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Jericho, city, West Bank
Jericho (jĕrˈĭkō) [Heb.,=fragrant, or city of the moon god], Arab. Ariha, town (2003 est. pop. 19,000), West Bank, in the Jordan valley N of the Dead Sea; nearby is the site of the ancient city of Jericho. Jericho is an oasis watered by a number of springs, and the town is surrounded by orchards and intensive market gardening; a large part of the population is engaged in agriculture. Jericho was the first Arab town in the West Bank to become (1994) autonomous under the agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The town saw increasing development after the agreement; a casino opened in 1998, and the nearby Mount of Temptation (the traditional site of Jesus' temptation by Satan) is now accessible by cable car. The economy suffered, however, when Palestinian-Israeli violence again flared beginning in 2000.
According to the biblical book of Joshua, Jericho was captured from the Canaanites by Joshua and was destroyed, an event several times repeated in its history. One of its conquerors was Herod the Great, who sacked and rebuilt it. Later it was taken by the Muslims. Jericho figures prominently in the Bible. Excavations of the mound of Tell es Sultan, the original site, were begun early in the 20th cent. and have revealed the oldest known settlement in the world, dating perhaps from c.8000 B.C. Archaeologists have not found evidence of the town of Joshua; ruins identified as such in the 1930s were latter identified as older. At the nearby site of Herodian Jericho, 2 mi (3.2 km) S of Tell es Sultan, a Hellenistic fortress and the palace of Herod have been excavated. Just north of Jericho are the ruins of Hisham's Palace (mid-8th cent.), noted especially for the extensive floor mosiac in the bath house and for the great hall.
See J. Garstang and J. B. E. Garstang, The Story of Jericho (1948); K. M. Kenyon, Digging Up Jericho (1958) and Excavations at Jericho, Vol. 1 (1960).
Jericho, town, United States
one of the oldest cities in Palestine, situated in what is now Jordan. Its remains are located 22 km northeast of Jerusalem at the modern site of Tell-es-Sultan. Excavations were conducted in 1867, 1907–08, 1930–36, and 1952–56. The oldest settlement on the site of Jericho dates from the prepottery Neolithic period (seventh to sixth millennium B.C.). It had houses made of pisé and mud brick, sanctuaries, and stone fortifications. The population was engaged in farming and stock-raising. Cultic decorated heads modeled in unfired clay over human skulls have been found. In the early Bronze Age (third millennium B.C.), a citylike settlement was located here. Jericho reached its period of highest development during the 18th to the 16th centuries B.C. , when it was surrounded by massive double walls. Tombs with group burials and a rich inventory date from this period. At the end of the second millennium B.C. , Jericho, which was inhabited by the Canaanites, was destroyed by the Israelites who had invaded Palestine. According to Biblical tradition, the walls of the city collapsed at the sound of the conquerors’ trumpets (“the trumpets of Jericho”). In the middle of the ninth century B.C. , Jericho was partially restored. In the Roman period (first century A.D.), the city was reconstructed southwest of ancient Jericho according to the typical Hellenistic-Roman plan. The old city site served as a necropolis.
REFERENCESMasson, V.M. “Dokeramicheskii neolit Ierikhona.” Sovetskaia arkheologiia, 1958, no. 3.
Pritchard, J.B. The Excavation at Herodian Jericho, 1951. New Haven, Conn. , 1958.
Kenyon, K.M. Digging Up Jericho. London, 1957.