating of these remains is difficult and highly debated. Kathleen Kenyon noted 15 different destructive episodes in the Bronze Age remains.

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. Moses is generally thought to have lived at around 1300 BC. Biblical researchers who use Scripture to date the exodus to the 13th century BC see this as significant support for the veracity of the record, and a landmark in the Biblical archaeology corpus. Other scholars see a contradiction between history and the biblical text in this area.

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). [2] (
Missing image
The walls of Jericho crumble as the priest blows his horn in this illustration from a 14th century Icelandic manuscript.
  • 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 tumbling down [3] (, 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 Jericho: "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 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he gave judgment upon him." [4] ( (Jeremiah 39:5).

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.

Recent history

The present city was captured by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. It was the first city handed over to Palestinian Authority control in 1994, in accordance with the Gaza and Jericho Agreement. After a period of Israeli reoccupation, it was returned to the Palestinian Authority on 16 March 2005.

In 1998, a large hotel/casino was opened in Jericho. For a few years it attracted many Israeli gamblers and was the largest private employer in the West Bank. It is now closed due to the Al-Aqsa Intifada, but the empty high-rise remains as a prominent landmark.


The first archaeological excavations of the site were made by Charles Warren in 1868. Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger excavated Tell es-Sultan and Tulul Abu el-'Alayiq between 1907-1909 and in 1911. John Garstang excavated between 1930 and 1936. Extensive investigations using more modern techniques were made by Kathleen Kenyon between 1952 and 1958. Lorenzo Nigro and Nicolo Marchetti conducted a limited excavation in 1997.


External links

bg:Йерихон de:Jericho fa:اریحا fr:Jricho nl:Jericho ja:エリコ pl:Jerycho pt:Jeric fi:Jeriko zh:杰里科


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