Domestic Architecture Biblical Backgrounds

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Biblical Backgrounds Domestic Architecture Lecture 2

Domestic Architecture

Biblical Backgrounds

Lecture 2

The Foundation of Ancient Israelite Society

  1. Was the family unit.

  2. 80-90% of population lived in the many hundreds of small villages and towns spread in countryside and the family unit was so important. This is true even with social elite of cities. The family provided ______________ social and ______________ centers for life.

Building Materials in Israel

  1. The most common materials were stone, ______________, ______________ and ______________. Stone and wood served a range of purposes – from the natural, undressed stone and rough cut local wood used in the commoner’s house to the expertly carved wood and stone masonry for palaces, temples, and manor homes. These essentials were found in every home.


  1. Was, of course, more durable than ______________ or ______________. It was also the more popular material. There is an abundance of limestone, a sedimentary rock consisting of calcium carbonate. It was the most common building stone, especially in the hill country.


  1. Is a soft, porous, and easily crumbling ______________ that is easily quarried and dressed. It is found at a location just east of Jerusalem. This stone was used to prepare ashlars and Israelite palmette capitals in the construction of monumental buildings.

Ashlar Masonry

  1. Designates ______________ cut and dressed on all six sides, usually in a ______________ shape. The first example of this shape was found in Megiddo’s gates. In general, ashlar masonry was utilized on centers of royalty. See Amos 5:11 when he denounces the powerful for their houses of hewn stone. These ashlars reflect a strong Phoenician influence. Solomon is the first to use large scale use of it.


  1. Was employed more in Israel than Judah. Northern sites include Hatzor, Samaria, Megiddo, and Gezer, as well as Dan, and Beth-Shean. Southern sites include Jerusalem, Lachish, and Ashkelon. The most impressive is found in Samaria which Omri and Ahab built the royal city in the ______________ century BC.


  1. Is a type of ______________ found along the Mediterranean shore. It is often used for building. The Ashdod gate is one example and the Examples are found at Tel Sera (it has ashlar foundations with mud brick superstructure.).

The Artisans

  1. Used chisels and hammer to ______________ the ______________ surfaces which they smoothed or left with bosses. Bosses are the rounded masses of stone in the center of the ashlar face. During most of the OT, the only stones left with rounded bosses were the foundation stones which would be buried and not seen.

Examples of Ashlars

  1. Remains of buildings made partly of stone, partly of mudbricks have been unearthed both in Area A and B. Walls of a larger building were revealed in Area A, showing traces of the Phoenician building technique. The latter is characterized by the use of sandstone ashlars (cut stones) that were arranged as stretchers for the outer face with smaller stones in-between them. The finds of this building include bag-shaped jars with carinated shoulder and bag handles, open pinched oil lamps (of local fabric), and imported closed lamps of Attic style. In addition to these artifacts, we found a large amount of sherds decorated with mythological figures in red-figure style, characteristic of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.


  1. With dressed ______________, trimmed on the construction site, fitted so tightly that no spaces were left between the ______________. No mortar was used to bind the stones.


  1. Was another stone material used in Israel. It is a hard, dark volcanic rock with a glassy appearance. It is found most often in the Galilee area: Golan, Bashan, and Upper Galilee. It wears very well and is an excellent stone for ______________, ______________, ______________, drain pipes, and stelae. It has been found in use as orthstats (large stone slabs) that flank entrances into major buildings.


  1. Was more plentiful in ancient Israel that today. It was the principle material for ______________ beams and joists. It was used for window frames, lintels, doors and door jambs.

For Roof Beams

  1. The ______________ didn’t need to be any longer than 4 or 5 meters long. With rows of pillars the span is usually two and one half meters for the main room and one and one half to three meters for the side rooms.

Flat Roofs

  1. Were made by laying wooden beams across the open area, their ends supported by the walls at either side. Intermediate vertical posts or columns were usually inserted to shore up these roof beams. ______________ or branches would be used in the roof by being placed onto of the beams to serve as a base for a mud plaster and straw. This mud plaster had to be compacted on a regular basis with a stone roller to maintain its solidarity.

Wooden Materials for Roofs

  1. Include the tamarisk tree, acacia tree, cedar, Phoenician juniper, terebinth, and Aleppo Pine.

The Tamrisk

  1. Was an evergreen that reached a height of ______________ meters and is found in the Aravah Valley, along the maritime plain, the ______________ Valley, and the Negev.


