T. E. Levy/Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

A revolutionary technology lies at this student’s feet. Now little more than jumbles of rocks, these Chalcolithic terrace walls at Shiqmim, center foreground and background, constitute some of the earliest evidence of microcatchment irrigation technology. Originally about 8 feet long and 2 feet high, each of these walls once stretched across the depression between the two hills and would catch and retain rainwater running off the hills. Fruit trees could then be grown in the catchment area behind each wall. This agricultural innovation made desert farming feasible by efficiently using the infrequent rains.