National Geographic : 1951 Dec
831 A Technician Reconstructs a Shattered Roman Wine Jar Found in Jericho's Ruins Most pottery on the table came from the Arabic city built above Herod's winter capital. When an earthquake razed the city in the 8th century, most survivors moved to modern Jericho, a mile away. Mahfouz Nassar performed an archeological jigsaw-puzzle job rebuilding broken pots. wood bonding still in place after 2,000 years. A course of beams was used to divide the tower into two stories. The use of logs as bonding in military architecture was recommended by the famous Roman architect, Vitruvius. From the evi dence we found, our assumption is that this tower is one of two, Threx and Taurus, which Pompey destroyed in 63 B.c. Next our work revealed remnants of a grand staircase leading downward from the mound to the flat area along the wadi. The stair case in turn led to a grand facade. This facade, evidently fronting on a sunken gar den or sports arena along the bank of the stream, was about two city blocks long. The wall was broken in the middle by what looks like a semicircular open-air theater rising away from the plain in steps. On each side of it were some 25 statuary niches, each eight feet high and three feet wide, built into the facade. Flowerpots were found in place in the benches, indicating that the theaterlike structure may have been a sort of terraced garden. At each end of the facade were ruins of large rooms, and all along the facade and around the curve of the theater was a mirror pool. After an irrigation ditch spilled over one day and filled it up, we found that it still holds water (pages 832-3). Across the wadi, meanwhile, we unearthed the foundations of two expansive winter vil las or public buildings with the red plaster still bright on the walls. The brightly colored plaster of this period instantly called to mind Pompeii. Another villa shows downstream on a lower bench of the wadi. The second artificial mound also yielded a series of fortresses. The original structure may have been one of heavy brick walls. Within these walls we found two stone forts, one inside the other. On the east side of this fortress we un earthed another room. It was almost intact, and the plaster, painted in bright reds, yellows, blues, greens, and blacks, was as vivid as the day it was laid. It was quite different, however, from the painted plaster of the earlier period found in the villas. Its design imitated the marble slabs that lined the walls of the rich houses. The poor man has always imitated the rich, and marble is still imitated in the painted plaster walls in that land.