Jericho – The First City on Earth? – Stunning History Documentary

Was Jericho the first city on Earth? Six thousand years ago, the colossal city of Uruk stood as the world’s largest. It dominated the southern Mesopotamian region of modern-day Iraq with a population of at least 50,000. This magnificent city existed within a long line of innovative experiments in human dwellings, dating back to the Stone Age. Five thousand years before Uruk, smaller yet equally impressive settlements began to emerge in this part of the world.

They could all lay claim to being the first city on Earth. But Jericho, one of these early settlements, holds a special place due to its links to the biblical walls of the Old Testament, showcasing the earliest evidence of static communal living in history.

The discovery of the site was groundbreaking. It revealed a history of astonishing achievements in early built environments. They included the domestication of animals and the implementation of agriculture on a wide scale. And it set the stage for the development of human societies.

Key Takeaways

  • Uruk was a colossal city in ancient Mesopotamia that significantly impacted the development of human settlements.
  • Jericho, an early contender for the first city on earth, predated Uruk. And it showcased the first example of static communal living and other achievements in human history.
  • Archaeological investigations into Jericho, led by Kathleen Kenyon, helped unlock valuable insights into the evolution of early human settlements.

The First Cities on Earth and Uruk

The history of the first cities is a fascinating tale that traces back to the Stone Age. One particularly prominent example is the colossal city of Uruk, situated in the southern Mesopotamian plains of modern-day Iraq. A population of at least 50,000 made Uruk by far the largest city in the world around 6000 years ago. Remarkably, its size and population would not be surpassed for another 3,000 years.

Uruk’s Mud Brick Wall

Uruk is also known for its legendary mud brick wall. It is believed to have been erected by the great hero King Gilgamesh himself. This massive structure enclosed an impressive six-kilometre radius, showcasing the grandeur of the city. Surprisingly, Uruk was not an isolated phenomenon. It was the latest and most successful city in a line of similar settlements that date back over 5,000 years.

Static Communal living

In this region of the world, other smaller yet equally impressive settlements started to coalesce and form. These were the first known examples of static communal living. They were the first cities on Earth, and one of the most well-known settlements among these early cities is Jericho.

First City with Walls

Jericho has been called a place of firsts, boasting the distinction of being the earliest known settlement with walls. The discovery of its walls, dated back five thousand years before the city of Uruk. And it marked the first significant evidence of cooperation between larger groups and large-scale communal labour. It was also the site where, for the first time in history, humans achieved astonishing results. The domestication of animals and the experimentation with agriculture on a larger scale being two of them.

Unique features

Unlike Uruk, which relied on fragile ecological resources and changing river courses, Jericho had an uninterrupted water supply. The spring in Jericho has never dried up, and people continue to live there today with natural water. Jericho predates the development of writing and even pottery by thousands of years. Despite these limitations, the inhabitants of Jericho joined together around 11,000 years ago to accomplish incredible feats in that era.

Jericho: The First City on Earth?

Jericho, located in the modern-day region of the West Bank, has a long and fascinating history. It dates back 11,000 years, a few centuries after the end of the last ice age. This period saw woolly mammoths walking the Earth with humans gradually adapting to a changing climate and learning new ways to live. And apart from being one of the oldest cities on earth it boasts numerous firsts in human civilisation.

Archaeological evidence suggests Jericho has been continuously inhabited for over 10,000 years. Located in present-day Palestine, the Bronze Age city is famous for its ancient city walls and the Biblical story of the fall of Jericho.

Eternal Spring

The city of Jericho is built around a seemingly eternal spring, which has facilitated continuous inhabitation to date. It was at Jericho where some of the earliest evidence of cooperation between groups larger than a single clan or kinship could be found. Also found were the first significant examples of large-scale communal labour.

First Tower, Architecture, and Astonishing Facts.

Notably, Jericho is the first known settlement in history to be surrounded by walls. Archaeological discoveries at the site uncovered what might be the world’s first tower. Complete with walls and steps, it was built roughly 10,000 years ago. At the time, pottery and writing had yet to be developed. But the inhabitants of the ancient settlement still managed to achieve astonishing architectural feats.

