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Researchers from Uni' Tel Aviv: We found evidence of power struggles surrounding the construction of the first skyscraper in human history in Tel Jericho

In an article in the journal Antiquity, Dr. Ran Barkai and PhD student Roi Liran from the Department of Archeology write that they found evidence that the primal fears of the inhabitants of the ancient village of Jericho were exploited in order to convince them to participate in the great effort of building the first public structure in human history

Jericho Tower during the excavations. Photo courtesy of the British School of Archeology in Jerusalem.
Jericho Tower during the excavations. Photo courtesy of the British School of Archeology in Jerusalem.

One of the mysteries at Tel Jericho, which is considered one of the earliest sites in the world where the transition to agriculture took place (and dates to the Neolithic period, about 11 thousand years ago), is the presence of a tower eight and a half meters high that included a steep staircase about a meter wide and which rose above a wall four meters high and surrounded the city The existence of a tower that required enormous efforts at the time to build it even led to the definition of Jericho as the first city in the world, even though it was a settlement of hunter-gatherers who had not yet engaged in agriculture.

A new study by PhD student Roy Liran and Dr. Ran Barkai from the Department of Archeology in the Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University published in the journal Antiquity sheds light on the mystery of the tower's purpose.

The two point out that this is the first time that humans have erected a huge structure, even before the transition to agriculture and food production, and that is why the Tower of Jericho has received a lot of attention since its discovery. Some researchers have proposed to see the tower and the wall as a system of fortifications and a system to protect against flooding, but these interpretations have been met with many criticisms. Others suggested seeing the tower and the wall as a territorial claim by the ancient inhabitants of Jericho and as a symbol of the wealth and power of the ancient village.

In a previous article from 2008, Barkai and Liran suggested that the tower and wall of Jericho be seen as cosmological markers linking the ancient village of Jericho with the nearby Kartanal Mountain and the setting of the sun on the longest day of the year. This proposal is based on the fact that the axis of the staircase inside the tower was built at an exact angle to the setting of the sun on the longest day of the year behind the highest peak overlooking Jericho, Mount Carantal. "Therefore, we proposed that the tower served as an earthly element that connects the inhabitants of the site with the mountains in their surroundings and with the heavenly element of the sunset."

"In the article that is being published now, we present a new and exciting discovery. This discovery is related to the exact location of the tower on the edge of the village of Jericho and the shadow that covers the site following the setting of the sun on the longest day of the year. Retracing the course of the sunset revealed to us that the shadow of the mountain at sunset on the longest day of the year falls precisely on the tower of Jericho, wraps around the tower and then covers the entire village. "

"We claim, therefore, that the tower was erected in Jericho about 11,000 years ago in reference to the way the shadow of the mountain behind the setting sun covered the village on the longest day of the year. The tower was built in the place where the shadow begins to cover the village and therefore may appeal to the primordial fears of the inhabitants of the site and their cosmological beliefs. "

"We claim in the article that the tower teaches about power struggles at the beginning of the Neolithic period and that a certain person or persons took advantage of the primal fears of the inhabitants of the ancient village of Jericho and convinced them to build the first public structure in human history. It should be remembered that this is the first skyscraper in human history and its construction involved enormous efforts and great work, such as had not been done before by humans. We hypothesize that certain people in the ancient village of Jericho took advantage of the fears of the site's residents and convinced them to join a massive community building effort designed to protect the villagers, but at the same time serve the factory and their political and class goals. The Neolithic Tower of Jericho, then, is the earliest example of manipulation exploiting primal fears and manifesting itself in monumental architecture. From the Neolithic period until today, such a use has been made in monumental construction and in the use of architecture for the purpose of controlling the public and accumulating and strengthening political and social status. "

14 תגובות

  1. "Exploited the fears"? Maybe this is about some kind of democratic decision that was made in the assembly of kibbutz members? Who exactly had an interest in building the tower, and what interest(?), in order for him to "exploit the fears" of other people to harness them to this task?

    Not to mention that the matter of the relationship between the shadow of the mountain and the tower is not entirely clear (after all, it's not that the tower "stopped" the shadow) and could be a completely coincidental matter...

