See also Avraham Faust, “How Did Israel Become a People? The Genesis of Israelite Identity,BAR 35:06.


Shlomo Bunimovitz and Avraham Faust, “Ideology in Stone: Understanding the Four Room House,BAR 28:04.



This article is a shorter and updated version of Avraham Faust, “ ‘Mortuary Practices, Society and Ideology’: The Lack of Iron Age I Burials in Highlands in Context,” Israel Exploration Journal (IEJ) 54 (2004), pp. 174–190.


Although many observed the phenomenon, one of the only detailed treatments was by R. Kletter, “People Without Burials? The Lack of Iron I Burials in the Central Highlands of Palestine,” IEJ 52 (2002), pp. 28–48 (See more below.)


See Rivka Gonen, Burial Patterns and Cultural Diversity in Late Bronze Age Canaan (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1992); Gabriel Barkay, “Burial Caves and Burial Practices in Judah in the Iron Age,” in I. Singer, ed., Graves and Burial Practices in Israel in the Ancient Period (Jerusalem, 1994), pp. 96–164 (Hebrew).


See list in Kletter, “People Without Burials?” pp. 28–48; see also Faust, “ ‘Mortuary Practices, Society and Ideology,’ ” pp. 174–190.


See Ann Ellison and Peter Drewett, “Pits and Post-Holes in the British Early Iron Age: Some Alternative Explanations,” Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 37 (1971), pp. 190–192; Peter Ucko, “Ethnography and Archaeological Interpretation of Funerary Remains,” World Archaeology 1 (1969), pp. 262–280; Ian Morris, Burial and Ancient Society: The Rise of the Greek City-State (Cambridge, 1987), p. 105.


Kletter, “People Without Burials?” pp. 28–48.


I am referring to the Israelite population, not to all the population within the kingdom of Israel.


Kletter, “People Without Burials?” p. 39.


For a few exceptions, see Irit Yezerski, “Iron Age Burial Customs in the Samaria Highlands,” Tel Aviv 40 (2013), pp. 72–98; note that the few reported tombs (many of which represent precisely the phenomenon discussed here, i.e., simple burials) do not change the overall pattern. If burials were as common in the Kingdom of Israel as in the Late Bronze Age, for example, hundreds of tombs would be expected to be found.


Maurice Bloch, “Tombs and States,” in S.C. Humphreys and Helen King, eds., Mortality and Immortality: The Anthropology and Archaeology of Death (London, 1981), p. 144.


Peter Metcalf and Richard Huntington, Celebrations of Death, the Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual (Cambridge, 1991), p. 134.


Avraham Faust, Israel’s Ethnogenesis: Settlement, Interaction, Expansion and Resistance (London: Equinox, 2006), and many references.


James Deetz, In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life (New York: Anchor Books, 1996), p. 81.


Shlomo Bunimovitz and Assaf Yasur-Landau, “Philistine and Israelite Pottery: A Comparative Approach to the Question of Pots and People,” Tel-Aviv 23 (1996), p. 96.


Note that the limited repertoire is relevant only for the Iron I, and disappears in the transition to the Iron II.


Faust, Israel’s Ethnogenesis and many references.


Avraham Faust, “The Archaeology of the Israelite Cult: Questioning the Consensus,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 360 (2010), pp. 23–35 and bibliography.


Faust, Israel’s Ethnogenesis and references.


See C. Umhau Wolf, “Traces of Primitive Democracy in Ancient Israel,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 6 (1947), pp. 98–108; Joshua Berman, Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2008); William F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine (Harmondsworth, 1961); Frank M. Cross, “Reuben, First-Born of Jacob,” Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 100, Supplement (1988), pp. 46–65.


William G. Dever, “How to Tell a Canaanite from an Israelite?” in Hershel Shanks, ed., The Rise of Ancient Israel (Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1992), p. 54.


Cross, “Reuben, First-Born of Jacob,” p. 62.


G. Mendenhall, “The Hebrew Conquest of Palestine,” Biblical Archaeologist 25 (1962), pp. 66–87; Robert Gordis, “Primitive Democracy in Ancient Israel,” in Gordis, Poets, Prophets and Sages (Bloomington: Indiana Univ., 1971), pp. 45–60; James L. Kelso, The Excavation at Bethel (Cambridge MA: ASOR, 1968); Gerhard Lenski, review of Norman K. Gottwald, The Tribes of Yahweh in Religious Studies Review 6 (1980), pp. 275–278.


It is likely that this is the reason the Israelites did not use even the multiple-burial natural caves.


See Avraham Faust and Shlomo Bunimovitz, “The Judahite Rock-Cut Tomb: Family Response at a Time of Change,” IEJ 58 (2008), pp. 150–170.