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 BC 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).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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