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Gobekli Tepe, Tell Qaramel, Tell Es-Sultan: Why is Gobekli Tepe a 6 th millennium BC site, and Evolution of Early Neolithic Architecture

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The paper is a continuation of a trilogy of papers by the author on the subject of dating Gobekli Tepe. In this paper, two additional sites and some of their monuments are analyzed: Tell Qaramel and Tell Es-Sultan. They provide, along with some more evidence on the c-14 readings and structure B from Gobekli Tepe and with a more detailed examination of the Temple at Nevali Cori additional documentation and evidence as to why Gobekli Tepe is a 6th millennium BC site. In doing so, the author presents a Theory of Evolution of Early Neolithic Architecture. A new view of the burial phases of Gobekli Tepe is presented, that offers the possibility to re-examine the entire construction and burial historiography of the site.
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Gobekli Tepe, Tell Qaramel, Tell Es-Sultan:
Why is Gobekli Tepe a 6th millennium BC site, and
Evolution of Early Neolithic Architecture
Dimitrios S. Dendrinos
Emeritus Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Design, University
of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
In Residence at Ormond Beach, Florida, USA.
August 3, 2017
Gobekli Tepe excavation site’s aerial view. Source of photo: [2.1]
Table of Contents
Tell Qaramel, Tell Es-Sultan (Jericho) and Gobekli Tepe
Their Architecture, Engineering, Physical and Human Geography Contexts
PART 1. Tell Qaramel: the first citadel of the first socio-economic elite to date
PART 2. Tell Es-Sultan (the ancient Jericho): another citadel of a ruling elite as well
Gobekli Tepe C-14 Related Evidence: Contaminated and Largely Irrelevant
Gobekli Tepe Architecture Related Evidence: Post Temple Phase Nevali Cori
Gobekli Tepe’s Burial: Bronze Age and in Two Phases
Legal Notice
The Tell Qaramel excavation site, ground view from the South. Source of photo:
ref. [2.3]
This is a sequel to the paper by the author in ref. [1.1]. It expands the analysis summarized there
by incorporating information from two other archeological sites, namely Tell Qaramel in North-
East present-day Syria, and Tell Es-Sultan (the ancient city of Jericho) at the West Bank of River
Jordan. In addition, by incorporating also additional material made available to the public by the
archeological team in charge of the excavation at Gobekli Tepe, the arguments expressed by the
author in [1.1] are further elaborated upon and strengthened. The outline of an Early Neolithic
Architecture and its Evolution over possibly seven millennia (from the 12th to the 6th millennium
BC) is set. It leaves little doubt that on the basis of the preponderance of archeological evidence
available to date, the large in scale and sophisticated in both Architecture, Engineering as well as
Art monolithic megalithic monument at Gobekli Tepe, specifically Layers III involving the
structures C and D their stone enclosures, and their limestone megalithic monoliths’ Architecture
and complex Art are middle to late 6th millennium BC construction with a Bronze Age burial.
Corroborative evidence to the effect that Gobekli Tepe is a 6th millennium BC large-in-scale
limestone monolithic megalithic monumental site and the outcome of large-in-scale quarrying
unencountered in Epipaleolithic, Natufian and Sultanian Architectures and mining traditions is
offered by examining in some detail the monuments at Tell Qaramel’s 12th down to early 9th
millennium BC phases, and the earliest phase of construction at Tell Es-Sultan (the ancient city of
Jericho) with the 12th to 7th millennium BC found therein structures. A close look is taken also
into the Architecture and Engineering of the structure referred to as the “tower of Jericho”, and
some questions are raised in its conventional dating. The Tell Qaramel and Tell Es-Sultan settings
do contain masonry construction, but not of the monolithic megalithic type, certainly nowhere
near the scale and sophistication of the monolithic megalithic construction seen at Gobekli Tepe.
Physical structures at Tell Qaramel and Tell Es-Sultan are viewed as the residential quarters of
their respective site’s social elites, the Tells acting as their “citadels”. The then Human Geography
contexts of these settings is analyzed, and the formation of an archetypal social structure at Tell
Qaramel is laid out. In that framework, the “citadels”, “fortifications” and “towers” encountered
in these two sites (Tell Qaramel and tell Es-Sultan) are interpreted and their Architectures
framed. The broader site plans of these two settlements are also examined, as are their linkages
to neighboring sites. Their Human Geography is analyzed within a spatial and evolving
hierarchically interacting network of human settlements.
On the road to dating Gobekli Tepe (an archeological site delineated by the archeological team
to be close to 120 Ha, that is 120,000 sq. meters, see ([1.1] for more on this topic) and through a
comparative analysis of the smaller in scale Tell Qaramel (a site estimated by the archeologists
to extend to about 40 Ha) and the also quite smaller in scale than Gobekli Tepe but slightly larger
in-scale than Tell Qaramel, the about 45 Ha Tell Es-Sultan, a rough outline of an Evolutionary
schema in Early Neolithic Architecture is uncovered. Notwithstanding the necessarily gross
approximations in dating structures of that extensive, substantial, and expansive time period,
where at times the range in dating a structure might be about 10% to 15% of the estimate’s lower
bound (the older a structure, the greater the range thus the uncertainty), and the daunting task
of a comparative analysis of Architectures spanning about seven millennia (from the 12th down
to the 6th millennium BC), the outline of “an Evolutionary Theory of Early Neolithic Architecture”
and its developmental path seems to clearly emerge.
In the framework of this “Evolutionary Theory of Neolithic Architecture” processes qualitatively
similar to Biological Evolution can be found. Not quite similar to “biological clocks”, there are
“architectural clocks” but with differing speeds. A casual look at the architectural morphologies
of the last two millennia makes the point; Constantinople of 1000 AD was very different than
Istnbul of 2000 AD, and so were/are their rates of change. By analyzing the 12th millennium BC
pre-Natufian Architecture of Tell Qaramel, down to the 6th millennium BC Architecture of Gobekli
Tepe, one can derive “speeds of change” in architectonic form and function. Speeds of
evolutionary change were of course much slower in the 9th to 8th millennium BC than the 1st to
the 2nd millennium AD time frame. Such evolutionary paths are naturally tied to changes in both
the environment (Climate and Geology) and the cultures (Economics, Demographics, Sociology)
that built them, changes at times significant, hence serving as time markers that punctuated
these evolutionary paths. Thus, this study can be construed as a first attempt towards
establishing the backbones and foundation of a millennia in time scale Evolutionary Theory of
Architecture. We may not yet be close to a formal phylogenetic and taxonomic classification of
Architecture types and the sub-categories, but some benchmark time markers can be and are set
here. In so doing, we are confronting the currently suggested, and resetting somewhat, dating
associated with specific monuments of two key monumental sites, Gobekli Tepe and Jericho.
A region of the Levant in early 12th millennium BC pastoral nomadic Epipaleolithic pre-Younger
Dryas impacted Era, was associated with hunter-gatherers, but also with initial phases of herding
animals and an early animal husbandry and domestication stage in human social preoccupation.
Semi-nomadic life styles emerged, spatially coexisting with, gradually making inroads into the
hunting-gathering based human activity. A primordial social elite was forming as a result of an
increasing socio-spatial interaction at the time of the Epipaleolithic. It led into a quasi-sedentary
living, seasonally housed in humanly constructed masonry edifices. These were the first instances
we encounter of human design in Architecture and Engineering. That construction is depicted by
the 12th millennium BC “tower 01” at Tell Qaramel. At the start of the 11th millennium BC, the
early phases of Natufian Architecture took hold. This primordial Architecture morphology was
shaped by the climatic impacts of the Younger Dryas at the Western leg of the Fertile Crescent at
the Upper Levant. Such living accommodations are surveyed and recorded in the sedentary
middle Natufian 11th millennium BC (circa 10600 BC) Architecture of “tower 0” at Tell Qaramel.
It is an Architecture we encounter also in numerous sites along the Jordan River basin, below sea
level. A mature phase of Natufian Architecture was reached by the middle of the 10th millennium
BC. It was associated with a fully sedentary, agriculture (farming and animal husbandry) based
preoccupation of early farming centered human societies. Within these proto societies, a socio-
economic-cultural elite was forming, and a primordial land tenure system was taking effect. We
detect this societal evolution as taking place in the residential spatial forms and allocation
schemes of the exclusively Natufian Tell Qaramel human settlement site.
A hierarchical social structure’s elite class members were initially residing in modest-in-scale
masonry structures of early Natufian Architecture. Archetypal arc and circular in shape edifices
gradually evolved later into rectangular buildings. Within some dominant and strategically pivotal
structures, the forming of proto palaces and temples, situated within relatively larger-in-scale
settlements seems to have occurred in the Levant. At Tell Qaramel, an evolving hierarchy of
complex masonry based edifices is encountered. This edifice based hierarchy is defined by the
relative size of the masonry structures, their floor plan complexity, their building materials mix,
and their different as well as auxiliary and linked with them neighboring land uses as well as by
the form of a spatially expanding community. Overall, within the entire community at Tell
Qaramel, an increasingly higher quality in construction is evidenced, from the middle 12th to the
early 9th millennium BC Architectures there. The combination of different materials utilized, and
the application of increasingly more efficient building techniques of adaptation to changing
environmental and social conditions is imprinted onto the structures we come across at both Tell
Qaramel and Tell Es-Sultan at that period. In the case of Tell Es-Sultan, we encounter a
transitional stage in Architecture and its evolution into a Sultanian Style, with initial phases in
late 9th millennium BC pre-pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) and down to early pre-pottery Neolithic B
(PPNB) period (from the early 8th to the 7th millennium BC). But maybe most importantly, the
start of a social stratification is detected to have emerged at the earliest phases of the settlement
at Tell Es-Sultan, just as it had occurred a couple of millennia earlier at Tell Qaramel.
Social stratification is detected by the relative location within the broader geographical layout of
an elite social class, a relatively small share of the total community, occupying a strategic spot
within the entire community’s spatial extent, as recorded by the Tell’s various key and durable
structures. Within such differential, location-based, spatial schema the relative comparative
advantages various structures enjoyed can be mapped. Such a complex interplay and network of
structures is the type of consistent spatial and residential arrangements we come across during
the various phases of construction at Tell Qaramel, circa 12th millennium BC, all the way down to
the 7th millennium BC, and the Sultanian construction phases at Tell Es-Sultan from its Natufian
10th millennium BC PPNA down to the 7th millennium BC late PPNB Architecture and site plan.
Hence, what we see is that following the receding impacts from the Younger Dryas, a set of new
Architectures appeared in the Region. The Sultanian phase in architectonic development is of
fundamental import, whereby the Natufian approximately circular (or apse and arc type)
masonry structures, partially but largely built inground, were succeeded by an architectural style
and engineering structure of mass in scale production of rectangular edifices built by the cheaper
and more affordable but efficient modular dry clay, mudbrick, laying on stone foundations, but
largely over ground. This transition was the result of the dry and cold Younger Dryas effects upon
the Region having gradually receded and having ended by the end of the 10th millennium BC along
the entire Fertile Crescent Region. It is the period at Tell Es-Sultan that a modest in scale
megalithic construction is underway, seen in its first Jericho wall, and possibly in the first
monumental “tower” (the Jericho tower) we come across there, although the dating of this tower
will be brought under scrutiny in this study. No matter the specific dating of the Jericho tower,
this is the time of major inter and intra-communal social upheavals, dramatic social events that
followed the ending of the large in-scale climatic event and impacts of the Younger Dryas. As
gradual receding of the climatic impacts moved North, the mudbrick structures rectangular in
form Sultanian Architecture style of Tell Es-Sultan propagated North as well, to the early 8th
millennium BC phases of Catalhoyuk and eventually diffused to the last (early 6th millennium BC)
advanced rectangular Temple phase (which also entailed some modest monolithic megalithic
construction) at Nevali Cori. Later, it found its way to the rectangular monolithic megalithic
structure at Gobekli Tepe. But the bulk of Gobekli Tepe’s early Architecture was the Tell Qaramel,
Upper Mesopotamian, and River Jordan Valley Natufian style Architecture of approximately
circular stone enclosures, although the design of these enclosures was far more complex now.
The Sultanian type Architecture had a modest impact on Gobekli Tepe. About half of a millennium
down the road, under a combination and evolution of the Sultanian Nevali Cori and Natufian Jerf
el-Ahmar Architectures, see ref. [1.1], coupled with the ability to quarry large scale monoliths in
the Chalcolithic, the monumental large-in-scale, sophisticated monolithic megalithic Architecture
we find at Gobekli Tepe’s middle to late 6th millennium BC enclosures emerged out of significant
advances in Natufian Architecture. It involved T-shaped orthostats and pillars of extraordinary
sizes, Engineering and architectonic dressing as well as complex Art. Gobekli Tepe was the
pinnacle of Levant Architecture, igniting and launching the truly monolithic megalithic Neolithic
Architecture movement in Western Eurasia. Some roots of that monumental Architecture we
also find at the staircase of the Jericho tower passage, and its lintels.
The eventual architectural spark from the monolithic megaliths and stone enclosure shapes and
Engineering impacts of Gobekli Tepe (here viewed as a middle to late 6th millennium BC initial
phase of construction monument with a Bronze Age burial) along with the construction
Architecture and Engineering of the Jericho tower and its stairway passage covered by lintels
were strong, durable and widespread. They propagated onto and radiated into a much larger
Region breaking away from the narrow confines of Upper Mesopotamia. The Gobekli Tepe and
Jericho tower impact Region included to the West and North of the entire Mediterranean Basin
(reaching Malta and Sardinia), all of Continental Europe (from the Iberian Peninsula to Brittany),
well into the British Isles. Of course, they impacted the whole of the Fertile Crescent and Lower
Mesopotamia, as well as Northeastern Africa and Egypt to the South. It is impossible to
underestimate the Gobekli Tepe Architectonic influences on menhirs and monoliths, at the end
of the 6th millennium BC, as it is impossible to underestimate the impact of the Jericho tower
Architecture and Engineering over the dolmens and passage tombs of Eurasia. In this paper, we
also provide a more comprehensive and revised narrative on the tower of Jericho’s chronology.
Gobekli Tepe was a setting supported by and in turn serviced (in multiple ways) an association of
regional settings in Upper Mesopotamia and South-East Asia Minor. Its and their collective rise
occurred just a millennium past the beginning of the Chalcolithic period (an era commencing circa
6300 BC) and outlasted all contemporary phases of the Ubaid period in Lower Mesopotamia (a
period stretching from circa 6500 BC that lasted till about 3800 BC). Gobekli Tepe’s monolithic
megalithic monumental Architecture and Art flourished over the ensued two plus millennia (from
about 5000 to c 3000 - 2500 BC) and dominated the numerous settings of Upper Mesopotamia.
It is certainly notable that Gobekli Tepe coexisted with the early phases of the Eridu period of
Uruk (circa 5000 BC) till its Uruk’s Eanna District period (circa 3000 BC). We encounter its
Architecture and Art influences down to the 2nd millennium BC Palace phases of Uruk, see [1.1]
for more discussion on these issues. With this paper, the analysis of architectonic impacts from
GT is extended and supplemented to include the influences of the Engineering and Architecture
from Jericho’s tower onto the Neolithic monumental Architecture of the entire Eurasia.
Figure W. Standard of Ur, War Panel, circa 2600 BC. Source of photo: ref. [2.54].
Gobekli Tepe and its associated network of communities and geographically linked settings filled
the Upper Mesopotamian power vacuum of the Chalcolithic, the time period where the mining
and use of minerals, namely obsidian and flint, was gradually succeeded by the mining and use
of metals, in this instance copper. Gobekli Tepe was the dominant Western Eurasian setting of
the Chalcolithic period. But as technological advancements and their diffusion propelled Gobekli
Tepe’s ascent, they also brought about its eventual demise. The tin of the British Isles, and the
copper of the Mediterranean basin brought about the Era of Bronze, and with it the end of
Gobekli Tepe and its burial phase. The approximately two and one-half millennia long life of
Gobekli Tepe’ Upper Mesopotamian dominance and its closely associated settings’ prosperity
unsuccessfully met the dawn of the Bronze Age. Gobekli Tepe’s influence was swept away by the
gale force winds of the rising Southern Mesopotamian powers and by the new technologies,
economies, societies and cultures that rose during, and especially at the aftermath of the Lower
Mesopotamian’s Ubaid period. The rise or Uruk’s walls at around 2900 BC, a quantum leap in
fortifications from the smaller in scale original masonry Neolithic wall to a Bronze Age large in
scale Sultanian type wall at Tell Es-Sultan, and most importantly the spectacular ascent to
prominence, dominance and power of Ur, through its civil bureaucracy, large in scale armies, but
perhaps most importantly its cuneiform writing, are indicative of a host of factors which
combined and spelled Gobekli Tepe’s demise. Ur dominated the associated plethora of Lower
Mesopotamian settings by force. Gobekli Tepe had dominated its Upper Mesopotamian brethren
by culture. At the end, by 2500 BC, Gobekli Tepe existed no more. Burial of the monument at
Gobekli Tepe took place in stages, and it was likely initiated at the beginning of the Bronze Age,
circa 2700 - 2500 BC. It, very likely, succumbed to large scale social, cultural and technological
upheavals which necessarily must have followed the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze
Age. Although it coincided with the rise in dominance and power of the Lower Mesopotamia, its
influences were stamped onto the Architecture and Engineering of the Eanna District at Uruk.
Evidence seems to suggest that Gobekli Tepe’s burial occurred in at least two distinct phases. An
initial partial burial of the monument was likely malevolent, as it was accompanied by some
destruction of the megaliths at the site. It was succeeded by a second and final, very likely
benevolent, phase burial when the followers of the Gobekli Tepe religious sect or cult tried to
maintain the monument for posterity, through a careful meticulous and complete soil coverage
carried out very likely in stages. But Gobekli Tepe’s influences were powerful, and lingered over
space-time. Some of the Art from Gobekli Tepe we see having migrated to the Uruk Palace
structures of the 2nd millennium BC. The seeds of Gobekli Tepe’s Architecture had both,
considerable temporal longevity as well as spatial diffusion strength and momentum in them.
They spread onto the entire Mediterranean basin and Northwestern Europe. The consequences
were profound in both Architecture and Art, hence in Culture. And so were the consequences
from the innovating Architecture and Engineering found inside the staircase of Jericho’s Tower.
Tell Es-Sultan (the ancient city of Jericho), view from the East. Source of photo: ref.
In a previous paper, see reference [1.1], the author supplied in a summary form and in terms
accessible to the general public (that is, largely without technical jargon or requiring highly
specialized historical, archeological, architectural, engineering, demographic, geographic,
climatic or other knowledge) a set of reasons why the claim that Gobekli Tepe (GT hereon) is a
Pre-Pottery Neolithic of either the earlier (referred to as PPNA) or the later (referred to as PPNB)
Era (roughly covering in total the period 10000 BC to 6800 BC) is erroneous.
The author put forward reasons why this is so in two previous papers, see references [1.2] where
the author argued that Gobekli Tepe is a 6th millennium BC initial construction phase monument;
and [1.3] where the author supplied evidence from various fields and offered a number of
reasons, which he further extended with a number of Human (Economic) Geography based
arguments in [1.1], why the position by the archeological establishment arguing for a PPNA/B
monument at Gobekli Tepe is flawed. This criticism on the interpretation of the C-14 and other
evidentiary material should not be construed as a criticism by this author of the GT archeologists’
capabilities of carrying out an effective archeological excavation, and it is in no way a criticism
on their recording as well as documenting and disseminating the evidence obtained.
