In 2008 and 2009 we uncovered large parts of a room at Tell Halif with indications that food was processed there during the late Iron Age. I studied the room as part of my Master’s thesis. This required careful restoration of many artifacts and placing them in (virtual) three-dimensional space. What became clear was that this room was used for many purposes. Particularly noticeable are the traces of a loom in one corner, a bread oven not far away, and storage and food processing material spread throughout the room. Some concentrations of different activities in certain spaces are apparent. It also seems that large storage jars were used to separate different activity areas in this room I called a “kitchen”. Here’s a map of the room showing the location of artifacts. I color-coded them to show what use-category I thought they belonged to. Please note that the extreme right of the room has not yet been fully excavated.
The breakage pattern indicates that generally that the artifacts were deposited were we found them and that most of them stood on the floor. Of course, we only have the remains of things that lasted through the millenia. There would have been more objects in the kitchen when the walls caved in and burried the room.
It clearly was a busy room. Currently it seems as if this was the central room of a house. IF that is true, the “kitchen” was probably the heart of a Judahite house. And it seems to have ruled over by women – at least most of the activities we found traces of in the “kitchen”, like weaving, grinding grain, and baking, were most likely carried out by women. Detailed studies like these can give us a better idea of what live in Ancient Judah might have been like. We need to combine this picture with evidence from many other spheres of life.
Anyone interested in reading the full thesis can download it here: http://sun.library.msstate.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-10292012-150536/