Archaeological Discovery In Jordan Valley: Enormous 'Foot-shaped' Enclosures





"Foot-shaped" structures have been revealed in the Jordan valley and are among the earliest sites that archeologists believe were built by the ancient people of Israel. The structures are thought to be symbolic of the biblical concept of ownership.

"The 'foot' structures that we found in the Jordan valley are the first sites that the People of Israel built upon entering Canaan and they testify to the biblical concept of ownership of the land with the foot," said archaeologist Prof. Adam Zertal of the University of Haifa, who headed the excavating team that exposed five compounds in the shape of an enormous "foot" -- likely to have been used at that time to mark ownership of territory.

The finding is believed to represent the first time that enclosed sites identified with the biblical sites termed in Hebrew "gilgal", which were used for assemblies, preparation for battle, and rituals, have been revealed in the Jordan valley. The Hebrew word "gilgal" (a camp or stone-structure), is mentioned thirty-nine times in the Bible. The stone enclosures were located in the Jordan valley and the hill country west of it. To this day, no archaeological site has been proposed to be identified with the gilgal.

Between the years 1990 and 2008, during the Manasseh Hill-Country Survey that covers Samaria and the Jordan Valley, five such enclosures were found and excavated, all designed in the shape of a human foot. The site are believed to date back to the outset of the Iron Age I (the 13th-12th centuries BCE). Based on their size and shape, it is clear that they were used for human assembly and not for animals.



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