National Geographic : 1944 Dec
743 The Geography of the Jordan settlements before sterile soil was reached. The strata of these settlements carry the his tory of man at Jericho from the 13th century B.c. back to the 6th millennium B.c . A gypsum head dating from about 5,000 B.c. was found in the excavations there. The sightless quietness of the deeply im pressed shell eyes, the ridged eyebrows, aqui line nose, prominent cheeks, lines of paint rep resenting tattooing or hair, or both, and thin line of a mouth above a somewhat protruding lower lip combine to lend a quality of imper sonal but strong reality to this primitive sculp ture. It is like a death mask of someone who was vibrantly alive (page 723). A remarkable vase was found at Jericho, be longing somewhere between the latter half of the 18th century and the 17th century B.C. The potter turned on his wheel a graceful, carinated, trumpet-foot vase, typical of the period. He then fashioned it by hand into the likeness of one of his contemporaries and baked it into a monument to his memory, which has endured now for thousands of years. The representation is highly stylized. It presents the likeness of a sharply intelligent, quizzically energetic Semite (page 731). In the Reign of Herod Jericho enjoyed a great renascence during the long reign of Herod the Great, king of Judaea, who ruled from 37 to 4 B.C. He proved to be a champion of the Jews, a friend of the Romans, and an admirer of the Greeks. He was one of the few who resisted the lures of Cleopatra. Josephus tells us that he merely "farmed of her parts of Arabia, and those revenues that came to her from the region about Jericho." He embarked on a vast public-works pro gram and literally altered the face of Palestine. He changed Jerusalem into an imposing Greco Roman metropolis and built a magnificent Temple there to Jehovah, parts of which are still visible. In the Jordan Valley alone he built a string of fortresses and towns that stretched all the way from Jericho to Banias (page 723). He greatly strengthened the fortresses of Masada and Machaerus on the west and east sides of the Dead Sea, respectively. He adorned Jericho with a beautiful theater and a fine hippodrome, and he built a citadel which he named Cypros in honor of his mother, and a tower which he called Phasaelis after his brother. Herod loved his relatives when they were dead. It was much the same Jericho that Jesus Govt. of Palestine, Dept. of Antiquities A Pottery Coffin's Face Was Meant To Be as Solemn as Death In Bethshean of the 12th century B.c., Aegean mercenaries modeled the case on a type used in their island homes. The occupant was not mummified, and the masked lid was not his portrait. Plaster streaks show museum repairs. visited on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival there. A monastery has been perched on a mountaintop near Jericho, in the belief that it marks the spot where Jesus resisted the temptation of the Devil. A splendid mosaic floor of a Byzantine synagogue has been discovered at Jericho. During the flourishing fifth and sixth centuries after Christ, numerous synagogues and churches were built at various places in the Jordan Valley, as well as in the highlands east and west of it.