Nachson Sneh, Kibbutz Gat

A five-room house at Atar Haro’a is typical of those found in settlements nearby the desert fortresses. The architecture is standard Israelite, beginning in the period when Israel settled in Canaan.

Who lived in the houses in the fortress settlements? Archaeologists are not certain. Perhaps they were pioneer civilian farmers who enjoyed the protection of a nearby military outpost. Or perhaps they were soldier-cultivators who took refuge in the fortress in times of danger.