Courtesy Badè Institute/Pacific School of Religion

Exceptions? Throughout Israel, the four-room house disappeared in 586 B.C. with the Babylonian destruction and exile that brought Iron Age II to a close. One possible exception—the very four-room buildings discovered by Badè in the 1920s at Tell en-Nasbeh, Biblical Mizpah—may actually prove the rule. Although Badè dated these structures to the Iron Age, other scholars such as Jeffrey R. Zorn have suggested that some of the structures at Tell en-Nasbeh date to after 586 B.C. Zorn’s dating is controversial; but even if he is right, it would only strengthen the case made by Bunimovitz and Faust: Because Mizpah was the seat of Babylonian puppet rule following the destruction of the other Judahite cities, it enjoyed relative prosperity—and continued Israelite habitation—during the Exilic period. These four-room buildings, then, would still be a reliable marker of Israelite occupation.