/ah"ee/, n., pl. ais /ah"eez/.a three-toed sloth, Bradypus tridactylus, inhabiting forests of southern Venezuela, the Guianas, and northern Brazil, having a diet apparently restricted to the leaves of the trumpet-tree, and sounding a high-pitched cry when disturbed.[1685-95; < Pg < Tupi]ai2/uy/, interj.
* * *In the Bible (Joshua 7–8), it was destroyed by the Israelites under Joshua. Biblical references agree in locating Ai just east of Bethel (modern Baytīn) in the West Bank, at the Early Bronze Age site now called Al-Tall. Excavations at Ai in 1933–35 uncovered a temple of the 3rd millennium BC. The biblical events at Ai are assigned to the period с 1400–1200 BC, when evidence indicates it was not in fact occupied; early tradition may have identified the Canaanite town under Bethel with the nearby ruins of Al-Tall.
* * *▪ ancient city, Canaanancient Canaanite town destroyed by the Israelites under their leader Joshua (Joshua 7–8). Biblical references agree in locating Ai (Hebrew: ha-ʿAy, “The Ruin”) just east of Bethel (modern Baytīn in the West Bank). This would make it identical with the large early Bronze Age site now called At-Tall. Excavations there in 1933–35 by a French expedition uncovered a large temple and other remains of the 3rd millennium BC. That occupation ended about 2500 BC, and there was no later reoccupation except briefly in the 12th–11th century BC. The biblical events, however, are usually assigned to a period between about 1400 and 1200 BC. A widely accepted explanation is that early Israelite tradition identified the Canaanite town that was buried under the Israelite Bethel with the imposing ruins of the still earlier At-Tall, only 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the east.
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