Avraham Hai, courtesy Tel Masos Expedition

A four-room house from stratum II (second half of the twelfth century) at Tel Masos, an Israelite settlement in the Negev, near Beersheba. In the foreground is the thick front wall of the house. A round cooking pit can be seen between the square pillar stumps, and, behind the pit, a large central courtyard. There appear to be several rooms along each side of the house; however, archaeologists count the areas on either side of the central courtyard each as one room, even if it is subdivided. The four rooms of this typical Israelite house are the two side rooms, the central courtyard between them, and, at the back of the house, the main room perpendicular to the other three. The common use of pillars in Israelite architecture, rare in Canaanite buildings, indicates that by 1,200 B.C. the tribes were no longer completely nomadic.