Agricultural terraces at Khirbet Raddana, about ten miles north of Jerusalem. Where Israelites once constructed hillside terraces, farmers today work the land and build terraces using similar methods: Dry-laid stone retaining walls are erected along the outer edge of natural limestone terraces. The walls hold soil in place to create a level area for farming.
The Israelites settled in the hills because the Canaanites occupied the fertile lowlands. The technique of terracing transformed the economy of these struggling settlers; successful cultivation of the hillsides allowed the Israelites to become self-sufficient and independent.