Among Megiddo’s best-known remains are the structures popularly called Solomon’s Stables. The term refers to two large complexes, on Megiddo’s northeastern and southwestern sides, each consisting of a series of attached units, subdivided into three long rooms by two parallel rows of columns. The side rooms of these tripartite buildings are thought by many scholars to have been stables for horses, with the center aisles used to move animals in and out. Other scholars argue that the complexes were storehouses, while still others believe they were military barracks or marketplaces. What almost all scholars agree on, however, is that the structures were not built by Solomon in the tenth century B.C.E. They are dated to the ninth century B.C.E. instead, possibly to the reigns of King Omri or King Ahab. (For the possibility that Solomon, too, had stables at Megiddo and that they might still be partially visible under the later structures, see “King Solomon’s Stables—Still at Megiddo?”)

The view at top shows one of the complexes; the two rows of pillars divide one of the buildings into three long units. The reconstruction drawing above gives a sense of what the southern complex may have looked like. The entrance to each unit opened into one center aisle; illumination was provided by a raised clerestory roof containing windows on each side. The installation at center of the large square courtyard would have been, according to the stables theory, a water basin for the horses. Others suggest a feeding basin. Below, excavator David Ussishkin surveys a scooped-out stone block that stood between the pillars. Scholars who subscribe to the stable theory identify these basin-like blocks as mangers. Note also the hole cut through the top of each pillar, presumably intended for the ropes that tethered the horses.