In summary, the author argued that the interpretation of C-14 based evidence by the
archeological team in charge of the excavation, at the site currently referred to as “GT” in present
day Turkey, that led them to a PPNA/B conclusion is largely misguided. Furthermore, the author
offered reasons why the GT site is a monument that was constructed very likely during the
Chalcolithic (a period roughly associated with the 6200 BC to the 2500 BC period in Western
Eurasia). Further, it was argued that its construction followed the Temple phase of the Nevali Cori
settlement (of the early 6th millennium BC, which in turn was a stage of construction that possibly
coexisted with the last phases before the abandonment of the settlement at Catalhoyuk, circa
middle of the 6th millennium BC). Moreover, it was asserted that the structures at Gobekli Tepe
were finally buried in stages at the beginning of the Bronze Age (circa 2700 - 2500 BC). Reasons
behind this narrative and its historiography drew from a number of disciplines including Climatic,
Demographic, Human and Physical Geography, Architecture, Engineering, and Art.
The three above-cited papers also questioned the carbon-14 related interpretation of evidence,
on which the archeological team mostly relied in making their case for a PPNA/B GT monument,
by supplying Architecture based evidence pointing to contamination from the fill of plaster
covering GT’s orthostat (#33) in structure D Layer III. In this paper, and in a later section, the same
argument of corrupted carbon-14 evidence is made for the plaster of the interior side wall of the
same structure. All other C-14 based readings were obtained from locations outside all
enclosures. Thus, these samples’ C-14 analysis date the portions of the fill (the soil used to bury
the monumental structures, or even used by the original builders of the stone enclosures to
support the structure’ walls and orthostats, some of it being what is known as “backfill”)
containing the samples, and not the structures themselves.
The C-14 evidence and its interpretation is further analyzed here. The discussion draws from, and
it is largely based on, a report produced by the communications outlet of the archeological team,
Tepetelegrams, published on June 22, 2016, see reference [2.2]. Along with this C-14 based
evidence and its interpretation by the archeological team in charge of GT, evidence from the
Architecture as well as Physical and Human Geography of the 12000 BC to 8000 BC at the Fertile
Crescent, South-Eastern Asia Minor and Mesopotamia Region is also presented in this paper and
juxtaposed to GT’s Architecture as well as its Physical and Human Geography conditions.
In presenting the Architecture related context of the study area, the rough outline of a theory of
Early Neolithic Architecture is formed. Elements of the Late Epipaleolithic, or last phase of the
Upper Paleolithic (otherwise also referred to as Natufian) Architecture and construction
Engineering are discussed along with its Human and Physical Geography context, covering the
pre- and during the Younger Dryas (12000 BC to the 9600 BC) climatic period which largely
overlaps the Natufian Architecture period.
Natufian style Architecture was succeeded by the Sultanian type Architecture. The architectonic
and engineering elements of that style are also presented here, accompanied by the Human
Geography conditions of the Region under study that framed this type of Architecture. Sultanian
Architecture was the dominant (although not exclusive) construction mode during the late Pre-
pottery Neolithic (PPNA) and during the PPNB archeological period, a period which lasted from
circa 9500 BC to about 6800 BC. It coincides with the aftermath of the Younger Dryas in the
Region, as the impacts from dry and cold conditions had receded.
Architectonic evidence from the Tell Qaramel, containing C-14 evidence from certain key 12th
and 11th millennia BC Natufian as well as PPNA and transitioning to Pre-pottery Neolithic B
Architecture structures in it are discussed. Also analyzed is recent architectural evidence from
Tell Es-Sultan in Jericho. Both of these sites were not discussed in the sequence of papers by the
author found in references [1.1], [1.2] and [1.3]. However, they are key sites for the subjects to
be covered here. Thus, this work is an elaboration on that prior analysis by the author, and an
extension of, as well as amendment to it. Moreover, the ashlar masonry construction found in
these two human settlements, in conjunction with their Human Geography contexts, are the
focus of this paper, as the Architecture of these sites from the period 12000 BC to 6800 BC is
carefully and in some detail analyzed.
It is documented that although irregular ashlar masonry structures do appear in both Tell
Qaramel and Tell Es-Sultan, and they are encountered in both Natufian and Sultanian
Architectures of the PPNA and PPNB periods (with the possible exception of the late PPNB at
Nevali Cori Temple Phase construction, a case which was addressed in [1.1], [1.2] and [1.3] by
the author and will be also extensively further discussed here) no evidence exists to date that
these two Tells (or any other sites falling within this period in this Region, or any other region in
Eurasia and Africa) and their respective Architectures had megalithic monolithic construction in
them, and certainly not of the monolithic scale seen at GT, over the critical 12000 6800 BC
period. Quarrying of megalithic monoliths not only was not possible at that time, but most
importantly, we have absolutely no evidence to suggest that the human societies of the time had
the means or the aims to create monolith-based megalithic monuments, or that they mined
monoliths of that magnitude in quarries of the region.
However, this is not the only pillar of arguing the case that Gobekli Tepe isn’t a PPNA/B
archeological site. More evidence and careful analysis of the site Tell Es-Sultan in the ancient city
of Jericho is also brought into focus. Especially, the structure called the “Jericho tower”. This
tower’s exterior and interior Architecture and Engineering is more closely analyzed, and some
revisions are recommended in so far as its dating is concerned. In addition, its real monumental
impacts in Neolithic Architecture are traced. Analysis of Jericho’s structures (initial Neolithic
masonry wall and the Jericho tower), in combination with Tell Qaramel’s structures also, allow
for a more accurate pegging of Gobekli Tepe’s Architecture relate features.
Some additional Architecture and Art related evidence from Nevali Cori is also included here now.
Utilizing these additions, the proposition is further advanced (as it was initially put forward in
[1.2] and [1.3]) that the site at GT is a post Nevali Cori Temple (last) Phase construction. Nevali
Cori is a Sultanian type Architecture settlement thought to have been in existence during the
early to late PPNB period. However, this author places its Temple and last phase in an early 6th
millennium BC period. It clearly is a far more advanced version of the later phases of the more
primitive Catalhoyuk settlement’s Architecture. Catalhoyuk is a setting estimated to have ben
inhabited under sedentary conditions in a post-PPNA, and more exactly during the PPNB period,
specifically in the 7500 – 5700 BC time frame, abandoned by the middle of the 6th millennium BC.
In their June 22, 2016 report to the public titled “How Old is it? Dating Gobekli Tepe”, cited in ref.
[2.2], the architectural team starts their reporting by a very welcome statement. In the second
line of the very first paragraph, they mention that “These questions (author’s note: about the GT
dating) are absolutely legitimate…” In this frame of reference, and in recognizing that legitimate
(as even the archeologists admit) questions have been raised about the official GT chronology
and historiography, this paper is written. The propositions advanced here are not meant to imply
that definitive answers are offered. Such firm answers are extremely rare in Archeology, where
periods and their limits (upper and lower) are blurry. Pegging events to exact time periods and
locations is an exercise in Fuzzy Sets Theory, and cases abound where views are often
contradicted and routinely rendered obsolete by new findings. However, this study is aiming at
clarifying two key positions taken by this author since 2016: first, that the GT layer III stone
enclosures C and D are very likely not PPNA/B construction and in fact they contain quite a bit
later type Architecture; and second, that the likely starting date for initial construction of Layer
III, structures C and D, could not have taken place prior to somewhere in the second half of the
6th Millennium BC, and quite possibly close to its ending. Two other central questions will be
addressed: first, how was the monument buried; and second, since the GT monument is a
monument built and utilized in a post-PPNB archeological time period in the Neolithic, how come
and there is no evidence of pottery on the ground and inside the enclosures of the six (A, B, C, D,
E and F) structures so far excavated.
As it was the case with all three of the prior papers by the author on GT, this paper also is written
for the general public. It would require some only minimal exposure to the extremely complex
and quite involved (as well as at times highly controversial) Archeology of the sites to be
mentioned here. Dealing with the details of each of the sites discussed is itself a significant task.
However, the central issue is quite clear: Architecture is the product of human activity influenced
by the Environments and the Culture that created it. Cultures are themselves impacted in turn
by the Environment. This paper is a study, analysis and re-evaluation of this complex interactions
as they played out in the 11500 BC – 2500 BC nine millennia long period in the Levant, and certain
key regions and key dates of the Fertile Crescent Architectures that appeared there at that time.
Architectural structures, artifacts found, stratigraphy of these sites from that period are
complicated matters. Each of these sites’ Archeology is accompanied by a voluminous technical
literature. Intricate, detailed and controversial issues surround all of these sites and their
constituent elements. Little of their Archeology and Architecture is beyond any dispute and
reasonable doubt. Having said that, and putting the reader already on notice that the relevant
literature is indeed extraordinarily lengthy and complex, often obscure and inaccessible, it should
also de noted that in essence and in summary the major issues tackled here with this study are
quite simple and pretty straight forward.
it is remarked that only selective and (in this author’s judgement) main and easily accessible
references are cited in this paper, so that the reader can with relative ease access and confirm
statements himself or herself. Consistently with the adage, that extraordinary claims require
extraordinary evidence, this author considers the claim by the architectural establishment, that
Gobekli Tepe is a PPNA/B site to be an extraordinary claim, backed up by underwhelming
evidence. On the other hand, this author recognizes that to challenge the establishment view is
also an extraordinary task requiring extraordinary counter-arguments, based on evidence and an
interpretation of that evidence almost beyond reasonable doubt. It is expected that at the time
the open-minded reader finishes the reading of this 100-page long paper, and the prior three
papers by this author on Gobekli Tepe, the reader will leave with at least the impression, if not
the conviction, that a good case has been made.
The careful and methodical reader is asked also to locate additional references beyond the ones
cited here, as deemed necessary and appropriate. As is the case with all Sciences, Natural and
Social, and all professions (including Architecture and Engineering) the reader must keep an
open, inquisitive and vigilant mind in reviewing the subjects addressed in this paper. Of course,
this advice applies not only with regards to this paper’s subjects, but to all works in Science and
the professions.
Tell Qaramel: 8.6x5.4 cm (with a ratio of 1.6, quite close to the Golden Ratio)
PPNA/B lithic artifact, example of PPNA/B Art in this part of the Levant’s region.
Source of photo (processed by the author) in ref. [2.37]
Tell Es-Sultan: just below center, the cone-like structure referred to as the “tower
of Jericho”, at the Eastern end of the Western trench, and dated by Kathleen
Kenyon to c 8000 -7000 BC. Source of the photo: public domain photo from ref. [2.57].
Tell Es-Sultan: aerial view from the North. The size of the Hill is about 130x345
meters. The 1950s Kathleen Kenyon dug Western trench is at top right; at the
trench’s Eastern end is where Jericho’s “tower” is located. Many excavations
have been carried out at the Tell over the past century or so. At center right also,
the Neolithic wall of Jericho segment is seen. At center top the Ain Es-Sultan
springs are located. River Jordan is about four miles to the left, while the
Mediterranean coastline is about 40 miles to the right. The Tell is on ground that
slopes from the bottom of the Jordan Rift valley (left) towards the sea level
(right), about 280 meters up. Source of photo: ref. [2.23].
Tell Qaramel, Tell Es-Sultan (Jericho) and Gobekli Tepe
Architecture, Engineering, Physical and Human Geography Contexts
As is the case with the Archeology of many archeological sites, the Archeology of these three
sites is the outcome of multiple phases in both construction and destruction. The sites are
associated with very distinct, differing and culturally complex micro-Architectures, under a
complex Geology, Geography and stratigraphy. Architectural styles and Construction Engineering
methods, techniques and materials used at the micro level appeared under varying, some micro
but also macro, socio-economic-cultural and environmental conditions, some possibly critical of
these specific conditions still unclear to us today.
By examining, however, the broader macro-archeological and geographic contexts of the various
monuments’ phases and in conjunction with the different Architecture and Engineering milieu of
these three sites’ surviving structures, at their various phases of construction, decay and eventual
demise, one can obtain direct albeit partial evidence and information as to their likely rough
chronology, and a possible narrative behind their appearances at a particular point in space-time.
Hence, Architecture and Engineering of structures can often serve as potential time markers, as
can the size of the settlements (their scale) i.e., their Human Geography.
Three general (abstract, not confined or restricted to any specific point in space-time) principles
can be stated as governing (on the average, there of course could be distributions about the
mean values of these variables) the evolution of the Architecture and Engineering as well as the
Human Geography of built structures and settlements at these early stages of human sedentary
living and community formation. (a) In early Neolithic (as in any) Architecture, we observe a
gradually increasing complexity in architectonic design, i.e., in the configuration of the
architectural floor plan and sections, in toto that is, the manner in which the architectonic spaces
of a structure are organized. This is a factor identifying the utilitarian and functionality
component of the structure. (b) In Engineering, we detect the use of increasingly sturdy, durable
and involving a wider mix of materials construction to more effectively and efficiently meet the
basic needs for human shelter, safety and comfort. And (c) in an Architecture and Urban Design,
as well as in a Human Geography context, we record an increase in the scale (size) of the structure
and the setting to which it belongs, i.e., in both the site plan of a structure as a component of the
settlement’s map; and in the prominence of the setting in its regional geographic context.
Especially at the upper echelon of the hierarchical network of settlements the setting belongs
we observe in the study period (due to demographic changes as well as due to increasing
economic returns to scale) an increase in the absolute population size as well as its share of total
population concentrations at the hierarchy’s top level (primacy). Evolution in this regard implies,
on the average, an increasingly and more complex and multilayered Central Place Theory
framework, see ref. [1.1]. Ideally, one could add the aesthetic appeal aspect of the structure as
well, its Art content. However, this is a far more difficult to handle component in the Architecture
and Engineering of a structure, that involves cultural and symbolic analysis, and present-day
conjectures about the aesthetics of distant and largely unknown today past cultures, responsible
for the construction of these monuments – topics outside the aims of this paper. Although this is
an angle on the Architecture of an edifice that we might be on a lesser solid ground to analyze, it
does not necessarily follow that it is (or that it was back then) of lesser importance.
As the demographic conditions associated with an increasing regional population base evolve; as
a higher level of an economic diversification of the employment mix occurs and division of labor
accompanies it; as a more complex social interaction nexus comes about; as a greater
specialization of land among more uses and differential land valuations emerge, reflective of
differential access among them the result of shifts in locational comparative advantages; all
these socio-economic (cultural) dynamics forge socio-spatial evolution. Denser settlements,
more varied production and consumption of products, more sophisticated technologies, and
thicker flows in the settlements’ spatial interactions occur in the flow of time. A structure built
by humans then can be placed in the context of this fundamental processes in architectural,
engineering and settlement formation dynamics and evolution, on the basis of the three basic
principles (increasing complexity in design, use of more environmentally efficient mix of
materials, and greater scale). They must be kept in mind as we step into the three sites we plan
to explore next in the sections that follow. These technical and specialized subjects the author
has summarized in certain sections of references [1.4] and [1.5] for scholars, researchers and
analysts in Archeology not familiar with these fields of Human Geography, where subjects of
Economics, Demography and Spatial Interaction are explored in a dynamic framework.
In concluding these introductory comments, a point need be made, a point emphasized by this
author in all three prior papers ([1.1-3]). It is a point at the core of the methodology employed,
and on how these three specific evolutionary principles may be applied, no matter where a site
is located and whether or not all of its associated sites have been excavated or not. All
settlements (no matter the time period examined), are and have always been part of a network
of spatially interacting settlements of a varying in population stock sizes (and always obeying a
Zipf-size distribution) and of an increasing over time complexity in interaction flows. No
settlement can be viewed and studied in isolation. Moreover, no settlement is identical to any
another, as the local micro Physical and Human Geography conditions vary and differentially
evolve over time, differentially affecting the scale of a setting. These settlements’ dynamic paths
may be parallel or diverging, in the same sosio-spatial neighborhood, or at distant points in
phase-space, with slightly or distinctly different starting positions, and slightly or considerably
divergent end-states. Qualitative properties of this type are essential in a theory of evolution (in
this case, Evolution in Architecture). It is within this framework that all three of the sites analyzed
here must be conceptualized. This is a fundamental issue in Dynamic Human Geography and
Dynamic Central Place Theory, and hence in the dynamics of any socio-spatial system. A
settlements’ hierarchical linkages to other settlements constitute the least well understood
principle in societal evolution, because these linkages are not immediately apparent or tangible.
Whereas the other two, those associated with evolution in their Architecture and Engineering,
are far more obvious, ubiquitous and tangible, hence easier to trace, record and analyze.
Figure 1.1. Tell Qaramel site. Google Earth map from 7/12/2016. The site is at about 460 meters
(1400 feet) above sea level; the photo was taken from an altitude of approximately 930 meters
(2800 feet) above ground level. Source: the author from Google Earth map available in the public
PART 1. Tell Qaramel: the first Natufian citadel of the first socio-economic elite to date
Physical and Human Geography contexts. It is at present somehow established (although some
reservations have been expressed regarding the C-14 dating of the site, see ref. [2.3]) that the
oldest sedentary settlement (of a relatively small scale) excavated to date in the entire Eurasia is
that at Tell Qaramel (TQ hereon). The tell is located in Northern present-day Syria, about 14.7
miles (in straight airline distance) North-East of the city of Aleppo’ center at an altitude of about
460 meters above Sea level, at the very top of the Fertile Crescent arc in the Upper fringes of
Mesopotamia, at a distance of about 70 miles (straight airline distance) from the current Eastern
coastal line of the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Iskenderun. And, far more importantly, it
is located 18.7 miles South of the foothills of the Taurus mountain range, and on the Western
banks of River Qoueiq and its limestone plateau, see ref. [2.5], a report written by the lead
archeologist in charge of the excavation there, Ryszard Mazurowki.
TQ’s approximate geological coordinates are: 36.38N, 37.27E, see map in Figure 1.1. This site
is hence, about 86 miles (airline distance) South-West of GT (which has coordinates 3713’23”N,
3855’21E). In sharp contrast to GT, and a significant geographic factor, TQ lays on a riverbank
(as is Nevali Cori) whereas GT not only is more than 20 miles away from a river, it was also
constructed on a natural hill. Human settlements are located close to where potable (fresh) water
is found, specifically riverbanks and steams, or around sources of ground water (springs, aquifers
and hyporheic zones). The greater the quantity of available fresh water and the greater the access
to it, in a spatial extent delineating the source’ market area, one must expect the greater the
population stock and the corresponding population density within the specific point’s market
area (in Human Geography’s Central Place Theory context) to be at any point in time. In addition,
rivers (as do coastal lines) offer the additional advantage of riverine (and maritime, respectively)
communication and transport capabilities (affecting access). Thus, they (in a spatial context)
contain endogenous locational comparative advantages, which largely (although not exclusively)
determine population sizes (in absolute and/or relative terms). In this regard then, TQ enjoyed
considerable locational advantages over the first millennia of its existence as an initially quasi-
nomadic and then later as a sedentary agriculture (farming and livestock) tied settlement. The
Hill at TQ is a cone structure with an elliptical base (at the current physical ground level). The
ellipse’s major axis is about 110 meters, whereas its minor axis is about 85 meters. Hence the
area of the Hill is about 1Ha (about 9,400 sq. meters). Currently, the Hill’s summit is about 20
meters above the ground. TQ’s mound and the surrounding land area have not been fully
excavated. Only selected trenches and spots have been dug thus far. In Figure 1.1 the locations
of the main trench (facing Southwest) and two squares off the Tell where archeological
excavations have taken place are shown. The oldest structures are found in the trench facing
towards the Southwest, see ref. [2.5].
