The Jericho Research Project

In the 1950s, the Nicholson Museum sponsored Kathleen Kenyon’s excavations at Jericho in the West Bank, undertaken for the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. In acknowledgement of this support, Kenyon sent an astonishing collection of archaeological materials to Sydney for teaching and research. These materials have received little scholarly attention. The Jericho Research Project investigates this remarkable repository using modern archaeological and scientific techniques. This cross-disciplinary project aims to publish the Jericho collection in Sydney, and discover new information that will inform exhibition and display. The project has many different facets and collaborations including:

  • CT imaging a 9,500 year old plastered skull, in collaboration with Macquarie Medical Imaging. This research uses medical imaging to investigate how the skull was made and used as a prehistoric cultic artefact;
  • Identifying plant species used to make artefacts in Bronze Age Tombs, in collaboration with the Department of Scientific Research at the British Museum. This research helps us understand the relationship between the inhabitants of Bronze Age Jericho and their surrounding environment;
  • Analysing human remains from Bronze Age tombs. This research investigates ritual behaviour in Bronze Age Jericho, as well as issues of health, diet and disease;
  • Cataloguing Bronze Age ceramics from excavations in both settlement and cemetery for publication and display.
CT Scanning the Jericho Skull at Macquarie Medical Imaging

Research team and colleagues CT scanning the Jericho skull at Macquarie Medical Imaging (MMI) (22/11/2018)

L to R: Dr Ronika Power (Macquarie University); Dr Jamie Fraser (Nicholson Museum); Dr Alexandra Fletcher (British Museum); Prof John Magnussen (MMI); Kirstin Geyer (MMI); Dr Alain Middleton (Westmead Hospital); Dr Marg Pardey (MMI); Julie Taylor (Sydney University Museums)