The ruins of Jericho (top). Situated in the desert of Judah, near an oasis some 656 feet below sea level, Jericho grew up around a powerful spring. In the seventh millennium the small Neolithic village developed into a thriving city. The flimsy huts were replaced by round houses build of mud bricks, on stone foundations with floors well below the level of the ground outside. The spectacular fortifications were built later: a stone wall five feet thick reaching a height of over sixteen feet was built within a deep trench.

(bottom). Neolithic tower at Jericho (detail). The imposing circular stone tower found within the fortifications still stands some twenty-six feet high. The inner staircase of twenty-eight wide stone slabs leads to the top. At the bottom of the steps a passage leads to a door at the eastern side of the tower.

From The Ancient World by Giovanni Garbini