Successive building activity over the thirteen millennia that have elapsed since its initial
construction phase (a late 12th millennium BC layer – with a structure referred to by the
archeologists as “tower 01” sitting below another structure christened by the archeologists
“tower 1” and dated to about 10600 BC, see ref. [2.6] and [2.7]) have formed the Tell.
Undoubtedly the initial construction (raised on culturally sterile ground) utilized a natural mound
as a protection to the Northerly wintertime wind. There has been some economic activity on the
Tell since the period analyzed here, but certainly nothing compared to that at Tell Es-Sultan.
The Younger Dryas and their effects. The period of initial construction is critical, as the Region
was at the tail (in space-time) end and margins of the impacts associated with the Younger Dryas.
The spatial extent of Younger Dryas associated impacts (with no gradients, unfortunately) of dry
and cold weather is shown in Figure 1.2. The cold and dry climate related impacts in the affected
area, which included the entire Asia Minor, and lands well down into the Middle Mesopotamian
Region (the Levant’s Upper section of the Fertile Crescent), were key factors that shaped the
Architecture of the Epipaleolithic, and where the “Natufian” Architecture got a foothold. Both
the Younger Dryas impacts and the Natufian Architecture lasted till circa 9600 BC, see ref. [2.20].
Figure 1.2. The Younger Dryas (10900 – 9700 BC) sharp borders: the impacts’ spatial extent sans
gradients. The entire Asia Minor is covered. In the Southern border at the Eastern Mediterranean
Basin is Tell Es-Sultan. Upper Mesopotamia is included in the impacts field. Source: ref. [2.13].
The Younger Dryas was a major climatic event that marked the geological transition from the
Pleistocene to the Holocene. Its more than a millennium long duration covered the time interval
10900 BC to 9700 BC, see ref. [2.28]. The origins and causes of the event are subject to dispute,
and conflicting evidence is employed in analyzing it, although the dominant explanation seems
to be a change in the Northern Atlantic Ocean’s currents, see ref. [2.29]. Alternative explanations
also exist, see ref. [2.30]. Be that as it may, the Younger Dryas caused a significant and apparently
sudden drop in temperatures over the Northern Hemisphere (from 2 to 6 Celsius) and produced
unusually dry conditions, as the glaciers advanced, [2.29]. Borders’ fuzziness has been neglected.
Younger Dryas and Agriculture. Two major agriculture-related factors can be attributed to the
Younger Dryas effects. One is the production of cereals, that is thought to have been positively
affected by the specific climate related conditions as they prevailed in the Fertile Crescent and
specifically at the Upper Levant, at the time, see ref. [2.31] where a review of the region is
undertaken, from 12500 BC to 9000 BC, and it is labeled as “Early and Late Natufian”, and “Pre-
pottery Neolithic Period” (see the paper’s Abstract). The paper’s chronology of periods, which
slightly differ from those in other references, will be addressed subsequently. In [2.31] the point
is made that the intense and cooling effects of the Younger Dryas (taking place right in the middle
of that time period) lowered the “carrying capacity” of the area to sustain its population. Of
course, this must have been a reason why the farmers and proto “cattle ranchers” of the Upper
Levant’s Early Neolithic left their homelands and migrated to Europe, setting the stage for the
Neolithic European Civilization, that extended from the Near East to the British Isles. This is a
migration movement that the author has examined in more detail in ref. [1.4]. The issue will be
further addressed, when the subject of land tenure is analyzed a bit further down, when the site
at TQ is approached as being the first “citadel” of the first social elites of the Neolithic. The
immediately prior to the Younger Dryas Architecture, is the first humanly drawn Architecture.
Younger Dryas and Architecture types. As we shall discuss momentarily, the Younger Dryas
effects (cold and dry weather pattern) were the key and among the most critical factors in
shaping the Architecture and layout (land use pattern and site plans) of the first structures of the
first human settlements that appeared in the Epipaleolithic, the early and late Natufian and the
early and late Sultanian styles and settings. An isolated glimpse of an example from the
Epipaleolithic Architecture will be shown in the case of “tower 01” at TQ. For a discussion on the
Natufian Architecture see [1.1] and [1.2], where this type of 10th millennium BC Architecture
(abundant at TQ and other sites) is extensively analyzed. More on this Early and late Natufian
Architecture will be supplied here, as material from TQ is incorporated. Here also the early and
late Sultanian type of Architecture will be further and in detail reviewed, when the Tell Es-Sultan
(TeS), the ancient city of Jericho, and from where the Architecture draws its name, is discussed.
However, before we enter this discussion proper, a few notes are needed on both the C-14 dating
of TQ structures and the Geology, Climatology, Archeology terms and periods to be mentioned.
The details of the TQ carbon dated spots and their indicated dates obtained by the laboratory
work, including those results not accepted by the archeological team, are shown in Figure 1 of
ref. [2.3]. They raise some issues of concern, as they show three phases (what they define as
Horizons 1, 2 and 3), with considerable variance (from 11400 BC to 9400 BC) within each phase
(Horizon) based on material obtained from the same archeological stratum level, see ref. [2.3], a
problem we shall address further a bit later in this section.
The archeologists settled on an original construction date of around 10600 BC for the initial phase
of what they call (and which turns out to be a key structure at TQ) “tower 0”. No matter the
details of the C-14 dating and the overall reliability of C-14 dating that ref. [2.3] expresses, namely
the difficulties in often reconciling stratigraphic evidence with carbon-14 dating, the issues about
Architecture we shall explore here leave little doubt as to their comparisons with GT. Of course,
the younger TQ proves to be, the stronger the author’s arguments about GT. On the other hand,
the earlier into the Younger Dryas the C-14 dating points for TQ, the lesser in strength its validity.
Some discipline-specific glossary, dates/periods and carbon dating. The Younger Dryas was a
critical period in Human History. One might characterize it as a phase transition that occurred in
aggregate human socio-economics in Eurasia. Social groups at various points in the South-
Western Eurasian space (close to the Taurus mountain range) more or less independently and
simultaneously went from a hunter-gatherer state and economic preoccupation to a nomadic or
quasi-nomadic life mode phase. It continued to include the mining, transport and barter trading
of flint and obsidian and the manufacturing of lithic (from available natural rocks) and mineral
(from mined flint and obsidian) tools. This state evolved to a sedentary phase which included
domesticated animal husbandry and proto (small scale, subsistence) agriculture. It was the
transition from the late Upper Paleolithic to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, the so-called late
Epipaleolithic, see ref. [2.8] a term usually referring to lithic mobile artifacts but not Architecture.
Since already mentioned (or, to be mentioned shortly) a variety of terms associated with Geology
(the border of the Pleistocene and the Holocene – approximately the 9700 BC boundary), Climate
Sciences (Younger Dryas), Archeology (Paleolithic, Epipaleolithic, Natufian, Sultanian, Pre-pottery
Neolithic A and B, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Ubaid period, etc.) it must be noted that these terms
denote eras of different types and they are of course approximately pegged to actual dates (to
be expressed here in the most easily understood and recognizable manner, utilizing the term
“BC” – “Before Christ”). Although boundaries might be close and coterminous in certain
instances, like for example the terms “late Epipaleolithic” “Natufian” and “Younger Dryas”, it
should be kept in mind that these are, to an extent, different eras involving gross approximations
in so far as their actual time and spatial boundaries are concerned. Eras do not have sharply
delineated upper and lower bounds; their boundaries are in fact fuzzy over time and space.
Architectures of the period under study here (roughly the nine to ten millennia period 12000 BC
to 3000 - 2000 BC) do not have their own terms. In Architecture, the term “Natufian” is
customarily used to characterize the structures of the first part of that Era (the approximately
12500 – 9500 BC time period). To some, Natufian is the period from about middle of the 13th
millennium BC to the end of the 11th millennium BC, see ref. [2.9]. A difference of about half a
millennium (11500-1200 BC) is an example of lack of consensus regarding a host of periods’ dates.
There are differences on dates not only among archeologists but also among geologists,
paleontologists, anthropologists, and cosmologists in references to the dating of their subjects
as well. It seems that a variance in assigning chronologies to periods is a deep-rooted issue in
these fields and in fact in all scientific fields. This author has decided to take averages from the
more than 50 publications cited (under “work by others” in the References section of the paper).
As a result, there might be some minor differences between dates on periods cited here and in
those equivalent ones of papers [1.1], [1.2] and [1.3]. At a final analysis, the conclusions drawn
from the preponderance of physical evidence cited by and examined in this paper and are based
on the presentation of the key material on Architecture of the monuments under investigation,
and specifically to the extent that the Architecture of Gobekli Tepe is concerned, differences in
the assignment of exact chronological dates to sites, terms and periods are largely immaterial.
On that count, “Natufian” is not a purely architectonic, structures-based, term. It is a term
devised by archeologist Dorothy Garrod to describe and label lithic evidence, see [2.25]. It was
coined by her after the location Wadi an-Natuf, where the Shuqba cave she excavated in the mid
to late 1920s is situated, see ref. [2.27] for more on this cave. The term “Natufian” is used to
describe, among others things, items of Art and also cultures. It is even a term associated with
Genetics of individuals found buried at these sites and traced to that time period, see [2.26].
There is a distinction often made between “Early Natufian” (the 11500 BC to 10800 BC time
interval) and “Late Natufian” (10800 BC to 9500 BC) settings. According to that distinction, “tower
0” at TQ is an early stage of Late Natufian Architecture, since its time period is pegged by the
archeologists to 10600 BC. But this raises some definitional problems which also touch
methodological issues. The TQ archeologists’ breakdown of TQ construction involves five distinct
stratigraphically defined “Horizons” – starting from “Horizon 0” (the “Epipaleolithic Horizon”) to
“Horizon 4” which is defined by them as being the transition Horizon-Phase to PPNB stage
construction. This is a period roughly extending for about three millennia (11500 BC to 8800 BC,
see discussion below on PPNB approximate starting dates). Thus, “Horizon 1” is a post
“Epipaleolithic” phase of construction. For them, Epipaleolithic is “Horizon 0”, and Horizons 1, 2,
and 3 cover the Natufian and PPNA periods till the start of the PPNB phase at the site at Tell
Qaramel. “Horizon 0” is associated with “tower 01”, the “tower” just under “tower 0” (declared
to be Natufian by them) an early Natufian “tower”. See ref. [2.3], associated with item “Gd
12799” on the basis of which the dating of “tower 0” was derived.
This fuzziness is only an example of and due to the varying assignments of periods to dates by
various researchers involved in archeological analysis, a phenomenon widespread in a number
of scientific fields and not confined to Archeology. In trying to address this difficulty, the so-called
“ASPRO” chronology was set up, a type of chronometry that we shall encounter and refer to in a
bit. Fuzziness is also due to, and this might be a more difficult to deal with subject, the inherent
inconsistencies in the stratigraphic evidence, inconsistencies not necessarily confined to TQ.
Bottom line conclusion however is that the above listed fine distinctions may mean very little in
actual Architecture related substance. To the extent that carbon dating can provide gross ranges,
see for instance the ranges on dates for all four Horizons” of the carbon dating for TQ in ref.
[2.3], and the discussion about their reliability; and to the extent that significant social and
environmental events did take place at that range of uncertainty; the carbon dating evidence
should be taken as indicative (as should be definition of terms and associated terminology) at the
micro scale (in space-time), and very carefully at the macroscale (in offering the “big picture”).
So, as already mentioned, it is pointed out in [2.3] that there are some inconsistencies between
the stratigraphic evidence and the carbon-14 derived evidence for TQ. This anomaly (or
inconsistency) occurs when C-14 dating of an element at a particular stratigraphic level comes up
to have an older dating than an element located at a lower stratigraphic level. Or, like the case
of the Horizons 1, 2, and 3 (chronological phases on the basis of stratigraphy, so that Horizon 1 is
an older phase than Horizon 2, which in turn is older than Horizon 3) of the TQ’s archeologists,
the ranges extracted from C-14 dating to an extent contradict stratigraphic evidence. For
example, a C-14 based evidence drawn from Horizon 2 has a range indicating an older specimen
from a stratigraphic level below it. Thus, in reading these terms and associated time periods, a
strong note of caution is warranted. The case of TQ is far easier than GT in interpreting C-14
dating because there is no indication that the various strata there were intentionally buried.
Conclusions on chronology drawn by the archeologists at TQ was largely based on the basis of
pyrolithic C-14 dating from abundant organic material from hearths located inside as well as
outside the structures of TQ, see [2.5] and [2.6]. This abundance must have been due to the
multiple uses of these places for generating heat – need for heating, cooking, and possibly
manufacturing of clay figurines that have been located at TQ, see Figure A.1, A.2, A.3. Deriving a
precise chronometry for these mobile artifacts however presents in general the analyst
challenges far greater than those associated with dating immobile architectural structures.
Mobility is one of the main reasons why Architecture and Engineering offer far more solid
grounds to date sites than artifacts. Before we address artifacts, some further chronology related
notes must be inserted here, as a finer breakdown is needed to divide a vast amount of time
which spans about nine millennia of prehistory (11500 – 2500 BC), the time frame touched upon
with this study, as three monuments in specific (TQ, TeS, and GT) are addressed.
Later Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and B (a period covering roughly the beginning of the 10th
millennium BC to the 7th millennium BC time frame) is more finely subdivided according to
ASPRO, see [2.10] and also [2.11]. The Khiamian period (circa 10200 BC till about 8800 BC) is
associated with the form of a lithic arrowhead found in El-Khiam, see ref. [2.12]. This period
contains what is referred to as PPNA (9500 BC to 8000 BC) and it includes the initial phases of the
Architecture called Sultanian (derived from the Tell Es-Sultan at the ancient city of Jericho, a
setting we shall extensively analyze in Part 2 of this section of the paper), along with the early
phases of Mureybet – a settlement in Northern Syria, and spatially close to TQ, this author
reviewed in all three papers cited ([1.1], [1.2] and [1.3]). It also includes the early phases of the
settlement at Jerf el-Ahmar, a key settlement that the author also extensively covered as to its
Architecture in papers [1.2] and [1.3]. Both settlements are clearly a pre-GT (in terms of site plan
complexity, floor plan design and masonry construction) stone enclosure type set of structures.
The PPNA period is followed by the PPNB (often cited as 7600 -6000 BC) period, which is at times
considered to cover the time interval of 8800 BC to about 6900 BC, see [2.12]. The author has
adopted the 7600 – 6000 BC time frame to designate the PPNB period and argued in [1.1], [1.2],
and [1.3] that GT is a post PPNB construction site, a claim that will be further documented below
by taking a closer look first at the Architecture of TQ’s various phases from the earliest (suggested
to be Epipaleolithic) to its latest, the PPNB transition phase. Many sites covered in [1.1] and [1.2],
like for instance Hallan Cemi and Jerf el-Ahmar, critical sites with Natufian and pre-GT
intermediate Architecture; and sites such as Catalhoyuk and Nevali Cori that contain Sultanian
type Architecture, will not be extensively discussed again here. Interested readers are directed
to the above references for more on the study’s spatial extend and time period.
Definition of a “tower”. Before we analyze the two Tells, and specifically the site at TQ, a note
on the term “tower” is due. This is a term we shall encounter being used in the Archeology of
both sites, Tell Qaramel (TQ) and Tell Es-Sultan (TeS). It is a rather misleading term, given what it
connotes to a modern reader, especially so in the case of TQ’s “towers”. The structures, which
we shall explore in some detail at both Tells, do not contain over the study period either city
fortification walls or towers under what it is currently meant by and how we currently define or
understand these two terms. Especially so in the case of TQ and its five alleged “towers” that,
according to the archeologists in charge, TQ contains. It would had been far more appropriate to
refer to them as approximately circular masonry structures, or at most as proto tower” type
structures rather than “towers”. In any case, the study will try to avoid when possible using these
culturally loaded terms. The term “structure” will be used instead with an architectural
description, to the extent one is able to identify and fully describe these structures at present.
The Architecture and layout of Tell Qaramel. A look at structures from TQ’s earliest phases
points to some evolutionary aspects not only for local Architecture but also for a regional
Architecture of the Levant spanning about two and one-half millennia (from roughly 10600 BC to
about 8000 BC). In three macro-layers of structures, in a complex array of excavated micro and
macro-level archeological strata, the archeologists at TQ identified five distinct micro
stratigraphic layers, that they called “Horizons”. Horizon 0, contains the isolated case of what
they called “tower 01” a glimpse of which is seen in Figure 3, underneath the “tower 0” of macro
stratigraphic layer one (which includes Horizon 1 – to use the archeologists’ term) the main item
of Figure 3. The vast majority of structures found at TQ under carbon dating are shown to be of
the Natufian (Early and Late stages) Architecture. Starting with “tower 0”, the marquee structure
of the site at TQ, a 10600 BC structure, the preponderance of structures (Horizons 1, 2 and 3) are
Natufian (including PPNA phases). Then, in Horizon 4 (the last micro stratigraphic level of the last
macro layer) one encounters transitional structures from PPNA to PPNB Natufian Architecture.
As it can be seen, these are mostly archeological periods, not architectural periods. Already
addressed were the difficulties in putting stratigraphy, carbon dating and archeological
chronologies together. Now, some more complexity is added, as an attempt will be made to add
an architectural chronology to that mix. At a local space-time level, chronometric classifications
might not precisely match, although they do at the macro level. At the local level and on the topic
of archeological stratigraphy and its laws, the reader is directed to the literature on the Harris
laws and matrix and its underlying analytical model, see ref. [2.15]. In the case of the TQ
archeological excavation stratigraphic evidence is complex in its micro and macro composition,
and so is (at a far greater extent) at Jericho. At TQ it reaches in toto two to three meters in depth,
at Jericho is about ten times thicker. The relevant diagrams for TQ are shown in ref. [2.14] p. 581
and 582. Not much more will be added here on stratigraphy and carbon dating related methods
and readings, as the focus will be on Architecture, Engineering and site plan (Human Geography).
In Architecture (as in lithic evidence and in Art in general) styles linger sometimes beyond certain
a posteriori and more or less arbitrarily designated (and fuzzy) upper and lower boundaries. For
any Architecture or Art style, there is an innovation point in space-time, rarely well-defined and
firmly identified, where some successful innovation got a foothold prior to its eventual spatio-
temporal diffusion. Adopters follow in time and space the innovators of other, possibly distant,
places and time periods. Rarely however adopters adopt these innovations intact, without
modifying them to some extent. Hence, spatially and temporally defined sub-classifications of
styles emerge. Meantime, new architectural styles and Art forms may appear, while co-existing
for a while with prior Art and Architecture forms.
Thus, and in general, there is an overlap of both Architectures and Art forms (and certainly of
their sub-classifications) at any specific location and time period. Rarely does one come across a
site where purity in form is the exclusive norm and lasting for a very extended time horizon. In
this regard, the settlement at Catalhoyuk might be an exception. This purity in form seems to be
particularly characterizing the various Natufian phases (Horizons) of the TQ site as well, given the
temporal length and spatial extent of the Natufian style.