  1. Is a desert tree that grows ______________ to ______________meters tall. It is found in barren regions like the Sinai Peninsula and the Arabian desert. It is a durable wood that makes great furniture. It was used for city gates at Lachish and was found attached to a bronze hinge. This wood was imported to Lachish for the gate doors.


  1. Is an evergreen that can reach as tall as ______________meters. It is a mountain tree that was used in much of the construction of the 1st and 2nd temples. It is well suited for beams, boards, pillars, and ceilings. It was even used in boats (Ezek 27:5). In the OT cedar forests covered much of Lebanon. Many have it transplanted into their gardens. See also: 2 Kings 19:23.


  1. This tree still grows on Mount Hermon, the Senir of the OT (Ezek 27:5) It is a resinous tree with berries. It is used in construction for roofing beams and furniture. It made excellent planks for ships. 1 Kings 5:21-24 relates how Hiram of Lebanon provided timbers of ______________ and ______________ for the Temple of Solomon.

The Aleppo Pine

  1. Is the “______________” mentioned in the Bible only five times. The only pine native to Israel, it reaches twenty meters and can live for 100-150 years. Pine forests were abundant in the OT. Sometimes the Hebrew is mistranslated as “______________”. The massive figures of the cheribum were made of this wood and not olive wood.

Construction Using Stone and Wood

  1. 1 Kings 6:36 & 7:12 tell us that Solomon would put wooden ______________ inserted horizontally between the courses of ashlar. This was intended to strengthen the masonry or give it flexibility in earthquakes.

Mud Bricks

  1. Were the primary building materials in the coastal plain and valleys. Mud was plentiful here while ______________ and ______________were rather rare. Mud brick homes were often built upon a ______________ (plain, low block serving as support for a pedestal, statue.) In hill country stones were used for foundations and superstructures.

Mud Bricks

  1. Were made by pouring ______________ into ______________ and dried in the sun and formed into bricks. This sun-dried mud brick was the most common building material in the ancient Near East. The outside of mud brick buildings had to be coated with a ______________ as a form of weather proofing.

The Typical Pillared House

  1. The most typical Israelite house consisted of two, three or four rooms. It was entered through a wooden door (______________) from an exterior courtyard. A mud brick ______________ was located in a corner of the courtyard for baking and cooking.

A Pillared House Pictured

The Floors of These Houses

  1. Were usually ______________ which was beaten earth. The walls were erected on tow or three courses of foundation stones. The first story averaged less that two meters in height, which might seem low for us.


  1. In this houses were at best a simple ______________ in the wall. It was deliberately made small. This was for ______________. It was also to help keep the house ______________ in the winter and ______________ in the summer. The windows served as outlets for smoke when a chimney was not used. See Hosea 13:3. The windows have no glass. These windows also provide the sole method of natural light in the house.

The Door of the House

  1. Was hinged to the wall by sockets fitted into the lintel and the threshold. The door opened inward and was sometimes attached by ______________ and ______________ for ______________

The Doorway

  1. Consisted of a lintel across the top resting on two ______________ upright. It usually had a ______________ as well. This threshold was intentionally made to be higher than the floor. This was to help prevent flooding in rainy weather. What are we told about doorposts and lintels in Exodus 12:7 and Deut 6:9?

Locks for Doors

  1. Believe it or not, they had locks for larger buildings. These were normally wooden (Metal locks did not come to Israel until the Roman period). Isaiah talks about locks in Isa 22:22. These large ______________ require a large ______________ ______________ and is carried over the shoulder of the person. The keys look like rather large toothbrushes.


  1. Was usually done outdoors in the ______________. This is the normal place of the oven. Cooking pots could be kept in the central room. Much of the food processing took place in the central room.

A fire pit or hearth

  1. Was often found in the house. It was sometimes a simply hoe in the ground where a fire was kindled for ______________ or ______________. See Jeremiah 36:22 for an example of a raised hearth that may have been copper or bronze.


  1. Were simple in most respects. It would have ______________, ______________ (storage jars, water pots, serving bowls etc). Elijah’s stay with the widow woman in 2 Kings 4:10 tells us about her home.

Storage, Livestock, and workshops

  1. Often occupied the space on the ground floor. The narrower side rooms functioned as ______________ and ______________ for ______________. What did the medium at Endor have in her house according to 1 Sam 28:24? Mangers for feeding the animals were normally kept between pillars that functioned as room dividers.

The Roof of a House

  1. Could be used for several things. It could be a main living area during the hot months. They would ______________ on it and ______________ upon it to catch the cook breezes. What did Samuel and Saul do in 1 Sam 9:25-26? What about David in 2 Sam 11:2?

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