British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon was among the experts who excavated Jericho between 1951 and 1958. She uncovered the historical significance of the site. And her work revealed that habitation at the site spanned an astonishing 8,000 years. A period longer than previously thought, from around 9,400 BC to 1580 BC.

Jericho’s location at an oasis in an area known as the Fertile Crescent, allowed it to thrive even during the most challenging times of human history. Today, the modern city of Jericho remains a significant part of the human story. It reminds us of the power of cultural resilience and adaptation over time.

Evolution of Archaeology

The history of archaeology has seen a shift in methodologies and techniques. In earlier times, archaeological practices were less meticulous, often resulting in damage and loss of valuable information. Heinrich Schliemann, for instance, was known for his careless methods of bulldozing through ancient cities in search of information, with little regard for preservation.

However, the rise of a new generation of scholars brought about a renaissance in the field. These scholars, such as Flinders Petrie, sought to employ more scientific methods in their research and excavations. This led to the development of techniques like stratigraphic excavation.

It involved carefully noting soil layers to accurately date layers of habitation and create an accurate sequence of events. Radiocarbon dating further revolutionised archaeology. This meant researchers were able to determine the age of their findings with greater precision.

These discoveries, in turn, helped to shed light on the origins of human civilisation, particularly in the Fertile Crescent. The development of agriculture and domestication of animals in these regions laid the foundation for the growth of the first human settlements and cities.

In conclusion, the evolution of archaeology has been marked by a shift towards more rigorous and scientific methodologies. This has allowed researchers to delve deeper into the past and uncover a more accurate view of human history.

Kathleen Kenyon’s Investigations

Kathleen Kenyon, a student of Sir Mortimer Wheeler and the daughter of the British Museum’s director, was part of a new wave of archaeologists. During the 1950s, she was called to excavate the ancient city of Jericho. While there, her meticulous methods played a critical role in uncovering the site’s history.

Using stratigraphic excavation techniques, which involved carefully noting soil layers to date layers of habitation, she was able to uncover a wealth of previously unknown information about the site. Kenyon’s findings at Jericho challenged earlier findings by John Garstang. He had claimed a connection between the site and the biblical walls of Jericho.

Kenyon’s work, however, suggested that the site was much older than previously thought. And she found evidence of habitation dating back as far as 9,400 BC.

Her team discovered that habitation at the Jericho site had spanned 8,000 years, from around 9,400 to 1,580 BC. Although the end date was later amended to around 1,400 BC and remains debated by scholars, the overall implications of Kenyon’s findings were profound. Contrary to earlier beliefs, Jericho was inhabited much earlier than previously thought, dating back to the Neolithic period.

Perhaps the most iconic discovery made by Kenyon was the tower that was built around 10,000 years ago. At the time, this was the earliest known tower in human history. It marked a significant milestone in the development of early urban civilisations.

During the course of her investigations, Kenyon also re-evaluated the conclusions of fellow British archaeologist John Garstang. He had initially identified the walls of Jericho as those described in the Old Testament, linking the site to the biblical story of Joshua and the Israelites. However, Kenyon found insufficient evidence to support this claim, illustrating the importance of thorough and accurate archaeological research.

In conclusion, Kathleen Kenyon’s investigations at Jericho provided invaluable insights into the early development of human civilisation. Her findings not only gave new understandings of the site’s history but also demonstrated the importance of careful excavation methods in uncovering the secrets of our past.

Findings from Jericho

The archaeological site of Jericho, located in modern-day Palestine, has revealed some astounding insights and important discoveries. Over the years, numerous excavations have been conducted and several significant findings have emerged. One of the most remarkable aspects of Jericho is its age; with evidence of habitation dating back to around 9,500 BC, Jericho is believed to be one of the oldest cities on Earth.

Among the many structures unearthed at the site is the Neolithic Tower, built approximately 10,000 years ago. At the time of its discovery, this tower was considered the earliest known structure of its kind. It is notable as evidence of cooperation between large groups of people and large-scale communal labour, despite the absence of writing or pottery at the time. The tower, complete with walls and steps, is a testament to the capabilities of Jericho’s ancient inhabitants.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Jericho is the continuous settlement in the area, due to the presence of a spring ensuring a constant supply of water. This availability of water even in an otherwise harsh landscape, along with the geographically strategic location of Jericho, has allowed people to inhabit this area throughout history. As a result, Jericho remains one of the few ancient cities where people still reside to this day.

