Lorenzo Nigro, La Sapienza University
A joint lecture from the PEF/CBRL/BFSA
With more than 10,000 years of superimposed occupations, which have produced a steep mound overlooking a magnificent flourishing oasis, Tell es-Sultan, ancient Jericho, has gained the epithet of the "World’s Oldest City". From the point of view of a field archaeologist, Jericho is a palimpsest of humankind’s steps towards civilization, from the sedentarization of a community of incipient agriculturalist, to the invention of modular architecture (through the introduction of mud-bricks), of pottery, and the beginning of long distance trade.
Formative spiritual or cultural and ideological achievements also occurred in this site: the beginning of religious thinking, testified to by ancestors’ cult; the appearance of a community leader (a chief or a priest), and the rise of the city: a central place with heavy fortifications protecting the material and symbolic wealth of the urban community. This was not a linear process, but a terrible struggle marked by failures, collapses and destructions, where with the tools of archaeology, four expeditions (two of which were led by British archaeologists) have tried to disentangle the thread of history, leaving in the hands of modern Palestinians the physical summary of Human Life and a (still?) living witness of our deepest roots.
4pm, The Clore Centre, The British Museum
The Palestine Exploration Fund, 2 Hinde Mews, Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2AA
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