John Camp

Wooden beams, charred by fire during the destruction of the city, served as foundations for mudbrick walls and plaster floors throughout the city. This unusual architectural design—unparalleled in the Levant—may have been designed to protect against earthquakes—a particular hazard in the Jordan Valley. The photo shows beams excavated in the latest (top) occupation layer of the lower city. When excavators found similar wooden-beam construction in only one upper-city stratum, they established that these two strata must date to the same period, the late tenth to ninth century B.C.E.