Joint Expedition to Ai

Early Israelite housing. This drawing shows the plan of a pillared courtyard house from the 12th- or 11th-century B.C.E. village of Raddana, about ten miles north of Jerusalem. The pillars probably supported a second story where the inhabitants lived and slept; the ground floor may have served as stables for animals. The central courtyard, around which stood two additional houses for the extended family, contained pits for cooking. The courtyard house is a pervasive feature of Canaanite hill-country sites and is almost certainly the type of structure referred to in the Bible by the phrase “the house of the father” (Hebrew: bet av).