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Jericho
(December 2, 2004)



Topographic plan of Jericho and nearby places

1. Qumran
2. Iron Age II Fortress
3. Herodian Palace (South)
4. Herodian and Asmonaean Palaces (North)
5. Tell es-Sultan and Elisha’s Fountain
6. Synagogue of Naaran
7. Synagogue of Jericho
8. Kh. al-Mafjar (Hisham Palace)
9. Jebel Qarantal (Temptation Mount)
10. Monastery of Choziba
11. Deir Hajla (St. Gerasimus)
12. Qasr al-Yahud (Prodromos)
13. Nebi Musa (Muslim shrine of Moses’ Tomb)


Israelite Jericho

Iron Age II fortification (Israelite Period) near the southern entrance to Jericho (Cf. 1Re 16,34)

Herodian Jericho

The final section of Wadi el-Kelt where a stream comes down from the Mountain of Benjamin to water the fields of Jericho. On the right, you can see the Herodian aqueduct and the Arab village of Tulul Abu el-Alayiq.

View of the Wadi el-Kelt road towards Tulul Abu el-Alayiq. The ancient Roman road has been in use until the beginning of the 19th century.

To the right: The Crusader structure identified by some of the pilgrims with the house of Bartimaeus, the blind man healed by Jesus (Lk 18:35-43).


The excavation area of Tulul Abu el-Alayiq seen from the west. This is Jericho of the Asmonaeans and of King Herod the Great (2nd cent. to 1st cent. BC). The dig of Herodian Jericho started in 1868 (C. Warren), continued in 1909 and 1911 (E. Sellin, C. Watzinger) upto the years 1950-1951 (J. Kelso, D. Baramki, J. Pritchard). Israeli archaeologists G. Foerster and E. Netzer started again the exploration with great eagerness during the periods 1973-1983 and 1986-1988. Excavation and restoration works are still in progress.

Ruins and foundations of the second Herodian palace. According to E. Netzer, it wasn't a military structure, rather a large laconicum or sweating hall.

Two large basins (m 13x18x3) constructed by Alexander Iannaeus (103-76 BC) to provide the city with a vital water reserve.


In the northern sector, there are many plastered vats and tanks to collect water. The Asmonaeans built a channel to bring here the water from the source of Ayn Duq (Nueima), and Herod the Great made an aqueduct from the source of Ayn el-Kelt.

The Synagogue has been discovered by E. Netzer in 1998; it goes back to the Asmonaean Period (between 104 and 31 BC) and thus becomes the most ancient synagogue found to date in the Holy Land. The hall had 12 columns around the nave with four aisles (m 7,6x12,4). On its sides, there were four series of steps to accommodate about 150 people. There was also a small water-tank (gurna in Hebrew), a tiny niche in the northeastern corner, a miqweh, and two baths on the south side. On its west side, there is the addition of a triclinium for communal meals.

The Northern Herodian Palace. In the foreground, the triclinium (m 7x10) with a floor once decorated with coloured marble tiles. In the background can be seen the exedrae and the opus reticulatum walls.

The laconicum or “sweating hall” in the thermal baths of the Northern Herodian Palace. Under the palm trees of Tulul Abu el-Alayiq to the south of Wadi Kelt, there are ruins of the first Herodian Palace and part of the ancient town of Jericho.

Jericho, Naaran

The fruitful valley of Ain Duq to the northwest of Jericho. The road seen to the right leads to the Synagogue of Naaran.

The Greek-Orthodox monastery of the Temptation or Quarantine (known as Jabal Qarantal) which dominates Jericho from the west. On the north side of the wadi stands the present Monastery (right), while on the ancient monastic cells are foundon the south side of the wadi (left).

Details of the mosaic floor of the Synagogue of Naaran (Ayn Duq), from the Byzantine epoch. Belonging to the Zodiac is the depiction of the Sign of Cancer (left) with the Aramaic inscription: sartan.
Of no lesser fame is the medallion with the menorah and other Jewish symbols found in another synagogue at Jericho, belonging to the same historical period. The Hebrew iscription reads: Peace upon Israel (Ps. 125:5).

Gerico, Tell es-Sultan

General view of Tell es-Sultan, Jericho from the north. The excavations of Jericho (cf. Josh 2 e 6) span more than a century and have been subject to many interpretations: C. Warren (1868); E. Sellin e C. Watzinger (1907-1909); J. Garstang (1930-1936); K.M. Kenyon (1952-1958). From 1997, new digs were conducted by the University “La Sapienza” of Rome by profs. N. Marchetti and L. Nigro.


Tell es-Sultan

1. Main trench of the English archaeologist K. Kenyon with the stone "tower".
2. The source called "Elisha's Fountain".

A-F. Recent excavations by the Italian - Palestinian mission (1997-2000).


The Neolithic tower discovered by K.M. Kenyon (1952-1956) in the West Trench. The function of this structure is still a mistery.

Israelite building (Iron II, 9th cent. BC) outside the Middle Bronze walls (1600 a.C.).

View from the top of Tell es-Sultan. In the foreground can be seen the modern building guarding Elisha’s Fountain (Ayn es-Sultan), while on the background comes into view the flourishing Oasis of Jericho.

Above: view of the source.
To the right: In the modern Jericho (Ariha), one can see a good exemplar of a sycomore tree on which the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, climbed to have a glimpse of Jesus (cf. Lk 19:1-10).


Jericho, Kh. al-Mafjar, Hisham Palace

One beautiful sculptured decoration is displayed in the internal courtyard. The stuccoes and statuettes are kept in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. The Umayyad palace, which was built by Hisham, caliph of Damascus from 724 to 743 AD, was completed by Hisham’s son Walid.


General plan of Kh al-Mafjar

1. Entrance
2. Atrium
3. Sirdab
4. Large and small mosque
5. The large hall of the thermal baths
6. Diwan
7. Sweating Hall
8. Latrines
9. The monumental fountain


Mosaic floor of the diwan of the thermal baths Qasr Hisham. The original excavations were conducted by D.C. Baramki e R.W. Hamilton (1935-1948). In 1997, new soundings and restoration works were implemented by M. Piccirillo.

The furnax of the thermal baths of Qasr Hisham. The main sectors of the caliph’s palace were the thermal baths (a square of m 40), the main mosque (m 17x23), the dwelling places (m 60x65), an external courtyard with a fountain (a square of m 16), and an internal courtyard with access to the thermal baths and the mosque.

Columns and arches of the façade thrown to the ground by the earthquake of 749 AD, responsible for the destruction of Umayyad Jericho.

Access to the Mosaic and restoration School directed by M. Piccirillo.

Click on the photos to enlarge.


External Links

Jericho (Bible Places) with lots of good links as usual

Neolithic Jericho (Study of Religion - University of Illinois)

Jericho - Ariha (The Madaba Mosaic Map)

Campagna di scavi a Gerico - Tell es-Sultan (Missione italo-palestinese)

Jericho and other historical places in its vicinity (jericho-city.org)


 SBF main, Excursions Index



Biblical Excursions

The Holy Land


 I 
Emmaus-Nicopoli
Eqron
Ascalon
Gezer

 II 
Jaffa
Tel Qasileh
Ramleh
Lod

 IIIa 
Maaleh Adummin
Qumran

 IIIb 
Israelite
Jericho
Herodian
Naaran

Tell es-Sultan
Mafjar

 IV 
En Gedi
Masada

Appendix 
Samaria

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Created/updated: Sunday, December 16, 2001 by J. Abela / E. Alliata
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