Figure 2. Tell Qaramel’s earliest macro layer Early Natufian Architecture structures; view from
the South. The structures belong to the 10600 BC construction phase and they are purportedly
among the oldest human masonry structures excavated to date. They are at the vicinity of the
structure shown in Figure 3, “tower 0”. Source: [2.6].
In all three macro-scale layers of TQ, one encounters similar Architecture. Roughly circular, partly
in ground structures, forming arcs, apses, quasi-elliptical, and quasi-circular masonry enclosures.
These are all the types of structures encountered at TQ, see Figures 2, 3 (representing the 10600
BC macro layer), and Figures 4 and 5 (representing later macro layers). The Engineering
associated with the structures’ material is quite simple, and basically unchanged throughout the
Epipaleolithic to the PPNB period (about five millennia, indicative of extremely slow speeds of
change): pebbles to small stones, in dry highly irregular ashlar construction possibly involving an
intervening agent, a mildly adhesive mud substance. This is a very important Architecture related
Evolutionary finding. In all structures, at all macro strata exposed, one does not encounter large
scale masonry construction, let alone megalithic structures.
The closest one comes to some regular in design, large masonry containing blocks, stone
enclosure is at Square J-7, K-7, Stratum V, level 10, tower 0 (this is the archeologists’ identification
of the stone enclosure), see [2.14] (p. 575, Figure 2) and shown in Figure 3 here. The diagram
clearly shows that the largest stone used was no more than 78 cm long, with a width of no more
than 50 cm and 35 cm at most in thickness. Only three masonry blocks of this scale have survived
and are shown in Figure 3, with a few (no more than five) at a scale about half of that in size. The
vast majority of the construction material is mud, and small pebbles. It is quite obvious that the
durability of these structures in terms of withstanding physical pressure (from either earthquakes
or enemy assaults) was minimal. The entire set of layers from the Epipaleolithic to the PPNB
phase do not show mudbrick material to have been used in the construction of these structures.
One may argue that, larger stone blocks may have been used at earlier phases, then possibly
recycled and re-used at later construction, on top in situ or elsewhere. These imaginary large in
scale stone blocks, time may have filtered out. This may have been a reason why these bigger
blocks do not show up now there. However, there is absolutely no evidence to support the
foundations of megalithic construction at any of the phases covering the period in question, and
this assertion (not made by the archeologists of TQ, and just brought up here as a historiographic
scenario) remains a hypothetical and in the realm of impossibility based on the current evidence
uncovered thus far at TQ or in other regional sites, and also on architectonic speeds of change.
In fact, the oldest circular structure (the archeologists’ “tower 0”) encountered before reaching
culturally sterile ground (floor, that is, which does not involve humanly made structures below
it), is on foundations of an earlier structure (dubbed “tower 01” by the archeologists). It had walls
with thickness half as much as that of the structure above it. This is an indication that the older
structure may have been an early phase of seminomadic habitation (involving non-winter
habitation); whereas the thicker (in fact, double in thickness) walls structure above it (that shown
in Figure 3) may have been the result of full scale year-round sedentary habitation. This is the
time period of the locally full-blown effects from the Younger Dryas, and the main phase of the
Natufian Architecture speeds of change. TQ may have also been the site where formation of
proto socio-economic-cultural elites took place. The Tell may have been their residential quarters
site, possibly containing a proto palace and a proto religious center, the first in Human History.
Figure 3. Tell Qaramel, layer above the oldest one of the Tell. Layer dated to 10600 BC; it belongs
the late Epipaleolithic (late Upper Paleolithic). Its Architecture is of the early Natufian type. The
walls of the 6-meter (counting the walls’ thickness, approximately 1.50 meters) at maximum long
axis structure (which is referred to by the archeological team as “tower 0”) sit on top of a similar
in shape Epipaleolithic structure underneath it, labeled “tower 01” by the archeologists in charge
of the excavation, with walls half in thickness. The inground structure is dated to the middle or
late (the C-14 dating on it contains some variation) 12th millennium BC. Source: ref. [2.14].
A striking feature of the site is the number of hearths found there, both inside and outside the
structures shown in Figures 2 - 5. Hence, one might be safe in suggesting that their abundance
and relatively high density was the result of weather and climate related patterns at the time.
The individuals and social groups who built and utilized these structures obviously had to deal
with the macro-scale climatic (the local Younger Dryas effects) and geographic conditions (and
their micro-climate) there (at a high above sea level plateau) and then weather related factors.
The altitude above sea level (about 460 meters); a desert environment; and the seasonal
requirements for protection (the local winters, snow and rainfalls) are some of the factors
determining the architectonic design of these structures. On top of these environmental factors,
the walls of these structures had to provide coverage and protection from outside raids by social
groups in competition with the residents of this settlement for resources and safety. To assume
that these structures were “towers” and “fortification walls” in a contemporary definition of
these terms must be discounted. Simple application of force would imperil the Engineering based
structural integrity of these edifices. Any even weak lateral force applied would make these
meager structures collapse, and bury inside them any would-be seekers of protection from
outside raids. Moreover, torching the inside of these structures from outside marauding raiders,
and thus generating even a small-scale conflagration, would be quite a simple feat to accomplish.
Figure 4. Tell Qaramel structure at PPNA macro excavation (stratigraphic) level containing
Natufian Architecture (circa 10000 BC). The fragile from an Engineering viewpoint construction
is partially in-ground and consists mostly of pebbles and mud. Its height must had been very
modest. The archeologists consider it to be a “tower” as well. Source of photo: ref. [2.6].
Vulnerability, specifically the turning of entire structures into deadly traps, is the single most
evident aspect of these structures. They contain very simple Architecture and Engineering design
and construction. Seeking environmental protection is detected as having been the primary
objective in building these structures, not shelter from social threats. No matter the structures’
intended socio-economic-cultural functions, these were not means of mounting any serious
defense, bringing into question the use of the term “tower”. Their walls’ thickness (about a
meter, rarely reaching a meter and a half at most, at their early stages) were simple means to
attain some temperature regulation for their enclosed spaces. The total height of these
structures at the time of their design and construction is unknown. It could not have been more
than two meters, since geological conditions (earthquakes) would quite probably render them
uninhabitable, in a region prone to significant earthquakes.
The structure “tower 0”. The largest structure of the first macro layer, the macro layer dated at
10600 BC by the archeologists, has some interesting design features. The surviving part of the
structure, see Figure 3, made mostly out of pebbles, is an approximate semicircle with an
extension showing at the righthand side. It is not at all clear if this structure’s original design was
to be at the finish of its construction an approximate circle or an apse. Be that as it may, on the
basis of the surviving component of the structure, and on the basis of the scaled diagram of the
structure as offered by the archeologists, one can derive the following architectonic design
conclusions, without relying on the assumption that the end product was to be a circle:
(1) the total area taken by the approximately semicircular (as is) structure is about R^2/2=56.50
square meters, where R=6 meters; (2) the interior space used for shelter (or any function,
residential or ceremonial or storage) area is about P^2/2=14 square meters, where P=3 meters;
(3) the total area taken up by the walls is 42.50 square meters; (4) the ratio of used space to
protection space (wall) is about 14/42.5=.33, that is the used space is only about one third of
the support space. This is an efficiency measurement (or index) to be considered as a key
component of an architectural design of that Era. This efficiency measurement (or index) will be
revisited later when the “Jericho tower” will be analyzed, and in Note 5 at the end of the paper.
As mentioned earlier, the original height of this structure is unknown. Unknown is also the type
of cover (roof) it had and how this roof was anchored onto the masonry structure. Theories exist
on that, as is also the in situ archeological evidence which points to timber poles supporting a
roof probably made from plant material. The Engineering based structural stability of such a roof
is of course open to question, as is its vulnerability to fire and strong gale force winds and storms,
not to mention outside raids. Archeological in situ evidence, see ref. [2.6] suggests that the
structure succumbed to fire, as signs of considerable conflagration were located by the
archeologists. It can be fully asserted that the cover of these structures did not involve masonry
construction (lintels, an element we come across at TeS) or any sort of corbelling, architectonic
elements which appear in Neolithic Architecture, post late 6th millennium BC (with dolmens and
passage tombs). The structure of Figure 3 has a floor from clay, bedded on pebbles, see ref. [2.6].
Furthermore, it must be noted that the element of an “orthostat” is absent from all structures
at TQ. Orthostats are components which tie up the masonry ring structures of enclosures.
Orthostats are encountered at both sites, Natufian Jerf el-Ahmar and Sultanian Nevali Cori, see
ref. [1.3]. The size and placement of orthostats within a ring structure are key factors in
identifying evolution in both architectural design and engineering construction. The greater the
spacing among orthostats the more advanced the engineering of the stone enclosure. Similarly,
the size of the orthostat determines the evolutionary stage of a ring enclosure. These attributes
clearly indicate that the Temple phase at Nevali Cori is a subsequent to the settlement at Jerf el-
Ahmar. The lack of orthostats at TQ’s entire inventory of masonry units of all phases clearly shows
an architectonic temporal sequence: Jerf el-Ahmar and Nevali Cori followed TQ. In addition, the
presence of an orthostat in a later Natufian structure signifies evolution in Natufian Architecture.
TQ: a “citadel” of the socio-economic local elite: a proto city. A few points will be made about
the potential uses and users of the space in the structure of Figure 3, the “tower 0” structure as
referred to by the archeologists in charge of the excavation at TQ. As they have suggested, to the
immediate South of the Tell, a considerable amount of land has been identified as linked to the
Tell. It is estimated to be about four hectares (4 ha=40,000 square meters), see ref. [2.24]. This
land could comprise of both farms and residences of workers (farmers and other possibly skilled
workers) supporting and governed by a proto social elite structure that potentially could reside
(or occupy) the settings uncovered by the archeologists and belonging to the period 11500 BC till
the Natufian PPNB period at around 9500 BC.
It can thus be argued that the type of “fortifications” or “towers” unearthed by the archeologists
were the residential quarters and proto palaces (religious as well as administrative domain) of
the local ruling elites at the time. The citadel was also the place of the ruling class’ necropolis. In
ref. [2.24] it is reported that 27 graves containing human skeletons belonging to that era were
found. The custom of a citadel containing the social elite’s tombs (an evolution of the custom of
a house containing the dead in the household) is a custom we encounter down to the Mycenaean
Era at the citadel of Mycenae. Here is a site (possibly among others still to be found) where this
custom might had originated.
In the context of a citadel, the spatial arrangement (allocation scheme) of the population stock
as stratified by economic and social status in the framework of the entire region surrounding the
Tell might provide a clue as to the factors giving rise to such a spatial distribution and residential
pattern for the elite, their servants, artisans and associated workers of the palace, thus shaping
their residential structures’ forms in the manner recorded and surveyed. The surrounding area
may have also acted as the “first defenses” of the structures at TQ in terms of protecting it from
outside threats, small in scale of course (nothing compared to the outside threats facing
settlements and cities of the Bronze and Iron Ages), as well as economically supporting it,
attenuating the need for stronger citadel fortifications of a later era. The Tell may have also acted
as the storage space of surplus livestock and necessary inventory (for the palace residents as well
as for those needed to survive periods of shortages among the farming labor force) of grains from
One might detect at TQ the kernels of a spatially distributed proto urban structure with a proto
citadel in its midst. It must be kept in mind that, as the term “tower” and “fortification walls” are
terms that connote different things at present and thus attention was drawn and caution was
sought as to their use by the archeologists, under the same terms is the notion of a “citadel”
employed here. It is not the highly inaccessible and heavily defended setting, situated at
significant heights above ground. This is what is implied by the contemporary use of the term, as
for example in the case of the Iron Age, 15th century BC, citadels at Mycenae and Hattusa. Scale
must be taken into account, as perception of heights and inaccessibility were different back then,
as it was the notion of “threat” and the composite purpose and notion of a “citadel”.
Comparative advantages in citadel living combined a number of factors: protection from adverse
weather conditions (avoiding floods for instance and blocking the Northerly winds) was coupled
with social status for residing at a high above ground level. This advantage however had to be
mitigated to the extent that the elite group was not too much (thus, dangerously) removed from
the farmland’s workers. This view of a “citadel” at the Neolithic (Early, Middle, or Late) might
explain why many of the ancient cities excavated are located on Tells. Of course, the initial Tell
may had been considerably lower than the last phase of construction on them, as successive
building activity accumulated over the millennia raising the Tell’s height.
Spatial dominance by residing on top of mounds and hills is an important component in the
bundle of factors demonstrating social dominance over their subordinate social classes by the
ruling social elites at any time period. Citadels were the sites to house social elites and the top of
a social group’s hierarchical social structure - up till the time that the Greek City States were
founded, when the entire population of a city (no matter its social class or economic
preoccupation) was housed inside a city’s walls, forming complete City-States. Enjoying the
viewshed, and other comparative advantages attached to living on hills at present may not have
been playing a similar role in the locational decision-making of that Era.
During the Neolithic, the formation and site plan of a citadel must have been geared more
towards protecting the needed inventory of grains and livestock for the social elite’s immediate
survival. That objective might had been traded off with the aim at protecting slave labor working
at subsistence levels the fields. It is not surprising that an aurochs’ entire skeleton was found
inside one of the “houses” of TQ. The citadel was a site where the palace (and the temple) were
located and protected, as well as the elite’s proto necropolis. All these various land uses were for
the first time in need of some rationalization and conflict resolution, given space limitations.
Storage rooms is a dominant component in a citadel’s site plan, since it houses the elite’s
essential inventory of foodstuff for a perceived as necessary time period. Uncertainty over this
time period, may had to a large extent determined the total area of the foodstuff containing
spaces, as the amount of storage space must had been a function of anticipated crop failures
over a time horizon the elite group was willing to speculate, as well as agricultural productivity
of the surrounding dominated by the elite fields. Thus, some economic sophistication involving
foodstuff inventory controls play a major role in the floor plan design (shape and share of area)
in a citadel. More so at the early phases in citadel formation than later, as overtime advances in
better handling and speculating about crop failures were coupled with better performance of an
increasingly organized agriculture.
Increasing returns to scale in communal living was the major force in the need to aggregate, in
which shared need for various types of protection and safety are included in the bundle of forces
constituting these returns to scale. It was a key factor in determining the, at the time, optimum
spatial and population size of a citadel, only to be countered by the perceived negative external
effects of agglomerations. All these issues from Human Geography the author has discussed in
his papers on archeological matters found in ref. [1.4] and [1.5].
These elementary aspects of spatial allocations one detects in the proto clustering of families
into small scale settlements at the early Neolithic, the beginning of proto cities, possibly first
proto city being TQ in the Levant. Since the excavations at TQ are not finished, the entire size of
the community (in both area and estimated population) can’t be at present fully gauged. Once
finished, a better handle can be obtained in finding (or better, estimating) the size of this possibly
first human settlement.
Figure 5. Tell Qaramel structure at PPNB (circa 9600 - 9000 BC) level containing late Natufian
type Architecture with some midsize stone blocks involving dry ashlar construction mixed with
pebbles and mud. This partly inground structure is also considered by the archeological team to
be a “tower”. Similar in Engineering as that of Figure 4, this structure’s height must have been
modest (no more than two meters – otherwise the structural integrity of the edifice comes into
question). These structures, as well as the population size of this citadel settlement are
informative not only in regards to their Architecture and Engineering foundations (contexts), but
also because they are indicative of the scale of the settlement in question and the associated
(linked with) regional settlements as well. Source of photo: ref. [2.6].
PPNA/B structures’ Architecture at TQ. In Figures 4, 5, and Figures 5.A(1 and 2) and 5.B, some
TQ structures (also identified as “towers” by the archeological team of TQ) are shown. Their
Architecture (see Figure 4) is either partially in-ground Middle Natufian, or (see Figure 5) Late
Natufian PPNA type Architecture. Both demonstrate the presence of approximately round
masonry construction, with walls mostly made out of pebble – although meter (or less) in size
meso-scale highly irregular dry ashlar masonry block in the construction is also present. This is
demonstrated by the remains of the structures in Figure 5, and also in Figures 5.A.1 and 5.A.2.
An Early Natufian construction, PPNA, is shown in Figure 4. In Figure 5.A, (1 and 2) a transitional
period between PPNA and PPNB structure is shown, so labeled because of its C-14 readings and
so classified on the basis of its stratigraphy. This is the youngest of structures uncovered to date
at TQ. The condition these structures were uncovered by excavation is of interest. Both “towers”
in Figures 4 and 5.A(1+2) are shown to have been partially demolished. The cause is not known,
although likely it was the result of earthquakes.
The use of these structures can’t be ascertained, although either residential or as a storage space
of foodstuff could be a good guess. It isn’t also quite clear where access to the interior was
attained from the outside. Points of egress from the interior are more obvious in the case of the
“tower” structure shown in Figure 5.A. The structure of Figure 5.A(1+2) also demonstrates a
higher level of complexity in the partitioning of its interior space, sporting two distinct levels and
having a clay covered finished floor. It is very likely that this was the residence of a person of high
ranking within the social elite structure of that time period there.
Figure 5.A.1 Tell Qaramel. The last (Horizon 4) transitional to PPNB late Natufian structure at
the site. Noticeable are a number of features, especially the thickness of the stratigraphic layer
above it, and the scale of the almost circular stone enclosure structure. Its distance from the
surrounding structures (neighboring houses or temples or administrative units) hence the density
of residence is also noticeable. Increased sophistication in the interior of the structure’s space,
the floor material and the wall plastering are indicative of an evolution in the edifice’s
Architecture and optimal adaptation to a changing environment. The presence of auxiliary spaces
surrounding the structure is indicative of an evolving site plan. More durable and better-
preserved walls, are strong indications of increasing sophistication in the construction of the
edifice and an evolution in building technologies. Walls are made by employing various sizes of
pebbles and stone, and by tying these materials together with mud. Source of photo: ref. [2.32].
It is these structures (no matter the precise initial phases of the earliest units, “towers 01 and 0”)
shown in Figure 3; and the latest (youngest) units as those shown in Figure 5.A, that were in
existence at the time that the archeologists of GT suggest neighboring with TQ, GT’s structures
C and D, Layers III were constructed. No matter the possible disputes on the C-14 based
interpretation of the evidence from the structures at TQ, it is clearly unfounded on Architecture,
Engineering, and Human Geography grounds to argue that these two types of neighboring
settlements (GT and TQ) co-existed then. There is absolutely no evidence that the GT monolithic
megalithic monumental construction can be temporally coterminous with the structures of TQ.
TQ not only does not possess monolithic megalithic construction, it does not even contain
megalithic Architecture. This conclusion must be viewed in conjunction with the claims that the
more distant from GT than TQ settlement of TeS affected GT. Examining TeS a similar conclusion
is drawn by comparing GT structures with structures we are about to review from Tell Es-Sultan.
Figure 5.A.2.. Tell Qaraamel, another view of the structure shown in Figure 5.A.1. The
partitioning of the interior space is shown, as are the egress spots from the interior to the outside
area. The postholes surrounding the structure could had been spots to place wooden poles to
support a roof, and also spaces for auxiliary to the structure uses (such as storage and other
ancillary spaces). The structure represents the last phases of construction (located thus far) at
Tell Qaramel, and it is found in sector J-7, K-7 (not to be confused with the structures of Figures
2 and 3) of the archeological site. Source of photo: ref. [2.33].
