- © 2012
Information on past earthquakes in the Dead Sea basin and the adjacent region was recovered from seismites and faults in lake sediments. Seismites are found in the 70- to 15-ka Lisan formation (Marco et al., 1996) and in the subsequent Dead Sea deposits (Ken-Tor et al., 2001; Migowski et al., 2004; Kagan et al., 2011). Other sources for palaeoseismic data came from damaged speleothems in caves some 40 km west of the Dead Sea Transform (DST) (Kagan et al., 2005; Braun et al., 2009). The present work aims at recovering the earthquake record from the ancient settlement of Jericho (Palestine), renowned as the archaeological site of Tell es-Sultan, inhabited in a period in which we have no local geological information. Tell es-Sultan is suitable for archaeoseismic investigations because (1) it is located in a seismically active area (Fig. 1); (2) it was inhabited continuously during the last 11,000 yr; and (3) the history of the site was repeatedly studied by archaeologists, providing abundant documentation.
Starting from the early nineteenth century to the modern expeditions, archaeologists have associated peculiar damaging, fracturing, and human remains discovered at the ancient Jericho site to repeated seismic shaking events during the whole Neolithic history of the site, that is, from approximately 11,000 B.C. up to 6,000 B.C. (Tables 1 and 2). Prof. J. Garstang and Dame K. Kenyon led the two main archaeological teams that considered earthquake effects in this period (Garstang et al., 1935; Garstang and Garstang, 1948; Kenyon, 1957, 1981). Both renowned for their precious work on the Levant sites, in particular, Dame K. Kenyon was the first to apply the concept of archaeological stratigraphy and to define the still-used chronology for the Levantine Neolithic culture. The analysis in this …