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Jericho is doubly unique: With its Neolithic settlement dating to 8000 B. E., Jericho lays claim to being the world’s oldest city; located 670 feet below sea level in the great rift valley, it is the world’s lowest city as well.
Jericho’s abundant water supply, favorable climate and geographic location made it a key site in ancient Canaan.
A Neolithic settlement at the site goes back to about 8000 B. E.,* thus giving Jericho the distinction of being the world’s oldest city.
On the seventh day, to the blast of the ram’s horn, the walls came tumbling down.
The Israelites rushed into the city and put it to the torch.
After his redating, Watzinger concluded that Jericho was unoccupied (and therefore obviously unfortified) during the Late Bronze period (c. City IV at Jericho – the city that all scholars agree was violently destroyed – was a fortified enclave, drawn at left.
The city’s outer defenses consisted of a stone revetment wall at the base of the tell that held in place a high, plastered rampart.
Because of its importance in Biblical history, Jericho was the second site in the Holy Land, Jerusalem being the first, to feel the excavators’ picks.
The first documented excavation was undertaken in 18 by the famous British engineer Charles Warren.
Narrowly escaping capture, the spies brought back valuable intelligence collected from Rahab, a harlot who lived within the city wall.
Although the Jordan was in flood at the time the Israelites crossed, the waters were miraculously stopped and the Israelites were able to cross "on dry ground." They then marched around the heavily fortified city daily for seven days.
Garstang excavated a collapsed double city wall on the summit of the tell that he dated to the late-15th to early 14th-century B. Garstang concluded that City IV came to an end about 1400 B. E., based on pottery found in the destruction debris, on scarabs recovered from nearby tombs and on the absence of Mycenaean ware.
He ascribed the destruction to invading Israelites.
But did it really happen as the Bible describes it?