Neolithic land tenure at TQ and the spreading of Agriculture. One of the major events in Human
History has been the post Younger Dryas spreading of Agriculture into Western Eurasia and
Northern Africa (and also to other areas of Asia, East of the Fertile Crescent). At TQ we may have
the kernels of this historic event, and its possible causes. These causes might be imprinted on, as
well as implied by, the very uses and users of the structures we are looking at in the set of Figures
2 5.B, and the location of these elite residential units. Quite possibly administrative proto
palatial, very likely religious proto temple, and certainly wholesale storage facilities, together
with ancillary at the time spaces, are the first land uses of these prime anchor locations. The vast
amount of fertile lands surrounding the Tell was the market area (in a Central Place Theory
context of Human, Economic, Spatial Geography) and the domain of the elite group’ control over
the fertile plateau of River Qoueiq’s space. Certainly, luxurious for the then prevailing residential
standards of the Upper Paleolithic’s cave communal dwelling accommodations, the Epipaleolithic
and Early Natufian cultures that inhabited TQ must have considered these units as representing
a quantum leap in residential and living quality and comfort as well as privacy and safety.
Figure 5.B. Tell Qaramel archeological site. An approximately circular, partly in-ground, stone
enclosure structure covered by mud with a clay floor at square J-7, K-7 (again, not to be confused
with the prior structures’ designations) at the site. The Architecture is Late Natufian with
sophisticated interior space partitioning. The structure must had been part of the residential
quarters of an upper echelon elite family. Source of photo: ref. [2.34].
It was the good times of a pre-Younger Dryas environment, when the quasi nomadic life style of
hunter-gatherers’ high spatial mobility, was gradually transitioning into a sedentary low mobility
but diversified in employment and production as well as consumption life style. It was becoming
a primarily agriculture (farming, fisheries, animal husbandry and forestry) economy. But it was
far more sophisticated than that. Economic activity involved also the mining of obsidian and flint;
trade on major land paths and proto roads and through quite possibly riverine proto transport;
manufacturing of a host of products ranging from stone tools and proto stone and clay household
appliances and utensils, as well as a battery of offensive and defensive weapons, building
materials (stones, mudbricks and clay), and the construction of houses, hearths and proto kilns.
It included the production of various implements extracted from plants and animal bones, and
of course proto jewelry and decorative Art. But maybe most importantly, it must had produced
experts in accounting and record keeping, specialized workers likely in high demand by the ruling
elite. Division of labor was getting underway. And with it came specialization in land uses.
Figure 5.C.1. Artifact found at Tell Qaramel, indicative of the State of the Art then. Source of
photo: ref. [2.37].
Division of labor, specialization in production and ability to trade, as well as assisting the ruling
elite structure for administration and social services (mostly religious practices and observances)
were becoming rare skills of importance to the elites and sources of socio-economic prestige. An
associate class to the ruling families was forming, being placed at the totem social pole between
the land owners (those who were the first settlers and placed a stake on land and became the de
facto rulers) and the slave labor who served them and farmed for them in exchange for
protection and some guarantee to subsistence living.
Funeral practices and conditions of the human skeletons found at the site, see ref. [3.36]
describing about 27 skeletons’ remains at TQ, along with lithic evidence, see ref. [2.35] offer a
glimpse into their social life. These limited finds seem to indicate a prosperous relatively violence-
free social elite group must had resided then on, and at selected areas around, the Tell. The
surrounding land mass, where the vast majority of the Natufian individuals very likely resided,
has not been excavated and most likely their residential quarters did not survive the millennia.
Demographically, the total population residing at TQ’s central residential quarters (the social elite
group) must had been about a tenth pf the total population size of the entire area, which included
the fields belonging to the Tell’s market area with a much lower average residential density than
the Tell’s. The artisan and skills bearing intermediate social class must had been at least twice
possibly three times the population size of the elite group, residing at an area about equal to half
the size of the elite’s residential quarters at the Tell, or a close by sub-center, and at a density of
about two to three times the density of the social elite’s quarters. These are approximate
estimates from typical residential patterns of communities, to a great extent having remained
dynamically stable over space-time. See some analysis and discussion of these topics in ref. [1.5].
Figure 5.C.2. Tell Qaramel; the archeologists’ maquette (model of reconstruction) showing a
possible version of the settlement’s spatial aggregate form. The emphasis on rectangular
configurations depicting the residential quarters of the ruling elite class and its skilled workers
and associates could be brought into question, given the forms of the individual structures
uncovered. Questions can also be raised regarding its overall scale. Source of photo: ref. [2.37].
A reconstruction of the settlement (in effect a proto village) has been offered by the TQ
archeologists. It is shown in the maquette of Figure 5.C.2. Of course, one can easily envision a
slightly different reconstruction, highlighting the roundness (“tower”) element of each unit and
a freer land use pattern with less rectangular modular rigidity in the spatial allocation schema
within the compound. Such a suggested here schema would have been more appropriate in
replicating the settlement’s overall morphology then, given the shapes of building we see in
Figures 2 – 5. This type of site plan morphology and order might be more appropriate for a
Sultanian based Architecture (like for example that at Catalhoyuk) rather than a Natufian one.
Another point of possible contention might be the scale of the community in this proto village,
as discussed already. TQ was neither a farmer’s farm house nor a cattle ranch. It was a proto
community, the very beginning of an “urban area”. It must be kept in mind that the key factor
here in determining the size and density in the structures of the maquette is socio-economic and
cultural in nature. Whether one is to assume that all farm laborers were in fact residing in these
dwellings or not is a profound question in need of in depth socio-economic analysis. However,
this immense in the literature subject, will only be dealt with here in summary. It is the assertion
of this author that only the social elite (the proto king or proto priest) together with his/her
immediate associate class were the residents there.
However, no matter the position one is to take on this social stratification and residential pattern,
this is a secondary issue. The primary, and by far the most important, factor in the Land Use and
Site Plan blueprint of the Tell and its environs is the land tenure (in use and ownership rights)
issue. Although obviously no formal land markets and real estate prices were yet developed,
rudimentary land values were formed as a result of the specialization of the land space. Living
on Tells must had conveyed and entailed the presence of a land premium. Due to lack of
evidence, however, on possible answers to this basic question regarding land markets in the
Neolithic, the citadel related propositions put forward remain at the hypothesis level. But they
are based on the implied conditions from the observed residential patterns on the Tell. It must
be reasonably suggested that the rights to own land belonged to the Tell dwellers. These dwellers
could not exist as a self-supporting community and residential unit under such relatively luxury
accommodations at the scale excavated. They needed farmers and workers and slaves to support
their life style. Then the Younger Dryas period came. As we discussed earlier, the carrying
capacity of the site was strained and eventually it was reached and then exceeded. As the end of
the large-in-scale cold spell was nearing, and the dry impacts were receding along the Asia Minor
hinterland and the Mediterranean coastal lines, some of the surplus farmers (in farming and
animal husbandry), even proto cattle ranchers and land scale farmers and other skilled workers
in their struggle for survival decided to seek better pastures elsewhere. They simply packed up
and left. Hardly were they aware then that by so doing they were sowing the seeds for Humanity’
greatest adventure – the launching of the Neolithic Revolution. In [1.4] the author outlined the
demic process that this spatial and temporal stepwise out-migration flow entailed. In waves, and
in travelling ever longer distances, by the 5th millennium BC the Near Eastern farmers had
reached the British Isles. It was a very complex flow, with sharp and smooth edges, discontinuous
and continuous at times, occurring in leaps and bounds, with multiple origins and destinations.
The full analytical formulation of this epic, five millennia in duration, flow is still awaiting a full
description. But that complex spatio-temporal flow was not a mere population stock flow. It was
combined with parallel movements by fellow travelers, picked up on the way. It entailed flows of
Culture, Religion, Technology, Architecture and Art. Along with the agriculture related deities of
the Fertile Crescent, evolved versions of Natufian and Sultanian Art and Architecture also
traveled along the continental and maritime routes to North-West Europe. In so doing, they also
evolved. But their roots are found deep into the structures we analyze in this paper, around the
foothills surrounding the Tells of the Levant. Tell Qaramel and Jericho potentially were two major
sources of that flow that shaped the fortunes of Humanity over the ensuing ten millennia.
Figure 5.C.3. Tell Qaramel, lithic finds. They are indicative of the Art and Technology available
in the PPNA/B period in the Upper Levant region of Eurasia. Source: ref. [2.37].
The lithic evidence at TQ. Part of the Archeology of TQ deals with a rich inventory and repertoire
of lithic finds in the site’s different macro layers. A few of these numerous mobile artifacts are
shown in Figures 5.C.1 and 5.C.3. An interesting aspect of the lithic evidence is the relative
plethora of flint (and not obsidian) tools found in situ. Of course, tools (and pottery sherds) are
notorious archeological artifacts, and they must be looked at and interpreted very carefully.
Being mobile items, their origins, manufacturing and transport as well as their artistic veins and
historiography of their successive provenances are largely unknown and quite difficult to trace.
Their value as archeological evidence is far inferior to the corresponding value of immobile
structures and their Architecture. Isotopic evidence of the raw material used might supply
valuable and concrete evidence in regards to the mining location (thus transport links and cultural
as well as socio-economic trade-related histories) of these artifacts’ original part of their
histories. But they can offer little about their overall chronology, making and sequencing in
provenance. Only comparative analyses can supplement and offer some insights into these
artifacts’ provenance. But that part of the narrative is quite partial and a matter of interpretation
of evidence subject to considerable debate. No matter the limitations of Architecture related
evidence, the lithic evidence is subject to much more severe questioning. In regards to the flint
component of the majority of tools found in situ at TQ, a few notes are warranted. TQ is at the
Southern borders of Asia Minor, a source of significant amount of obsidian. On the other hand,
flint sources are further away and thus less accessible than corresponding obsidian sources. It
would had been extremely helpful if the source of the flint tools found in situ at TQ were to be
identified by chemical analysis. To this date, and to this author’s knowledge, their raw material
sources haven’t been identified. Why was flint the raw material the great majority of the tools
found at TQ were made, and not obsidian is a question in need of an answer and till then it
remains an open question. An informative source on flint is ref. [2.16], and on flint and obsidian
and their sources is ref. [2.17]. Since this is intended to be a paper on the Architecture of the site
and not its mobile lithic evidence not much more will be added here on this topic.
Some conclusions from Tell Qaramel. Even a cursory review by a casual not trained in
Architecture reader would recognize that the Architecture and Engineering of the structures
excavated and the Art in the mobile artifacts found at the excavation site of TQ do not share
much with the equivalent ones at GT. Most of all, and besides their morphology and construction
details, they are not of the same scale. They do not contain the megalithic monoliths (orthostats
and pillars) of GT. They do not have almost anything in common with the Art (in iconography and
elaborate detail) carved on the GT stone enclosures’ monolithic megaliths. But the review of the
site at TQ went a step further. The analysis of these structures and the careful recording of their
engineering and architectonic elements allowed for a rough outline of an Evolutionary Theory in
Early Architecture. The examination of the Physical and Human Geography (involving both
Spatial, Economics and Demography) components of the site, allowed also for an interpretation
of the Land Use and Site Plan of the area at the Tell and around it. This analysis hence afforded
the derivation of a socio-cultural scenario of social stratification along with division of labor,
land use specialization, and a proto land values system. Moreover, an explanation of the post-
Younger Dryas event of out-migration of Agriculture and farmers from the Fertile Crescent
towards Europe was offered. It was linked to a social stratification in a hierarchy of socio-
economic classes, to the likely prevailing land ownership patterns, and the reaching of the local
environment’s carrying capacities during the Younger Dryas event and immediately following it.
Relieving that excess capacity of farm labor, once the climate improved after the receding of the
severe Younger Dryas related impacts to the North and West, must have been the push factor
behind the triggering of the large scale and long-term out-migration movement that spread
agriculture, its gods, the derivatives originally of the Natufian and later of the Sultanian
Architectures and Engineering methods and techniques into Western Eurasia, Northern Africa
and elsewhere.
A few notes on archeological sedimentation and stratigraphy. Earlier, the work by Edward Harris
(on the laws of stratigraphy and the associated model) was mentioned. For the interested reader,
and more references, see [2.39] and [2.40]. This is not a paper containing work that is intended
to focus on such subjects. Nonetheless, a few comments are in order, on this very complex topic,
involving a very complex physical and geological process, that of sedimentation and formation of
archeological stratigraphy. To these topics one could add the biological process of sedimentation
described by Charles Darwin as well. See on this subject ref. [2.47]. It acquires additional import,
when Tells are involved and Human Geography, while only vertically dug trenches are dug and
not complete 3-d (horizontal and vertical) discovery is possible - for a host of factors. It is on the
chronological issues associated with the stratigraphy of Tells, and the presence of a very complex
set of factors included in the bundle of forces contributing to sedimentation, that the following
brief comments are made. Tells, to the extent that they are not natural geological hills (a
combination of rock formations and soils Geology), but the product of social and spatial dynamic
processes involving successive strata of human habitation and layers of humanly made and
destroyed structures, demonstrate a complexity which presents significant challenges. This is
simply because, earlier created structures, as a result of either human or naturally occurring
events (for example earthquakes) can fall on top of later built structures. Consequently, they can
violate the basic principle in stratigraphy that has earlier structures laying below later ones.
Depth in stratigraphy may also present the following counterintuitive phenomenon: earlier made
structures may appear much closer to the surface than later made ones. This is especially true
when Tells are involved, the top layer of which can be brought up to the surface as a result of soil
erosion dynamics. Whereas, as human spatial distribution of a central community initially located
at the summit or natural hill slopes high above ground, to avoid flooding among other reasons,
eventually expanded and spread out towards the foothills of the Tell and beyond into the
adjacent flatlands under socio-spatial dynamics, newer communities are found downhill and on
flatlands. As the result of soil erosion however, these flatlands can be filled with sediment
brought downhill from the Tell, thus burying the late structures while revealing the early ones.
In summary, these comments demonstrate why stratigraphic evidence must be interpreted
under a confluence of factors, not all immediately apparent, hence very carefully.
PART 2. Tell El-Sultan: the first Sultanian citadel of the largest ruling elite to date
Brief Introduction. We now switch attention to a site which (due to its lithic evidence) is
referenced by the GT archeologists in the description of GT (the TQ site is not). Since we do not
focus on lithic evidence in this paper but on Architecture and Engineering as well as Human
Geography, a few specific monuments’ Architecture at Tell Es-Sultan (TeS) will be reviewed. They
are: a structure which represents the Sultanian phase in pre-pottery Neolithic Architecture; the
“tower” of Jericho and the Neolithic wall of Jericho. A note at the outset is needed. The Neolithic
wall of Jericho is not the Early Bronze Age wall with the stone revetment, a retaining masonry
wall supporting a mudbrick fortification structure on top of it and having numerous towers,
encircling a spatial expansion of the Neolithic phase of TeS. The Bronze Age wall has been the
source of controversy and confusion due to Biblical references erroneously attributed to it. It is
one of many walls encountered at TeS’s complex stratigraphy.
Figure 6.1. The many excavations at Tell Es-Sultan. #1 is the K. Kenyon Western trench; A-G
are the L. Negri 1997-2000 first stage excavations. Source of diagram: ref. [2.58].
Architecture, Engineering and Human Geography at TeS. References will be made here to the
publications by the archeologist in charge of the most recent excavations at TeS, which was
carried out during the period 19972000 (first stage) and the 2009-2014 dig (during a second
stage), Lorenzo Nigro, see ref. [2.18] and its many webpages. Additional easy accessible material
by other researchers, like for instance the work reported in ref. [2.38] will also be examined and
critiqued. The classical source on Jericho is of course Kathleen M. Kenyon’s reports, ref. [2.41] -
[2.45]. As already noted the archeological work on TeS is not controversy free and many views
expressed are far from being universally accepted in the archeological community for a host of
factors. Although the details surrounding the many Architectures of the TeS site are complex, as
patches of different horizontal collage of spatial patches and vertical layers of stratigraphy
intermingle in a complex web of Archeology, History, Myth, and Architecture, the rough outline
of the Tell is simple and straight forward.
Figure 6.2. Tell Es-Sultan; a Google Earth map of the site in the ancient city of Jericho at about
280 meters below Sea level. The fertile fields that supported the Tell’s various over time social
elites still surround the Hill, especially to the East and South. The main trench dug by archeologist
Kathlyn Kenyon in the 1950s is shown at the Western side. The many trenches dug over the last
century are shown in Figure 6.1, including the trenches dug by Lorenzo Nigro in his in-two-stage
excavations, the 1997 2000 period and the 2009 year of the 2009-2014 period. The Ain Es-
Sultan springs are at the Eastern side of the Tell, just South of center. North is straight up. Source
of the map: the author, from a public domain 12/4/2009 Google Earth map software program.
The archeological outline of TeS could be described as two major phases of Architecture, marked
by two major chronological periods. One stretches through the pre-pottery Neolithic B period;
and another covers the Early Bronze Age, at the Neolithic to the Bronze Age boundary. These two
periods are linked by an almost complete hiatus of significant monumental construction activity
at the Tell. These two boundaries, the 7th millennium transition between pre-pottery Neolithic to
pottery Neolithic, and the circa 2500 BC marker are major points in the Archeology of the Levant
and time markers that define all three of the sites explored in this paper. From an evolutionary
dynamic stand point they can be characterized as follows: A rather simple relatively slow motion
eight millennia long period of construction (the 10500 to 2500 BC frame) was punctuated by fast
moving two early (at the PPNA to PPNB boundary, and the PPNB to pottery Neolithic boundary)
transitions, and a late (the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age, c 2700 – 2500 BC boundary) phases.
It was followed by a barrage of relatively fast three millennia long phase (c 2500 BC 700 AD)
involving turbulent and relatively rapid changes. This study aims at and concentrates on the first
five millennia of that eight millennia long period. The PPNA to PPNB boundary and the Neolithic
to the Bronze Age boundaries were marked also by the build-up of two major walls at Jericho.
An early Neolithic (with roots in the middle 11th millennium BC initial small-in-scale settlement
made out of seasonal residences for pastoral nomads), see ref. [2.62] on this chronology, located
on the Jericho mound, grew in the ensuing two to three millennia to a sizable citadel in the pre-
pottery Neolithic period. TeS was a slowly developing citadel during the 9th to the 7th millennium
BC period, and these dynamics in particular will be the focus of the work here. Eventually, it is
not very clear at what speeds and under what cultural conditions, the community grew in the
post 7th millennium BC and spatially expanded beyond and escaped the confines of the Neolithic
settlement’s masonry wall physical boundary to the East of the mound. By the Early Bronze Age,
the spatially expanded borders had reached spatial limits delineated by a Bronze Age, large-in-
scale wall, the scale of which the Levant (and the Western Eurasia Region) had never seen. It fully
encircled the demographically and spatially exploding community at the citadel, possibly the
largest in the entire Fertile Crescent, as it approached the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age
boundary. On that wall is what most of the work by L. Nigro and his associates concentrated.
However, this aspect of the monument at TeS will not preoccupy the analysis here. Nonetheless,
it must be noted that the 6000 BC to the 2500 BC spatial growth at the Tell didn’t take place on
virgin territory. Prior construction was there, although the full specifications and Architecture of
that construction phase is still unclear and still laying buried under the Tell’s soil. Of course,
Jericho’s Bronze Age wall is what has attracted worldwide attention, mostly due to its Biblical
associations. As it has been amply demonstrated by Archeology, references to it found in the
Hebrew Bible (or the Christian Old Testament) are chronologically inaccurate and largely
legendary. They are not based on concrete and documented historical and archeological
evidence. Here, from the voluminous literature on TeS only selected references will be made to
the extent that they bear directly on the discussion about the Architecture, Engineering and
Human Geography contexts of the Neolithic monuments already mentioned and specifically the
Sultanian Architecture site’s features and milieu.
