Volkmar Fritz

LITTLE HOUSE IN THE HILL COUNTRY. Pillared houses (also known as “four-room houses”), a common feature of Iron Age I hill-country settlements, were uniquely adapted to the simple agrarian lifestyle of the early Israelites. In this excavated structure from Tel Masos (above), rows of pillars divide the house into three long rooms, with an additional broad room spanning the back of the house.

The pillared house represents a departure from the earlier Canaanite courtyard house and thus provides further evidence that the Israelites did not originate from the lowland Canaanite cities of the Late Bronze Age. In fact, the pillared-house type has been discovered at Transjordanian sites like Tall al-‘Umayri, indicating that this floor plan had broad appeal in the highlands on both sides of the Jordan and may be evidence of a common origin.