Leen Ritmeyer

The fortress at Khirbet Abu et-Twein (an isometric reconstruction). One of several signaling stations in the Judean hills, this fortress was not intended to withstand a siege or an attack by an enemy army. Nevertheless, the garrison here probably performed military functions as well as administrative duties.

A large central courtyard is surrounded by what may have been storerooms, stables, workshops and living quarters. Large stones reinforce the corners and entryway of the approximately 95-foot-square building, which straddles the summit of a steep hill. Square monolithic pillars stand in rows parallel to each wall of the fortress. Although rows of such pillars are well-known in Iron Age Israelite storehouses and stables, the particular arrangement seen here, of columns parallel to each of the four walls, is unknown from other sites.