Jonathan Kline

Watch your head as you enter! Hundreds of shelters like this reconstructed one at Beer Resisim stand in clusters at settlement sites in the central and western Negev. Built by seminomadic pastoralists during the Middle Bronze I period (c: 2000–2000 B.C.E.), the circular or elliptical structures feature chalk-slab construction, no windows and a tiny door, typically no larger than 1.5 by 2 feet. A central pillar served as a support for a roof constructed of flagstones laid upon tree branches, in a manner similar to the partially reconstructed roof shown here. The roof and walls were probably plastered to keep out the wind, and the entrance could have been closed with a sheep or goat skin. The lack of hearths within them indicates that the buildings served primarily as sleeping quarters; the occupants conducted their daytime domestic activities, such as cooking, in the common courtyard outside the shelter.