beside a perennial spring, the ancient site of Jericho, marked
by a tell or settlement mound, began as a Natufian shrine c9000BC.
Muddy land, watered by the spring, provided excellent conditions
for cereal farming in an otherwise arid environment, and by
8000BC the Jericho settlement had growth to a size of 1.6 hectares.
For greater security, the prosperous farming community built
a stone perimeter wall 3 metres thick, strengthened at one point
by a circular stone tower over 9 metres high, with an internal
new developments in religion are evident, and plastered skulls,
the faces perhaps modelled in the likeness of venerated ancestors,
are found at the site. This economy was based on cultivated
wheat and barley, with domestic sheep and goat finally replacing
gazelle as the dominant meat source in around 7000BC (below
far right). The development of Jericho, adjacent to excellent
arable land, may be contrasted with that of nearby Nahal Oren
(far right). There was very little land suitable for cereal
growing around the latter site, and though it had long been
used by hunters and gatherers it never grew beyond a small group
of huts and in the 7th Millennium BC was finally abandoned.