Many strata of History (at some count more than two dozen distinct layers of Architecture,
Archeology and History) are associated with and meshed at TeS. However, only the earliest 10th
to 7th millennium BC mudbrick and masonry related construction Architecture will be the focus
of this paper. Jericho offers a unique window into a set of complex horizontal collage and vertical
superposition of multiple Architectures. Successive layers and neighboring patches of
construction within a 12-millennium long horizontal and vertical stratigraphy, see [2.19], have
accumulated in time. They have dynamically interacted. They have created at present an
amalgamated in 3-d Tell of about 48,300 square meters in total area, an elongated ellipsoid of
about 140 meters along its minor axis and approximately 345 meters along its major axis at
ground level, and about 45 meters in height. The 48.3 hectares of a mound reveals an
uninterrupted continuum of architectural phases affording us a unique peak into the Evolution
of Humanity’s complex web of Western Eurasian Architecture. TeS and its spatial neighborhood,
which extends all the way down to and encompasses the present modern city, supply an array of
spatio-temporal sequences, culturally varied architectonic specimens that have coalesced over
the millennia, creating a laboratory for studying millennial in time-scale Socio-Spatial Dynamics.
However, from the entire book of Jericho, only the few first pages will be read.
Tell Es-Sultan, Tell Qaramel and Gobekli Tepe. There are numerous similarities (in micro and
macro Climate, Physical and Human Economic, Demographic and Spatial - Geography,
Architecture and Engineering) between TQ and TeS. None of these environmental similarities,
Human Geography conditions, as well as architectonic and engineering equivalences point to
GT’s site as being a place and a time (12th till 9th millennium BC) where and when the
Architectures seen at these two Tells originated. In fact, to the contrary, they all point to these
two Tells (among many other sites in the broader Northern and Eastern sections of the Fertile
Crescent) as being the origins of architectonic construction phases containing preliminary
archetypal designs, morphologies and materials that ended up, in far more sophisticated and
complex configurations and at a much larger scale, involving monolithic megalithic construction
and at a far later date to the type of Architecture we observe at GT. Consequently, we are forced
to conclude that GT is a subsequent (and by a long shot) archeological site, in which the
Architecture, Engineering and Art related influences from both Tells (TQ and TeS) coupled with
the technological advancements of a subsequent time frame (the 6300 -2500 BC Chalcolithic
period) played out.
TQ and TeS comparable features. Physical similarities exist between the two sites, as it will be
shown shortly. Beyond these qualitative and, to an extent also, quantitative similarities there is,
however, a deeper evolutionary chain link between them. The two Tells are such that the far
smaller in scale Tell (TQ) had also an earlier initial construction phase, an element consistent
with evolutionary principles in Architecture and Human Geography regarding the two top
settings in their respective hierarchies. Having satisfied this evolutionary principle, the focus is
now on their specific similarities and difference, both significant. In analyzing their commonalities
and distinctions the first steps are taken in formulating an Evolutionary Theory of Architecture.
First, a review of the two Tells’ major differences.
Whereas, TQ’s architectonic horizontal collage and vertical superposition of states included (a)
the Epipaleolithic (12th millennium BC) structure; (b) the 11th millennium BC and 10th millennium
BC Natufian PPNA structures; and (c) the 9th millennium BC transitional PPNB Architecture (the J-
7, K-7 round structures of Figures 5.A.1,2). Whereas, TQ included the modest in scale but spatio-
temporally nodal 10600 BC structure (“tower 0” of Figure 3) and its horizontal neighboring
structures of Figure 2, as well as its vertical stratigraphic foundations, structure “tower 01”.
Whereas, TQ’s Architecture style throughout these phases changed little, remaining basically a
morphologically homogeneous Natufian Architecture. Whereas, TQ’ life cycle lasted about three
to four millennia. And whereas, TQ is at about 430 meters above Sea level.
All that must be contrasted with the corresponding comparable differing attributes of TeS.
TeS is located at about 280 meters below Sea level. TeS sports in a span of about a millennium in
the PPNA – PPNB boundary (the 8th millennium BC) three distinctly different and functionally as
well as morphologically dis-similar but nodal monuments and Architectures meshed at the site:
(a) the first Jericho masonry wall, see Figure 9; (b) the ‘Jericho tower” (a monument with a current
estimated construction date varying between the 9000 – 7000 BC and as it will be argued it could
in fact be an early 7th millennium BC monument), see Figures 8.a and 8.b; and (c) the 9th to 7th
millennium BC Sultanian community of structures, see Figure 7. It is unclear from the currently
available literature and the various interpretations of the existing physical evidence which was
built first and when exactly, as well as what their function was. This author will argue, on
Architecture based evidence, that the wall preceded (and possibly by as much as a millennium)
the raising of the truncated cone-like tower, and that their functions were multiple. TeS’s life
cycle has lasted for more than ten millennia, assuming an initial sedentary habitation period at
least since the 10th millennium BC possibly earlier (some nomadic habitation at the Tell could
stretch into the middle 11th millennium BC as already noted). The ancient city of Jericho is still
alive to this day - with human activity teaming around the Tell in its immediate environs, as is
cultural conflict, a social characteristic with apparently long legs in History and pre-History there.
Although the Northern mound (TQ) had an earlier start (due to its locational comparative
advantages – closer to the Taurus mountain range, possibly), the Tell Es-Sultan lasted longer and
surpassed TQ in scale, that is, in population and areal size, as well as overall densities.
Now, the accounting of the two Tells’ similarities.
Both settings represent human settlement activity on Tells. Both are close to rivers and fresh
water sources. Both appeared during the Younger Dryas, but flourished after the effects from the
Younger Dryas in their respective regions receded. At the time of its initial phase of construction
(whether it was the ‘wall” or the “tower’ matters little) TeS must have been the dominant setting
in the broader Region’s spatially linked hierarchies of associate settings. And so must have been
the site at TQ (there is no evidence to the contrary). From currently available evidence there is
no reason to argue that this dominance didn’t persist throughout the first couple of millennia,
thus it must have ben durable and not ephemeral. Throughout their life span both Tells acted as
the residential sites of their farming communities’ socio-economic elites. They both served as
proto citadels, the location of centers containing the administrative, religious, economic, and
cultural activities and associated land uses of their respective regions and market areas.
TeS and its three monuments to be analyzed. TeS’ horizontal collage contains a circa 8000 BC
wall, as dated by K. Kenyon, which she refers to as “PPNA construction”, see ref. [2.46]. In reef.
[2.59] p. 235, further specifications of this wall are given, as containing a circa 8300 BC PPNA
community of between 400 and 900 individuals (presumably residing on the mound) having
circular mudbrick homes with plastered floors around circular courtyards. The homes were
made from standardized modular mudbricks. The internal spatial allocation scheme of these
communities has never been described in detail. This author contends that they must had been
spatially distributed so they were forming small communal nuclei around the courtyard (i.e.,
clusters). The entire (social elite forming) community (noting that the vast majority of the region’s
population finding themselves inside the spatial broader market area of the Tell, see Figure 6.2
and Map M, being those farmers working the fields, must had lived in relatively ephemeral
farmhouses outside the community) was surrounded by a masonry irregular dry ashlar wall.
It is in the description of this Neolithic Jericho wall that the differences and controversies
surrounding Jericho’s Archeology commence. This wall was probably built by workers (or slaves)
living outside this wall. The dimensions of that wall are given as: 6 and ½ feet (about two meters)
wide, and 12 feet (four meters) high, see ref. [2.59]. However, in ref. [2.60] p. 180, the height is
listed as half of that (about two meters), as is a 600-meter long (forming an approximate circle of
191 meters, although the actual shape must had been elliptical) perimetric ditch, carved out of
bedrock about 8.2 meters wide and 2.7 meters deep, see also ref. [2.61]. In ref. [2.46] a very
different view is presented of this wall. This view draws from a K. Kenyon graph and wall
description. And this description will be the foundation of this author’s review of its Architecture
and Human Geography aspects, to be discussed in great detail later. No matter what the Neolithic
Jericho wall was actually like, obviously, this is already a very different community and
Architecture (TeS during PPNA) than the community encountered at TQ (during PPNA).
Associated with this massive stone wall is another structure, a massive tower, the so-called
“tower of Jericho”, another landmark of TeS, and another source of controversy in Archeology.
This paper will explore this tower in significant detail, and provide a modified narrative to the
current one(s). What is further of significant importance to this work, which aims at deriving a
Theory of Evolution in Neolithic Architecture, is a critical finding from the excavations at Jericho’s
TeS. A very massive Bronze Age fortification wall made out of mudbricks was encasing a
Neolithic stone wall underneath it, see ref. [2.62] as mentioned by L. Nigro, the archeologist in
charge of the excavations at TeS during the two most recent excavation periods (1997-2000, and
2009-2014) there. We shall explore this finding further later, because, although not exactly
“encasing” but simply laying on top of the revetment stone wall, the fact that a mudbrick wall
sits on top of a stone wall is a very important finding. It is a finding we also come across in
Sultanian residential Architecture, and in need of further analysis, since it points to possibly a
different maybe complimentary, certainly evolutionary use of the revetment.
Given the time periods we now associate with PPNA (9500 BC to 8000 BC) the initial TeS wall
must have been a late PPNA construction and marking a TeS transition to PPNB (7600 BC to 6000
BC). Kenyon also documented that the “wall” was built prior to the “tower” of Jericho, as stated
in ref. [2.38]. However, according to the report in [2,38] the author of a study on the perceived
shadows allegedly cast upon the tower by a nearby hill, it is argued that the tower is a 9000 BC
structure. It will be argued here that this is not possible on Architecture grounds. It will be shown
shortly that the tower of Jericho is a much later structure than the initial Neolithic TeS wall, and
that both are quite later structures than what has been commonly accepted. In fact, the tower
might have been built by a different culture than that which built the initial Neolithic wall (and
that which later constructed houses in the Sultanian style). For sure, there is no evidence to
suggest that the Natufian Architecture was the product of the same culture that applied Sultanian
Architecture in construction. To the contrary, it must be hypothesized that it was not the same.
In Figure 7, the key part of the TeS settlement is shown. It represents the first example (possibly
the origin) of what has since been christened by K. Kenyon as “Sultanian” Architecture. Sultanian
architectonic structures thus seem to have originated at the far larger in scale than TQ human
settlement of TeS. This must not have been a pure coincidence or a haphazard event, as it will
be argued more in depth in a bit. Appearing later in time and on a far greater demographic base,
architectural and engineering knowledge and technological knowhow, as well as abundant
natural, human and land resources in hand, enjoying far more favorable climate at the end of the
Younger Dryas, with elites exercising effective control over greater land areas Tell Es-Sultan as a
site prospered. Innovation is not unexpected under such socio-cultural circumstances.
More on citadels, mounds, and social elites’ socio-spatial dynamics. The Tell is shown at its
current condition in Figure 6.2. Its structures over the millennia were used to house the socio-
economic-cultural elite and upper echelons of the social hierarchy of the time in that region of
the River Jordan Valley. The current great spatial expanse is not that different than that of the
past, ripe for social and economic exploitation. The landscape’s expanse is captured by the size
of the mound and its surrounding land mass. Mound formation and colonization of mounds by
social elites presents the grounds for some interesting socio-spatial dynamics, as already
discussed in the case of TQ. These dynamics will be briefly and further elaborated upon next.
It is demonstratively clear that this elite group in possession not only of the mound but the entire
area surrounding it (and possibly extending its control quite a bit further) possessed and had full
control over the landscape and the masses of slaves, laborers or workers (whatever the social
stratification might had been at the time). Comparing TQ and TeS we derive the following
principle: The greater the Tell, the greater the degree of dominance in space-time. And with this
public display of dominance the elite group at TeS was demonstrating a far greater degree of
confidence in holding onto, and the means to control strategically important and significantly
larger chunks of space and masses of people. But the socio-spatial dynamics involved here are a
bit more complex. The distance above ground, and the space between it and the mases the elite
group wanted to keep under its control, had to be at an optimum level: not too far above or
away, yet not too close to the ground and from the farms and the peasants either. The elites had
to decide to place themselves someplace at the goldilocks of the spatial (regional) expanse.
Mounds of the TeS and TQ were ideal for the scale of dominance and size of the elites and their
market areas. At Tell Es-Sultan, and given its scale, the elite sought to enhance the image of that
dominance by the construction of the “tower of Jericho”. It must had been one of the key reasons
why this structure appeared then and there. Of course, this must not had been the only reason.
Monuments of that size and scale (given the multiple and significant in quantity resources
required to build them) must have had many other reasons pegged and riding on them, to socially
justify the spending of resources required for their construction and long-term survival. As it was
argued in [1.4] by the author (in another context, that involving the megalithic Neolithic
monuments of the British Isles) there must had been an inter-generational social contract
involved, whereby a multi-century discounting of expected social benefits and costs analysis
based calculus would render such enterprises feasible. Although, none of the three nodal
monuments at TeS are multigenerational in their planning and construction, they certainly did
have multigenerational impacts, for sure not having escaped their builders and users attention.
Figure 7. Tell Es-Sultan foundations of a circa 6800 BC PPNB structure, what is being referred to
as the “Sultanian” style Architecture (of the 8300 – 6800 BC period). Source of photo: ref. [2.20].
Jericho’s “tower” must have been an enlargement of the elite’s spatial dominance, possibly an
added “aggrandizment” on the mound. It may have been a necessary step to take, if their social
control was brought under question by the masses in the Valley or other outside groups. But the
Tell (any Tell) continued to be the elites’ citadel. Their function through their various
architectonic and socio-historical phases throughout the Neolithic, down to the Bronze and Iron
Ages and onto the Islamic conquest of the region remained constant. It is not to be lost the point
that the Hill of the ancient city of Jericho is currently being referred to as “the Hill of the Sultan”.
The process by which the socio-economic elites may have been motivated to colonize a Tell and
the reasons behind it might be quite a bit evident and far clearer (the “tower of Jericho” assisting
along those lines) at TeS. The reader must be rest assured that this was also behind the takeover
of the original mound and rise of the settlement at TQ, although at an earlier date and at a far
more modest scale. It is within this context that the “tower of Jericho” and the settlement of Tells
can best be understood. In this discussion, it should not escape attention that there are also other
factors motivating the ruling elites to occupy high grounds, and as already noted flooding is one
of them. We shall see how this factor entered the calculus for building the initial wall of Jericho.
Physical Geography of TeS. As already mentioned, similar to TQ, and in contrast to Gobekli Tepe,
TeS is located close to a river, about four miles from the Western banks of the River Jordan given
the river’s current course. Being in the Rift Valley and about 280 meters below Sea level, the local
ground, in its macroscale, slopes from East to West as one moves from the depths of the Rift
towards the Mediterranean Coast. About eight kilometers (five miles) South-East of the Tell is
the Dead Sea. The Tell’s distance from the current Mediterranean coastal line is about 47.5 miles
(in a straightly drawn airline distance measurement). The site is situated at the exact
Southernmost Asian borders of the Younger Dryas Impact space, see Figure 1.2. The building of
the Sultanian Architecture, see Figure 7, a structure we shall look at in this paper in some detail,
is found at the Tell, and was initially excavated by K. Kenyon. All monuments we shall examine
were put in place at the end of the Younger Dryas, which occurred at around 9600 BC, and some
structures date quite a bit later than that. The site’s geological coordinates are approximately
3152’16”N, 3526’39”E. It is located about (in airline distances) 340 miles South, South-West of
TQ, and approximately 410 miles South-West of GT. The all-important fresh water springs are at
the Eastern side of the Tell.
Human Geography and TeS. In the Theory of Spatial Interaction, within the broader fields of
Human (Economic and Spatial) Geography and Regional Science, see references to these fields in
the series of papers {1.1] – [1.3] on GT and in [1.4] and [1.5] on other spatio-temporal contexts,
the author has pointed out that, within a Central Place Theory context, spatial interactions occur
in flows (cultural, population, economic, transportation, trade etc.) in a cluster of settings
determined by a Newtonian Physics based law: the flow’s intensity is directly proportional to
masses at the origin and destination of the flow among nodes in a cluster, and inversely
proportional to some function of distance (inaccessibility). Thus, in a spatial interaction context,
in which temporal diffusion processes are also incorporated, hence in an Evolutionary context,
distances among the three settings are of essence. Similarly, distances are of essence among the
many other settings considered in the paper ref. [1.2] by the author, in where the Central Place
Theory context of a 6th millennium BC GT centered cluster was presented. Similar contexts can
be derived for the much later urban agglomerations of Uruk and Ur in Lower Mesopotamia, two
settings that will enter a bit the analysis in a later section of the paper.
Overview of the three monuments in focus at TeS. Much is in dispute, and little enjoys any high
degree of confidence in the Archeology of TeS. What we shall address here are a few nodal
monuments in this complex array and interplay of archeological micro and macro stratigraphy
and layers at the Tell. It should be noted again, that the trenches K. Kenyon dug in the 1950s offer
a vertical view (as do the recent excavations by Nigro) and supply selected glimpses of the Tell’s
stratigraphy. However, they do not offer a horizontal perspective, a full collage at the
monumental site’s different layers. This is a reality, and possibly a necessity, which comes at a
considerable archeological cost: the impossibility of obtaining a holistic view of what is there,
since a great deal of that collage is not visible. Thus, it might be impossible to detect what has
transpired back at the 9000 – 6000 BC period, and even prior to that, at TeS, as this part of the
history is hidden below the Hill’ soil.
The three specific monuments at TeS that will preoccupy our analysis here tell a story because of
their Architectures. They set the upper limits as to the timing of GT, acting as architectonic
barriers (terminus post quem) on the dates that GT could have appeared in the architectonic
world of the Neolithic. One is the monument of Figure 7, the foundations and a few above ground
layers of a set of adjoining structures of a PPNB edifice explored by K. Kenyon in the 1950s, and
going by a moniker coined by her. The structure, see ref. [2.20] is now considered to be of the
so-called Sultanian type, a type of Architecture following the earlier Natufian Architectural style
of PPNA. It is an Architecture style that has taken its name from this very structure. It must be
noted that this specific structure is, erroneously, referred to in ref. [2.63], the 2009 report by the
archeological team at TeS and in Figure 4 of that report, as a Bronze Age construction. This dating
may be referring to the surrounding wall, but certainly not to the mudbrick cum masonry block
foundations structure, a Sultanian structure par excellence. The second structure to be analyzed
here is the, by far more famous and glamorous, so-called “tower of Jericho” that much has been
written and said about (mostly historically and archeologically inaccurate). Two photos of this
structure are shown in Figure 8.a, with an informative close up photo of its structure in Figures
8.b and 8.c, and a photo of its interior shaft containing a staircase shown in Figure 8.d. An even
closer up photo of the tower’s masonry construction is shown in Figure 10. Finally, the third
structure that will be analyzed comprise a segment from the remnants of the first masonry wall,
one of the so-called “walls of Jericho”, shown in the photo of Figure 9. It is possibly the oldest of
all masonry structures excavated thus far at TeS, the ancient Jericho.
Sultanian Architecture. Two are the distinct characteristics of this architectonic style, which
prevailed in Jericho and initially appeared during the 8300 7300 BC and succeeded the local
Natufian Architecture. A late specimen of this Architecture, circa 6800 BC, is shown in Figure 7.
