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J. D. B. News Letter

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“Hither shall we go up. Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are greater and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of Anakims there.” Such was the cry of the Israelites as they listened in Kadesh Barnea to the report brought back by the spies from the land of Canaan. The bewildering impression of a pre-Israelitish fortress town on these new invaders could be imagined in some measure from the excavations of the Jericho walls. None the less the biblical picturization of the paltriness of the Israelites in the sight of Canaanite structures was held to be more a poetical hyperbolism rather than an impression of reality.

It is therefore a most sensational and like convincing testimony of the truth of these Biblical narratives which is revealed to us through the excavations carried on on the site of old biblical Sichem now Balata, a small village near modern Nablus.


Its colossal city walls, towers, and temple brilliantly excavated by Dr. Walter, are the greatest ancient monuments ever brought to light in Palestine, and are epoch making for the reconstruction of the history of civilization in Palestine before the advent of the Israelites. Collaborating with Dr. Gabriel Walter of the German State Archaeological Institute was the Bernat Metge Foundation of Barcelona, represented by Jose Gilbert. On the staff was Miss B. D. Mazur of New York City, assistant in historical research.

The work was financed by the well-known patron of arts, His Excellency F. Cambo of Barcelona.

The evidence of the earliest settlement in Sichem is represented by a steep rampart of beaten earth forming a camp enclosure about the city. What little remains of the enclosure indicates clearly its analogy to those of Mishrafe in north Syria, and those of Hazor in Galilee. Thus the chronology of the earliest settlement may be fixed at about 1900 B.C.


The second period in the evolution of the city is marked by a gigantic wall constructed of so-called cyclopic masonry. Round crudely hammered stones 3 metres long, laid one above the other and held together by clay, brings the wall to a height of 10 to 11 metres, and a thickness of 3.50 m. Its present excavated length is 125 m. To it belongs a powerful tower-gate. It is a rectangular structure, also of cyclopic masonry, containing two court entrances, 3 wide doorways in the same axis and is flanked by 4 tall towers, one in each corner. The approach to the tower-gate, which is set 5 m. above the level of the valley, is by means of an inclining earth rampart.

Bonded to the cyclopian wall—which is the supporting wall for the upper city or the acropolis—is the wall of the lower city. As the function of the latter is not merely to support earth masses but to defend the city within, its structure assumes an entirely different technique and form. The general line of the city wall is eliptic; but here the line moves in continuous, alternately proceeding and receding blocks of equal length; and the single wall gives way to a wall complex consisting of

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