    In my opinion, there is still a possibility that this is a watchtower, which, even if it was not used as an actual fortification, may have been used for a lookout that gave the residents adequate warning time in the event of enemies approaching - and perhaps it was also built to create a threat to enemies who would approach and see that there are many hardworking and strong people living there who have no intention of leaving where they invested their best energy...

    In short, the options are still many and open...

  2. Only yesterday, thanks to the broadcast on Channel 1, I learned of the sensational discovery about the shadow of Carantal and the Jericho Tower on the longest day of the year.
    However, the researchers' interpretation is lacking, and therefore not understood. Primordial fears have always existed and still exist today, but this is not relevant.
    A society of hunter-gatherers can be well managed by observing the moon, which rises at a different time each day and is seen differently each day. An agricultural society must follow a clear solar calendar, in order to know when to sow.
    Therefore, the first transition in history to agricultural life - even partial - required a great effort to calculate the sowing seasons.
    The tower in Jericho - which I have stood over many times and explained that its purpose is unclear - was used as the first calendar in the transition to agricultural life - it was probably also attributed a ritual meaning related to the sun - but the main thing is that it is the earliest evidence of a solar-agricultural calendar.
    Thousands of years later, huge buildings were erected for the same purpose all over the world - from the pyramids in Egypt, the ghost wheel in the Golan, and many other buildings in America and Asia. The solar cult was first and foremost related to the agricultural need for a tablet.
    A detailed explanation for the Hebrew-double calendar I wrote in my book - Remember and Save: Nature and History Meet on Shabbat and the Calendar of Holidays, Alon Shabbat 227, pp. 209-XNUMX.
    The Israelites moved from a nomadic life to an agricultural life - thousands of years after the Tower of Jericho - but in the same area.
    Thanks for the amazing discovery.
    Joel Ben-Nun

  3. Wow, such a structure 11,000 years ago! It's a shame that the hasty conclusions about "manipulation that takes advantage of primal fears" puts the logic factor of the archaeologists in a somewhat worrying light. 

  4. gift:
    Are you talking about another article?
    Where in this article do they talk about the shadow of the tower?

  5. How could it be that the shadow of the tower scared the villagers and made them build the tower - which itself created the shadow? This is an absolutely ridiculous claim

  6. This is another one of the real estate bubbles from the creator of the apartment brokers

  7. I wonder what the people of the 21st century will think of us in 1000 years (the people of the primitive era of electromagnetic wave communication with limited and finite speed in their limited opinion...). post Scriptum. : 11000 years from today it's hard for me to imagine...!

  8. Avraham Cohen - the claim should have no basis beyond knowing the character of the person and the character of organized religions/beliefs - which exist to this very day and use the same means of intimidation. Because who doesn't want "life after death" and who isn't afraid of a punishment that even death doesn't release from..?
    Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. There is nothing in the world that a small and insignificant creature like man can do against the Creator/universe...and...that they will not work on you..!

  9. A. Power struggles have existed since the dawn of time and a hypothesis about the existence of power struggles will always be possible.

    B. As for the claim that "certain people took advantage of the residents' fears in order to convince them to join the construction effort", it has nothing to do with what is found on the ground.

  10. And maybe it's not an exploitation of fears, but the builders and financiers also feared the shadow, and maybe it's not fear, but worship?
    I have nothing against Foucaultian theories, but they should be done wisely, and not based on a pile of stones...

  11. Looks like a facility for religious worship. Probably a temple. The complex of religious feelings, both today and then, includes faith, awe, love and all kinds of other factors that encourage people to go out of their way to build monumental buildings. It is not impossible that "we will exploit the primal fears", but this is not necessarily the only possibility.

  12. Why fears? This article only expresses the feeling of superiority of the writers, over those who lived in the area thousands of years ago. Even then they knew the movements of the heavenly bodies, and if a tower was built, it was probably built for observation purposes. And it is very possible that it was built just like a house is built today: there are those who finance (give money or food) and there are those who make a living by working in construction.

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