The style is characterized by the use of multiple materials involving a mix of modular
(standardized) mudbricks on top of modest in size blocks of limestone masonry foundations.
However, may be the most important feature of this Architecture is the rectangular shape in the
floor plans of these structures, shape that implies some type of standardization in construction
and mass production of spatial cluster attached units type Architecture going far beyond the
individual modular mudbrick as it is now recorded on the entire structure. Mudbricks as materials
for construction are a combination of loam (that includes clay), sand, water and a binding agency,
usually straw, all being the abundant easily available natural resources of the Region. Of interest
are also a number of site plan features, entailing possible blueprint implications for this particular
floor plan design. Current archeological evidence seems to suggest that his settlement could be
the innovator of such design, a blueprint-replicator with a specimen shown in the structure of
Figure 7. Another feature is the location it occupies within its environs. Finally, the areal and
population stock size of the community housed there, and the resulting relatively high density
of residential uses are all topics that will be expanded upon next.
The Architecture style we are about to analyze was not the first (or only) Architecture found in
situ. At the nearby site of Ain El-Sultan, close to the springs, Natufian Architecture coexisted with
it, as to the West of this site is where the structure in Figure 7 is located. The walls rest on flat
mid-size (about half a meter long) limestone boulders, and are laid in a series of standardized
mudbrick (bricks made out of sun-dried clay mixed with straw quite likely produced within
wooden containers) in almost equal width and height layers. These layers, possibly reaching two
to two and a half meters in height, in some instances, formed dividing walls separating both
interior residential spaces, as well as individual residential units. Possibly, larger scale edifices
(palaces and temples) were constructed in the same construction manner as well. Kenyon reports
the finding of a “shrine” within these compounds. The height of each individual structure must
had been proportional to the thickness of the walls (at about a fifth to a sixth ratio) with enough
strength not to raise issues of structural stability. The late versions of this PPNB era Architecture,
circa 6800 BC, and the buildings in Figure 7, contain floors having terrazzo style surface made
from pinkish lime. This finding is extremely important in placing GT in its proper chronological
perspective, as such terrazzo type floor surfaces is encountered there (as is the case with Nevali
Cori’s Temple). Rectangular rooms surround a central courtyard, and this is another design
innovation in PPNB Neolithic Architecture. It is recalled that the earlier Natufian Architecture
structures at TeS, the circular mudbrick houses on the top of the Tell had mud based plastered
finishing floors. This feature of interior dressing is indicative of a stage when some advanced level
in both Architecture and Engineering constructions had been reached. Moreover, Geometry now
becomes an impressive feature in the Architectural form, where sharp edges and rectangles
mesh in their yellow Earth hue colors with the natural curves of the surrounding sand containing
hills of the local landscape. Architectonic aesthetics start to set into the design of homes and in
a clustering system of structures. The steps of small staircases shown in the photo of Figure 7,
demonstrate an ability to functionally and aesthetically join different levels of living spaces. Roofs
were made out of wooden beams supporting a mix of plant branches and leaves mixed with dry
mud, offering good insulation and some protection from the elements and inclement weather.
Rectangular shapes in Sultanian Architecture succeeded the apse and arc, as well as the circular
shapes of Natufian Architecture. This brought about a more rational and utilitarian use of interior
spaces. But it also provided for standardization in construction since the wall of a structure
could act as the separating wall of a neighboring structure as well. Initial steps towards a
standardization in residential construction were taken, and a new drastically different
architectonic style, pegged to that innovation, had come into existence. This particular
innovation was possibly the single most important, one must characterize it as revolutionary,
innovation in construction brought about by the new style of Sultanian Architecture.
Figure 8.a. Tell Es-Sultan, the so-called “tower of Jericho” at left, showing recent excavations
at the base. These excavations show that the ground beneath the tower is not culturally sterile.
See text regarding its Architecture (form and possible uses, functions). Source of photo is on it.
It was a very successful style. We see the Sultanian style becoming now the norm of constructing
entire communities on the basis of such residential, and quite possibly administrative and
religious, design. Catalhoyuk’s PPNB Architecture is an application of this type of rectangular
standardized design in residential community development and building activity. We encounter
such rectangular design also at Nevali Cori. Were the last two cases the adopters of a spatio-
temporally diffused construction innovation that first occurred in Tell es-Sultan? Possibly this was
the case, since Jericho was the major setting in the Levant at the time. This Human Geography
based conclusion seems to be consistent with K. Kenyon’s view, who coined the term “Sultanian”
Architecture. Was it possible, however, that this design was independently derived at these three
locations? Or was the residential settlement at the Tell of Catalhoyuk the originator? In [1.1],
[1.2], and [1.3] the author argued that the Architecture of Catalhoyuk preceded the settlement
at Nevali Cori, and certainly its temple phase. Thus, the issue here is, which one was first,
Catalhoyuk or Tell Es-Sultan?
Map M. City of Jericho, from Google Earth maps. Taken on 12/4/2009 from an altitude of about
24,300 feet (8,000 meters) above ground level. The ground is at 840 feet (280 meters) below sea
level. The TeS is at 10 o’clock from the center of the modern town, and about one mile (1.6 km)
away. The dimensions of the map are approximately 5x3 miles (8x5 km). The spatial extent may
indicate that TeS probably had a subsidiary sub-center (a smaller human settlement) someplace
between it and the SE corner of the map, a location with access to River Jordan and the Dead
Sea. Vulnerability from the East (the Jordan River valley) is evident. Source: the author.
Of course, besides Archeology, Architecture has some input in the deliberations and in resolving
this question. Both, employed plastering by mud to finish the interior walls and floors. This was
the initial phases of interior spaces dressing of the Sultanian interior Architecture. At the late
PPNB phase of the compound in Figure 7, the floors’ dressing was terrazzo style from lime
powder. But, Catalhoyuk’s mudbrick residential sector was multi-level, where residential units
were vertically linked and accessed from the terraces. Its initial interior space dressing was just
plaster from mud, and later the floors carried terrazzo type covering. The high-rise building type
construction at Catalhoyuk, notwithstanding the primitive state of its interior spaces, must be
considered an evolution of the single story residential of Tell Es-Sultan initial phase, used
possibly to house a community less affluent than that at TeS.
Figure 8.b. The Tell Es-Sultan “tower of Jericho” structure. At the top of the truncated cone-like
structure, the stairway shaft (entry into and exit from an underground level) is shown. The
stairway and its interior structure is in Figure 8.d. Source of the photo: ref. [2.21].
This author hence finds that K. Kenyon was justified in calling this style, “Sultanian” type
Architecture. Strong similarities in their Architectures, given the current state of knowledge from
archeological excavations, seem to imply that there was an originator, and that originator was
the culture who occupied TeS at around the middle of the 9th millennium BC (approximately in
the 8300 – 7400 BC period), see ref. [2.49]. Since archeological finds have established that
Catalhoyuk is a settlement of the 7500 – 5600 BC time period, see documentation in [1.1] and
[1.2], the architectonic evidence seems to support the archeological evidence in this case.
Moreover, it points to a potential difference in the average wealth (measured as an index of
domestic product) generated by the inhabitants of these two early Neolithic human settings.
By the mid of the 10th millennium BC, and on the basis of the currently available archeological
evidence, it is estimated that Jericho’ citadel was the home of about 70 households, see the three
documents cited in ref. [2.50]. The population base of this count at about five persons per
household implies a total population of the Tell (the total population size of the elite group of the
culture that resided in the entire area of Jericho, in effect TeS’ market area) at the time to have
been about 350 individuals. At a rate of elite to total population of about 10%, this count
corresponds to a community of about 3500 to 4000 individuals, a relatively large farming
community at the end of the Younger Dryas. Arable land to the North, East and South of the Tell
is about thirteen square kilometers, see map M below. That count in turn corresponds to an
average gross residential density of about 270 persons per square kilometer, a relatively high
count for that Era.
There is no compelling evidence so suggest that the Demographics or Economics of the area and
its carrying capacity to employ and sustain the labor force and its residential size significantly
changed in the two succeeding millennia. Agriculture production and technologies did progress
in the course of these two millennia. Possibly, any appearing at the time excess labor supply was
absorbed by the out-migration of farmers to the rest of the Eurasian space, under one of the
greatest outflow movement of population and technological knowhow in Human History: the
movement West, South and East that saw Agriculture, its gods and Architectures spread
throughout that Region of the World (Eurasia and Northern Africa). As it can be seen in Figure 7,
the Sultanian community (the elite’s residential quarters) were surrounded in part by a masonry
wall. It is not clear that this particular wall is a continuation of the original masonry wall of Figure
9. This is the first instance we come across of a community cluster being surrounded by a wall,
being gated. It seems to be an evolved version of the original wall, thus not a part of it and
subsequent in chronology. The purpose of the original TeS wall is debated, with flood prevention
and defense being two dominant theoretical explanations. The surviving section of this modest
wall isn’t either long enough, strong enough, or high enough to allow for a clear answer regarding
its intended use.
It is unknown how many times this wall has been repaired and by whom, as it is unknown when
was it first put in place. But it characterized by a distinct Architecture that allows us to place it
(as it has survived in its last modification) in some context. Its three surviving layers are made out
of small to mid-size limestone boulders, in somewhat regular dry ashlar style. Regularity in its
ashlar construction technique seems to indicate that its dating must be subsequent not only to
the date of the Sultanian structures it partially surrounds, but it also must be a significantly later
construction (possibly of the late 7th millennium BC or later) when compared to the surviving
section of a wall which is the first masonry wall, the Neolithic wall, the youngest among all of
Jericho’s walls, shown in Figure 9. The reader must keep in mind that this is not the famous
Bronze Age wall. It will be the subject of analysis and some discussion in the last subsection of
this Part, after a review of the structure that is known as the “tower of Jericho” is supplied next.
It must be kept in mind that this is the start of the Ubaid period of Lower Mesopotamia, a period
when large scale conflicts appeared in the historical and archeological record in that region.
These topics will be explored a bit later.
Figure 8.c. Tower of Jericho, masonry detail: different size boulders in dry ashlar, irregular
leveling construction. The detail shows (at lower right) how the wall and the tower intersect, as
the two bodies’ surfaces interact. That higher tower and its partial “covering” of the wall implies
that at this section of the wall pre-existed and the tower followed. Source of photo: ref. [2.48].
The “tower of Jericho”: a multi-purpose megalithic structure. Much has been written about this
monument, by many, and for many reasons. This is also the case for the last monument to be
addressed here, the Neolithic Jericho’s wall. No part of that voluminous and controversial, as well
as conflicting literature on the tower will be repeated or reviewed here. Instead, the focus will
be on a powerful innovation hidden inside this wall, its staircase, an innovation that seems to
have escaped analysts’ attention. What then will be the angle and aim of approaching this
structure is the goal of tying it to the architectural tradition of the early Neolithic, namely the
Natufian Architecture. This structure and its staircase will be viewed and considered as an
evolution of an architectonic style already extensively analyzed here, a post Natufian
construction, branching out of the mature Natufian style but at a differing direction than the
Sultanian style. Here one is confronted with a bifurcation of styles, a speciation process. In this
context, one might ponder its connections (if any) to the subsequent distinctly different
architectonic style that emerged in this region, the purely Sultanian style Architecture. In so
doing, one may attempt to place this structure in a time framework, and examine whether the
9000 BC construction date suggested by the authors (R. Barkai, R. Liran) of work reported in ref.
[2.38], or the generally suggested dating of 8000 – 7000 BC (a dating which K. Kenyon has
proposed), see ref. [2.56], are valid. Or whether (as it will be argued it is very likely) an even later
date is more appropriate for the tower of Jericho. Parenthetically, and since shadows were
brought up, through ref. [2.38], this author must mention that indeed shadows do play an
important part in monumental architectonic design, and especially so in monuments of the
Neolithic. A number of papers have been written by this author and a number of others on the
role that shadows played in the design of monuments during the last six millennia of the BC Era,
and the interested reader might search for these papers in the references section of the papers
listed in sites mentioned under Note 2 at the end of the paper. Since the role of shadows does
not directly enter the analysis of this paper, these references are not cited here.
In discussing any monument, ancient or modern, specific questions must be addressed, such as:
why was a particular monument located at the exact location it is found. This is a question
especially pertinent for the post Epipaleolithic the Era broadly referred to as the Neolithic (the
period between 12000 BC to about the 2500 BC), and also during both the Bronze Age (2500 BC
to 1500 BC) and the Iron Age (the period between 1500 BC to the Greek Classical period, circa 5th
century BC). It is critical, because (among other factors) it is a period in which the number of
monuments in existence was relatively small and their density in space far below what it is at
present. Hence, the location of a monument to be erected then was not as much tied to the
location of a prior monument or monuments (as it is the case when the density of monuments
increased in subsequent time periods). Two other specific questions must be asked: why does a
specific monument (like for example, the Jericho tower) have the dimensions that it does (a
question related to the monument’s scale); why does it have the design specifications that it does
(a question tied to the monument’s morphology). Associated with these basic questions, a host
of others do of course follow. Like for instance, what culture built it; what were the initially
intended uses and who were ultimately their users; if done in phases, what were they and when
did they occur. These are some of the questions to be answered. Some of these key questions
will be addressed here, to the extent that they have not been satisfactorily addressed before in
the existing literature, for the tower of Jericho.
In pondering the size of the Jericho’s tower, the key question becomes what was Jericho’s
population size at the time – since the two sizes are related. It is unknown of course, what was
the exact size of the TeS in the 9000 BC 7000 BC period. Earlier, some rough estimates were
produced on the population size (and density) of the settlement. Obviously, the intended users
of the tower must had been more numerous than in any other settlement anywhere within the
market area of the TeS site and within the broad Region hierarchies’ core cities, simply because
at no other site of that era in that region do we come across such a monumental construction.
The presence of the Neolithic Jericho wall seems to also lend support to that conclusion. By
inspecting the current location of the tower on the mound, we find it to be quite close to the
very center (the barycenter in fact) of the Tell. Hence, one of its functions (purpose) must had
been to mark an important and distinct, from a geometric viewpoint, location on the mound.
Defining such a point was not of course the only (or possibly major) aim the builders of the tower
had in mind at the time. Undoubtedly, many other functions and uses were to be made of this
large in scale enterprise and building project. Some of these uses we may be able to identify at
present. Many of their real aims we may not be able ever to recount, since entering the creative
minds of these peoples and cultures or fully recording the then prevailing socio-cultural
conditions might be an impossible task. What one can say with some degree of certainty is that
these functions and uses constituted a bundle, containing enough social benefits to overcome
the considerable socio-economic costs to building it at the time of its construction. In that bundle
Art-related (it could be the base of a sculpture composition long gone), economic (a place to
assemble and trade, a proto agora type forum), ritual-religious (the scene and platform of
ceremonies), defense and display of dominance related, political (a platform for the ruler/priest
addressing an assembly of people at the ground level, the act of appearing from the shaft and
climbing the stairway, see Figure 8.d, before addressing the masses could be a spectacle), could
be a few of the many possible uses and functions of this tower.
Unknown is whether this tower stands where some prior monument was there, possibly built by
a prior culture than that who built the tower. The digging shown in Figure 8.a seems to indicate
that it isn’t built on culturally sterile ground or bedrock. Be that as it may, its current form is
extraordinary. The Mathematics of the tower’s form are of considerable interest. Their
complexity might be an indication of the structure’s age. It is not a fully stand-alone monument.
It doesn’t contain any large-in-scale monoliths within it. But it is a large-in-scale megalithic
structure nonetheless. It touches the Jericho’s original masonry wall. The structure has the
morphology of a truncated cone-like geometric shape. In detecting which structure was build
first, the tower or the wall, one must look at the manner in which the two bodies interact,
touching each other. The intersection of a plane with a cone presents interesting geometric and
construction features and detail, and the mastery of these details is an indication of
advancements in Architecture and also markers for dating the structures. It seems that the wall
was put in place first, as its shape and surface isn’t compromised by the addition of the tower;
whereas the tower’s shape (and outer surface) is compromised and it seems to “cover” part of
the wall. Furthermore, the two bodies’ interacting surfaces are of different material: the adobe
finishing of the interior part of the wall touches the exterior surface of the masonry tower with
the exposed blocks. Hence, the dating of the crudest material (the constituent element of the
wall) must be acting as a temporal upper bound and a terminus post quem for the tower.
Figure 8.d. Tower of Jericho, the interior of the staircase. This modest shaft’s Architecture is of
great significance, as it carries far reaching implications for the Neolithic monumental
Architecture of the entire Eurasia. Lintels were used for the first time in forming the roof of the
shaft, a narrow passage, containing the staircase of approximate 8ox80 centimeters. These are
possibly the first lintels used in any human monument. However, the presence of lintels must be
construed as evidence that this is a later than the 8000 -7000 BC structure (as claimed by K.
Kenyon). The staircase contains 22 steps, reaching about three quarters down the tower’s height.
The rough masonry ashlar structure of the side walls is noted. Source of photo: ref. [2.48].
Another strong indication for a later construction for the tower is the lintels (the flat stones that
cover the stairway). It is not a usual architectonic element encountered in 9th millennium BC
Architecture. Lintel is a feature we come across far later in construction and Engineering, and
specifically in the 4th millennium BC Maltese Architecture, where significant and architectonically
advanced shaping of orthostats and pillars is observed, along with a sophisticated lintels’
dressing. Earlier (5th millennium BC) use of lintels (with a much rougher dressing) is encountered
in the various dolmens and in the 4th millennium BC passage tombs of Eurasia. Considered in
isolation, this architectonic component may indicate a much later than 9000 BC (the claim of rf.
[2.38]) and later than the 8000 7000 BC date (which is the date of the tower’s construction
claimed by K. Kenyon) for the construction of the tower. The careful look into the tower’s
staircase in combination of the megalithic scale of the structure require a revision and re-setting
of Jericho tower’s chronological narrative.
Furthermore, what might be the determining factor for dating anew the tower is its morphology.
That morphology will be analyzed a bit more extensively now. It is a truncated cone-like 8.5
meters high structure (h=8.5), with an approximately 9-meter in diameter circular base (and thus
a radius R=4.5) and an about 7-meter diameter almost circular top surface (hence a radius
r=2.25). The tower’s walls are about 1.5 meters thick, see ref. [2.51]. See Note 5 for more on the
tower’s interior and its efficiency index. The monument, assuming it can be approximated well
enough by a truncated cone under these measurements, has a total volume V given by the
geometric formula V = {h(R^2 + r^2 + Rr)/3} = 315.7 m^3. Of course, the actual total volume of
the tower is less than three hundred cubic meters, as it is somewhat hollow on the inside. But
there are no detailed architectural sections (or 3-d diagrams from the tower having been
scanned, to the author’s knowledge, at present). Thus, it is not possible at this time to derive an
exact volume calculation of the tower’s morphology. What we have though is an upper bound of
about three hundred cubic meters. It is estimated, see ref. [2.53], that it took about 100 men 100
labor days to build the tower. Under this estimate, the 300 cubic meters of volume would be
constructed at a rate of about 33.3 man-days per cubic meter. If quarrying, transport, modest
dressing and placing the masonry blocks (actually rough boulders) in situ are included, then this
might be a good guestimate. This guestimate of course does not include the pre-construction
planning and management and political decision-making process, required even at that period
for such a megalithic monumental construction. It would also require some accounting
capabilities of an unprecedented for the time in question scale and mathematical sophistication.
