Nachson Sneh, Kibbutz Gat

A four-room house at Horvat Ramat Boqer 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.

The basic layout of the four-room house is three long rooms perpendicular to a long, broad room (see plan). Stone columns support the roof. In the four-room house from Ramat Boqer, many of the stone columns that supported the roof still stand.

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.