Midsummer sunset at Neolithic Jericho

Ran Barkai, Roy Liran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The tower of Jericho is an architectural megalith dating roughly to 8300 BC, a time belonging to the Near East early Neolithic era, making it by far the oldest known monumental building. Ever since it was discovered there has been an unresolved debate for archaeologists and the general public alike regarding its function and purpose. The main three theories regarding the tower’s purpose are that it may be part of a fortification system, that it is a part of a flood-deflection system, or that it is some sort of symbolic monument. There are, however, flaws within the fortification and flood-deflector theories, and to claim that it is a symbolic monument seems too much of a default solution, as a real reason for this is yet to be given. This paper looks beyond the site to the surrounding environment and analyses the architectural design to show that the tower is in fact inherently aligned to celestial and geographical elements, and that the ancient Neolithic builders used it as a link between them, their town, and the universe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalTime and Mind
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Celestial alignment
  • Jericho tower
  • Landscape marker
  • Monumental building
  • Neolithic


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