One may ask whether the lack of decorated pottery and elaborate tombs in ancient Israel was more a result of the population’s poverty than an ideology. The issue cannot be dealt with in detail here, but it is clear that Israelite society of Iron Age II was neither poor nor egalitarian. To the contrary, we have clear evidence of social stratification and social classes (including a wealthy population). The lack of decoration (and other features) cannot, therefore, be attributed to social reality, but rather should be interpreted as an expression of ideology. Even in Iron Age I, the simplicity of the culture cannot be attributed to “poverty,” since much simpler (and poorer) societies, such as the Neolithic cultures of the Levant, often did decorate their pottery (and use elaborate tombs, etc.). It is quite clear, therefore, that even in Iron Age I, the lack of decoration (and other features) was a result of an ethos, and not only a reflection of the poverty of the hill country. This is even more clearly the case in Iron Age II.