A. Fogel

A golden hoop earring and other scraps of jewelry were discovered in a spacious early Iron Age structure, dubbed the “Patrician House” for the elegance of its remains. Found among mudbricks from upper-story walls, the gold trinkets may have fallen from a second-floor bedroom.

The Bible lists Beth-Shemesh as one of the cities allotted to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:41) as Israel emerged in Canaan, which most scholars date to the early Iron Age I (1200–1000 B.C.E.). But Canaanite pottery and column bases found in the “Patrician House” call into question the cultural identity of the residents.

In about 1100 B.C.E a fiery conflagration destroyed the “Patrician House” and the surrounding city. The city was quickly rebuilt, but apparently by new settlers who changed the orientation of the buildings and introduced pillared houses, common at Israelite sites.