House pillar

As previously mentioned, pillars were a characteristic of houses in Ancient Israel. While in the coastal plain, the archaeological remains of pillars are somewhat ephemeral, in the highlands the pillar bases are usually large, easily identifiable stones.


In this view the pillar base is still seen standing in the balk. Immediately to its right, the area has not been excavated right to the balk to support the large stone at the surface.
The stratigraphy of this area can be seen in this photo. At the top is the topsoil. Below that are larger stones, probably from a collapse (tumble). They lie on a floor with pottery – my guess would be that the floor is from the Roman Period. The top of the pillar is immediately below that floor. The area beside the pillar has been filled in during the centuries, for it is likely that the pillar and the floor on which it stands are from the Iron Age. There would have been about 700 years between the two floors. Not all pillars have been so nicely preserved. But here the line of pillars is still clearly visible.

The pillar bases shown here would not have been high enough to hold the roof, since they were usually not more than 1 metre high. Were other stones stacked on top of these pillar bases? Or were wooden beams used to hold the second storey or roof in place?

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