In conclusion, the findings from Jericho have shed light on the origins of human settlements, agriculture, and cooperation among large groups. These discoveries allow us to understand the development of human society and the roots of urbanisation, providing a valuable perspective on the evolution of our own modern cities.

Neolithic Tower

The Neolithic Tower discovered at Jericho was built around 10,000 years ago, making it the earliest known tower on earth at the time. Constructed during a significant period of human development, bands of people, often referred to as affluent hunter-gatherers, had begun to settle in different regions with abundant resources, such as the Fertile Crescent.

Approximately 9500 BC, these groups started to establish themselves near natural springs, oasis, and rivers, initiating a new era of human cohabitation. Benefiting from the unique grasses and seeds in the area, which could be cultivated and replanted, these communities had access to a sustainable food source for generations to come.

At the beginning of this settlement process, people were still semi-nomadic. However, as the wild grasses were gradually cultivated, these communities transformed into a more permanent lifestyle. The discovery of the Neolithic Tower in Jericho highlights the achievements of these early communities, which were able to construct monumental structures even before the invention of pottery or writing systems. The tower, complete with walls and steps, showcases the first significant evidence of large-scale communal labour.

The remarkable feature of Jericho is its continuous spring, which has never dried up. Given its location, people still live in the area today, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Neolithic Tower serves as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of these early humans, who were able to adapt and thrive in a time of significant global climate change.

Glimpse into Prehistory

Thousands of years ago, long before the colossal city of Uruk dominated the southern Mesopotamian plains of modern-day Iraq, a series of smaller yet equally significant settlements emerged in the region. These very first examples of static communal living date back to the Stone Age, more than 5,000 years before the founding of Uruk. Among these pioneering settlements, Jericho stands out as a place of many firsts.

Although the exact origins and ethnicity of early settlers remain unknown, their accomplishments provide vital clues to the development of human society. One of Jericho’s most fascinating aspects is its sustainability. Unlike other ancient sites such as Uruk, which faced ecological fragility and shifting river courses, the eternal spring has ensured the settlement’s continuity to this day.

Excavations at Jericho, particularly those led by archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, have uncovered layers revealing the site’s habitation for an impressive eight thousand years, from around 9,400 to 1,580 BC. Unearthed historical remains such as the tower reaffirm Jericho’s crucial role in shaping human development.

Summing up

The colossal city of Uruk dominated the southern Mesopotamian plains of modern-day Iraq around six thousand years ago. It had a population of at least 50,000 people and wouldn’t be surpassed in size or numbers for 3,000 years. Uruk was the legendary homeland of Gilgamesh, enclosed by an impressive six-kilometre mud brick wall. Even though it played a pivotal role in the region, Uruk wasn’t the first remarkable settlement in the area.

More than 5,000 years before the founding of Uruk, smaller yet equally impressive settlements started to form in the Fertile Crescent. These settlements were the first known examples of static communal living in human history and can be considered the first cities on Earth. Jericho – one of the most well-known of these early settlements – is particularly fascinating due to its often cited links to the biblical walls of Jericho from the Old Testament. It could well have been the first city on earth, but there appears to be nothing definitive to confirm that.

Around five thousand years before Uruk, Jericho boasted the first known settlement in history to be surrounded by walls. This impressive feat showcased early evidence of cooperation between large groups, beyond individual clans or kinships. It was also the site of the first significant evidence of large-scale communal labour and the first tower with walls and steps in history.

At the time, writing hadn’t yet developed, and pottery wasn’t in existence. Despite these limitations, people from different places and walks of life came together to create something astonishing. Researchers believe that Jericho could be one of the first places on Earth where animals were domesticated, and agriculture was experimented with on a broader scale.

Jericho’s spring has never dried up, meaning that people still live in the area today. The settlement, dating back 11,000 years before the present, came into existence just a few centuries after the end of the last ice age when woolly mammoths still roamed the Earth. Today, Jericho remains an enduring testament to human ingenuity and adaptation, having survived and thrived for millennia since its founding.

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