Ilan Sztulman/Tel Miqne-Ekron Excavation Project

Three superimposed hearths, each paved with hundreds of wadi pebbles, were embedded in the poor at the north end of the main hall of building 350. A thick layer of ashes and charcoal, mixed with animal bones, reflects the hearths’ heavy use. Nearby were the only ancient chicken bones ever excavated in Israel.

The only known counterpart in Canaan to the hearths at Ekron is a hearth at Tell Qasile, another Philistine city discovered in modern Tel Aviv. However, hearths were common features of Aegean as well as Cypriot architecture (see artist’s rendition of megaron). Interestingly, by the second half of the 11th century and the early 10th century B.C.E., with Aegean ways fading further and further into the past for the people of Ekron, the hearth was no longer in use.