By any measure the Jericho tower is a major megalithic construction, although not a monolithic
based megalithic construction. What can be said with certainty is that the truncated cone form
of this megalithic structure is not an 8000 -7000 BC shape and undertaking. The current
archeological record has offered no evidence that architects of the 8000 -7000 BC Neolithic were
capable of conceiving such complex geometric structures. Not only isn’t there in Architecture
such shape found elsewhere in this or any other region of Eurasia, but moreover, it can be added
that such truncated cone structures, one does not encounter also in any Art or mobile artifact of
that period or earlier either. Consequently, this date must be questioned on the basis of the
Architecture and Art (as well as Mathematics - Algebra and Geometry) of the time. Truncated
cones (in Geometry as well as in Art and Architecture) must have become instruments of design
after the whole cone structure appeared as a distinct recognizable shape in the Neolithic.
Figure 9. Section of the original masonry wall at Tell Es-Sultan, a part of the array of various
“Jericho walls” found there. Possibly, it is the oldest massive masonry construction at TeS, a linear
or arc in shape structure. The large in size block at the lower left of the photo is an exception to
an otherwise mid to small-sized boulders-based masonry construction. The modest in both
thickness and height wall follows the natural ground contours. Source of photo: ref. [2.22].
This is an argument based on the degree of complexity involved in the two schemata and the
principle that in the Evolution of Form, simpler structures must have preceded more complex
structures, as is the principle that in structures of identical shape, the smaller size structure
must had preceded the larger in scale. From an Engineering viewpoint, opting for a cone-like
shape for the tower (rather than a much simpler cylindrical but more massive structure) could
have been dictated by an effort to more effectively deal with the lateral forces generated by an
8.5-meter high structure on the supporting walls of the stairway. An efficient bearing of vertical
weight load on the lintels, and easing the lateral forces exerted on the staircase’s side walls is
attained by the conic form of the structure. The very presence of the stairway and its shape can
be seen from the same Engineering standpoint as a load relieving mechanism. It shelters an area
from excessive weight, and the resulting lack of loads could be seen as alleviating the forces
exerted on the structure’s walls and most importantly upon its foundations.
Figure 10. Tell Es-Sultan. The construction detail of the structure called the “tower of Jericho”.
Masonry dry ashlar irregular blocks and small stones plus mudbrick with mud filaments was the
way that the exterior surface of the monument was finished and dressed. This is in sharp contrast
to the manner in which the masonry (including the two sidewalls, roof and steps) staircase (see
Figure 8.d) was enclosed. Source of the photo: ref. [2.21].
There is little doubt that the tower of Jericho is an evolution of Natufian Architecture. The round
masonry construction found in Natufian morphology of residences and public building during the
Natufian period is the archetypal design of the tower, and the evolution of cylindrical 3-d shapes
into conical forms. But the leap from two meters in height, partially inground Natufian cylindrical
home to a tower of this magnitude and shape is a significant evolutionary step. Granted, the
dynamics of innovation (in Architecture or any other field) aren’t always smooth, continuous and
moving in a straight line. They occur in leaps and bounds, they contain discontinuities and sharp
jumps, and in general they are characterized by nonlinear segments. However, in examining time
spans of millennia, and regions of great spatial extent, these discontinuities and nonlinearities
smoothen out and one may approximate trends with relative ease without violating sequencing.
Broad, simple and clear patterns emerge as the detail is overtaken hidden in the big picture, the
tree is lost in the forest, and the eye moves further up and away from the specific scene, event
and place in time. So, one comes to recognize that this tower is also unique in the architectural
menu of the period for any region in Eurasia, for its large scale. As a design scheme, it remained
an isolated event, not replicated or reproduced anywhere and at any scale. It is not encounter in
Neolithic Architecture, in either shape or size, till the masonry truncated cone structures of the
Helladic space, of Cyclopean megalithic scale, see ref. [2.52] with their construction estimated to
have taken place during the late 3rd to early 2nd millennium BC. This narrative draws from the
tower’s exterior morphology. Its interior staircase and lintels outline a very different story, and
point to a very different direction. That interior staircase, Figure 8.d, to a very large degree and
scale had far reaching consequences than the tower’s morphology. The first lintels laid on top of
this modest stairway and the passage they created point to the widely observed and for a long-
term period practiced monumental Architecture over the entire Eurasia from the 5th millennium
BC to the Bronze Age period: it launched the Era of dolmens and the passage tombs of Eurasia.
Dating of the Jericho tower must also take under account the relatively rough state of the
masonry ashlar structure at its exterior surface, see Figure 10. The highly irregular layers of
stones, and the significant variation in the blocks’ size (from pebbles, to small stones, to medium
size boulders) seems to indicate a relatively primitive stage of megalithic ashlar masonry
construction. Such is the state of the art in stone enclosures we observe at the PPNA stage of
residences at TQ’s Natufian Architecture, and especially the transitional PPNA to PPNB TQ
Natufian style. However, it does not necessarily follow that the Jericho tower is a temporal
neighborhood of the Natufian PPNB transitional TQ structures evolving Architectures. The PPNA
“tower 0” at TQ and the Jericho tower are of a very different scale, and quite different
morphology. There is no reason to deny that the TQ Architecture evolved into the Jericho tower.
But that was a quantum leap type evolutionary step, thus very likely a significant time distance
separated them. Their differences in scale and morphology must be inversely proportional to the
architectonic evolutionary speed at work, within that evolutionary branch. The size of the TQ
structures increased quite modestly over a period of about three millennia. From six meters in
diameter (TQ, - “tower 0”) to a nine-meter in diameter (Jericho tower) must had taken a good
two plus millennia, considering both the scale and morphology accompanying developments.
Parenthetically, calling the TQ structures “towers” constitutes, given the above discussion, clearly
a misnomer. A “proto tower” designation it would had been a far more appropriate term.
This historiography and architectonic narrative might point to a very late 8th millennium BC
possibly an early to very possibly a middle 7th millennium BC tower construction at TeS, by a
culture that utilized certain basic architectonic components of an earlier Natufian culture at the
region, but significantly improved it in terms of megalithic (8.5-meter high) construction, by
employing new methods in Engineering (lintels) and Mathematics (truncated cone) and thus by
creating a new branch of Architecture. In a race for heights Gobekli Tepe’s enclosures didn’t
break the record set by the Jericho tower at the (likely) 7th millennium BC mark. GT’s 6th
millennium BC 7-meter tall structures however broke another record, as they became monolithic
– that being their contribution to Architecture’s evolution (among other features added then).
The fact that this Jericho type of a tower is not encountered in later architectonic specimens
might be an indication that the culture responsible for its building didn’t survive long – an
interesting feature pointing to monuments of a grand scale as being leading indicator for a
culture’s decline, and a lagging indicator of a culture’s economic growth stage. The topic, the
extent to which the magnitude of a society’s monumental Architecture is connected to a society’s
stage of growth is a theme this author has addressed in prior publications.
The possible fact that the builders of Jericho’s tower didn’t last long or propagated their ware,
could also imply that the associated settlements’ sizes never reached the Jericho population size.
However, it remains a basic question: how could a culture that had advanced to a considerable
degree, and to the point that it could effectively mount an enterprise of such sophistication and
scale, and which mastered such significant and considerable innovation and construction
Engineering detail by the middle of the 7th millennium BC, was not able to last long. This
seemingly contradictory evidence must be weighed in gauging the monument’s more precise
construction date.
TeS and the Neolithic wall of Jericho. Last, the ancient (and first) Neolithic wall which was
excavated by K. Kenyon in the 1950s is briefly analyzed. The reader should not confuse it with
the much later (during the Early Bronze Age) built “revetment wall” at Tell Es-Sultan. Various
dates, structures, and narrative on these walls (and a number of others present on the Tell
structures) abound. The modest in both height and thickness masonry Neolithic wall follows the
gently sloping and undulating ground surface. However, the constituent elements of this wall
(and all others) are not exactly crystal clear. The reader is directed to a number of references,
where the maze of fortifications at TeS is addressed by different individuals, all stating ‘facts’
about the original wall at the Tell and a number of other walls, as if they are absolutely certain
about these ‘facts’. Of course, there is no agreement among all of these analysts and that includes
the various archeologists of the Tell, as well. These various narratives create considerable
confusion to the unfamiliar reader, and this is especially so regarding the Jericho’ original
Neolithic wall. One is not exactly sure as to what precisely is looking at, observing any segment
of any fortification at TeS. Here’s a sample of fourteen articles, see [2.59] - [2.72], in which this
confusion reigns supreme. The analysis here will attempt to selectively integrate the common
components found in them all, and produce (by mostly relying on K. Kenyon’s narrative) a
coherent interpretation, without of course claiming perfect accuracy and/or infallibility.
This first masonry Neolithic Jericho wall structure has been interpreted as being either a
defensive mechanism or a flood preventing structure. However, a number of peculiar aspects of
this “wall” seem to go counter to either one or both of these readings and interpretations. First
of all, this structure is set on top of the mound, and almost at its very center, on a North-South
(actually a slightly North-East to South-West) axis, see K. Kenyon’s drawing on p. 115 of ref. [2.73],
Figure 5.5. The relatively short section of it uncovered, shown in Figure 9, represents a line or a
slightly curving arc (actually a very wide apse, as shown in figure 5.5 of the above reference
[2.73]). The apse is pointing to the West, that is the arc is convex from the West and concave
from the East; put differently, it seems to be a defensive structure for invaders coming from the
West, the mountainous area of the region, and from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea. It
does not seem to be aiming at repelling possible enemies from the East, the River Jordan Valley.
What is perplexing with this interpretation of being a “defensive wall” is its height. Part of the
Neolithic wall of Figure 9 and a larger view of this segment is shown in the photo of Figure 11.
Moreover, it doesn’t seem to be “enclosing” any significant area on the mound. Its relatively low
height in combination of the open flanks bring into question its defensive effectiveness and
capability. Thus, its ‘defense purpose” is hard to gauge. In the above-mentioned diagram by K.
Kenyon, the reconstructed (envisioned by Kenyon and not actually excavated in toto initial
Neolithic wall), had a length of about 260 meters, and a width at the Northern (and wider) side
of about 94 meters. Moreover, its position raises questions. The wall is sitting along a linear
stretch and very close to the top of the hill. At its Eastern side, the top of the hill is only about 35
meters away of the (then) mound. It is hard to see what type of flooding protection was there to
offer and to whom. The key element in its construction that we do know from the Kenyon
excavations is that it does have (and acquired, as discussed, at a subsequent phase of Neolithic
construction on the Tell) an association with the “tower” of Jericho. Hence, the raising of the
tower was integrally linked to the presence of the pre-existing Neolithic more or less linear (at
most arc in shape) wall. All this, leads one to conclude that either the wall was not a “defensive”
mechanism the way we today view “city walls as encircling human settlements on all sides for
defensive purposes”; or, we need to redefine what we currently imply by “defense”. It may well
have been a “linear frontal defensive mechanism” and a first stage or phase of building ‘defenses”
in a “first” or “last” line of defense. And this line could be a line of defense from either side, East
or Wes, depending from which side of this “amphiwall” the enemy was to come. In this sense,
which is likely the most appropriate way to describing this monument, this structure is a proto
(and unique in the history of city fortifications “amphiwall” defensive mechanism. On the other
hand, it can simply be an unfinished public project, and given that this probably is the first large
scale human enterprise, it could simply be just that. Finally, it could also be some type of a proto
megalithic monument, the full essence of it escaping our ability to fully conceptualize this
culture’s desires. It must have come at a time when external, massive, well organized, persistent
threats must have first appeared in the region, requiring a massive, well put together, durable
defensive counter measure. Within this framework, we need to approach the essence of this
specific structure. Later, possibly at the scale of a millennium or so, the tower was added to,
among other things, enhance the defensive capabilities of the Neolithic wall, possibly by another
culture than that that built the tower.
The time when such well-organized external threats appeared in the horizon for the residents of
the Tell must had been a time when enough was to be protected by this proto defense linear
wall-tower system. The first Neolithic masonry wall of Jericho was most likely, given the current
evidence from excavations in the Region to date, the first one in the entire Levant. It is of course
not known how the builders of this Neolithic “wall” called it. Or, what were they trying to protect
by building it. However, we can guess that agricultural surpluses and possibly valuable livestock
stored at the citadel could be part of the insured by the wall commodities and were offered
protection. However, there is another aspect to this wall (and tower), given the locational and
scale prominence it (and they, the wall and the tower, in combination) enjoyed. The message
sent by the mere size such unique for the time “fortifications”, along with attempted
intimidation, it could have been received as an attractor for invasions as well.
Figure 11. Jericho’s original Neolithic masonry wall, a broader view of the segment shown in
Figure 9. The structure in the foreground, and the fill at the background are not part of this wall.
Source of photo: ref. [2.55].
Hence, to the then perceived and expected benefits for building this wall-tower combination,
there must had also been expected costs. What was the specific calculus in the manner in which
the perceived expected benefits were to successfully counter the perceived expected costs is
quite difficult to consider about nine millennia later. Exactly how these two components in this
complex social benefits vs social costs combination were counted and played out may escape our
modern capabilities to fully conceive. Nonetheless, the relatively short-lived presence of the
culture that built the tower, as already alluded to earlier, may provide some hints as to their
success or failure in fully accounting all real and materialized benefits and costs. The culture
responsible for the tower’s construction short presence may indicate that these calculations had
backfired on them. The longevity of the Neolithic wall builders on the other hand, and the
innovative Neolithic wall design, stand in contrast to the short-lived tower builders. But what was
the objective of the tower-wall system, the specific objects that the system intended to protected
in a linear fashion still remains an open question.
Mobile artifacts and valuables, including tools and household goods, as well as foodstuff and
humans are commodities and entities offered potential partial protection by the wall of course.
However, the all-important springs were to the East of this wall, and so was the bulk of the fertile
landmass exploitable for agriculture. So, the question remains, what exactly was it being
protected by this defensive instrument that seems to have been shaped so that it would protect
potential invaders from the West. Besides, and setting aside for a moment the shape given it by
K. Kenyon and assume it as perimetrically encircling a small thinly and linearly located community
on top of the Tell, bypassing and avoiding the wall-tower system altogether, and access the
springs and the fields to the East of the Tell looks like an easy maneuver for anyone charging from
the West. And of course, these resources would be an easy prey to invaders from the East. There
are no records recounting these earliest societal intra- and inter-settlement conflicts, them being
the earliest possible times when such raids and mayhem potentially would have occurred. Only
indirect evidence exists, in the form of lithic weapons and skeletal remains to gauge the conflicts’
scale and veracity, and account for counter-measures. But this proto Neolithic wall and especially
its subsequent combination with the tower might be a good source to draw some preliminary
answers on these outstanding questions. In this context, a more precise and realistic estimation
of the wall’s construction date becomes a matter of significant import. K. Kenyon suggested that
this was a pre-pottery Neolithic wall, thus a pre- 7th millennium BC construction at least.
It is highly unlikely that the first human settlement at the Tell Es-Sultan was the settlement that
built the wall one sees in Figure 11. This argument can be supported on a number of grounds.
First and foremost is that Natufian Architecture did exist in the River Jordan Valley, in the Jericho
region (specifically at Ain-Es-Sultan springs) and on TeS. The structure in Figures 9 and 11 is not
purely Natufian, either in scale or morphology. But it is an evolution of pre-pottery Neolithic
Natufian Architecture. The large boulder in the middle of the wall and at the center of the photo
in Figure 11 (and at the lower left in Figure 9) is not Natufian. And neither is the mortar used to
hold these boulders together seen in Figure 11, forming a modest two to three meters in height
and a meter to meter and a half thick wall. This is likely early 7th millennium BC construction,
certainly no older than late 8th millennium BC Architecture. Noticeable is in this context the walls
surrounding the Sultanian type structure of Figure 7. At the back of the residences and places
(and/or temple) compound, there is a low in height and thin wall. This wall’s construction is post
Sultanian and in effect it is an amalgamation of both Natufian and Sultanian style. The wall
segment of Figures 9 and 11 is a more primitive, thus prior construction to that wall of Figure 7.
Hence, in the TeS site of the pre-Bronze Age and post Natufian Era we encounter a Phase I
evolved Natufian type masonry wall and a Phase II wall (that of Figure 7), a Natufian-Sultanian
hybrid. The Phase I taller and thicker masonry wall must have appeared at early 7th millennium
BC period. Whereas, the Natufian-Sultanian hybrid, (Phase II N-Sh), slimmer and lower but more
developed masonry wall must have been in place by the middle to late 6th millennium BC. The
Phase II N-Sh wall was put there to protect the Sultanian Era advances in surplus economic value
and cultural achievements of the Sultanian culture at TeS. The lower wall structure of the Phase
II N-Sh may indicate that the Era was more peaceful, and social (inter- as well as intra-communal)
conflict lower in the post middle 6th millennium BC period, than the late 7th millennium BC time
frame in the Region.
This circumstance might be of interest in regards to Gobekli Tepe construction period, a period
which it likely was characterized by a period of relative peace and tranquility in that part of the
fertile Crescent region, as it will be further discussed in the next section of the paper. Given, as
argued in the earlier subsection, that the so-called “tower of Jericho” is a post first masonry
Neolithic Jericho wall structure, it follows that the tower is a middle 6th millennium BC
monument, and its purpose might not have been primarily defense, but ceremonial and social.
Setting speeds of change in Architecture’s Evolution, during the 12th millennium BC to the 6th
millennium BC period, becomes now a bit more manageable. A detailed look into the
monumental structures of the period, allow for such classifications, and possible phylogenetic
taxonomy. The transition from Natufian I (the structure underneath “tower 01” at TQ) to
Natufian II (the key structure “tower 0” at TQ) to Natufian III the transitional PPNA to PPNB of
the Structures at TQ brought about the PPNB Sultanian I phase of the 8300 7400 BC period,
with a post PPNB Sultanian II phase, the foreground structure (circa 6800 BC) of Figure 7. The first
masonry wall of Jericho must then be an early 7th millennium BC structure, with the wall of Figure
7 at the background being an early to middle 6th millennium BC construction (about a millennium
later than the Sultanian Architecture at the foreground).
The total outline of the Phase II N-Sh wall is presently unknown. But the Evolutionary Principles
articulated in this paper imply that it must had been longer and encircling a good section, major
cluster possibly containing the core of the citadel’s entire socio-cultural elite’s community. It
must have been bigger in scale (length and height possibly, but not necessarily thicker as it was
sturdier) than the original Jericho Neolithic wall, obeying the rule that has a larger structure
chronologically follows a smaller in scale structure of the same architectural style.
Finally, the well-known Bronze Age “wall of Jericho” acquires under this analysis a new
interpretation. It has been argued by archeologists that its masonry lower part was used as
revetment, in its function as a supporting component and part of the Bronze Age fortifications
of a spatially expanded community on the Tell. However, this is only after most likely this masonry
construction was used to terrace the slopes of the hill, and make it more amenable to residential
use for a settlement that suburbanized”, and that very likely had increased in population size
(and with a lower density of living, as standards of living increased under an advanced by now
economic system and demographic conditions) at least modestly in the intervening millennia. It
is noted again, this is the period of the large out-migration movements out of the Fertile Crescent
onto the rest of Eurasia. This specific spot at the Western leg of the Levant’s Fertile Crescent