Household food storage

The book Household food storage in Ancient Israel and Judah was published in 2018. It serves as a source book on domestic food storage in Ancient Israel and Judah by outlining important ethnographic, and ancient textual and pictorial sources relevant to a discussion of household food storage. These allow us to understand the motivated actions in relation to food storage, and the significance of food storage in daily life.

On the basis of 22 well-excavated buildings from 13 Iron Age sites, representative archaeological data are examined. For each house the total preserved food storage capacity is calculated, activity areas are identified, and specific patterns are noted. Food storage equipment, the location and role of food storage in the household, and the integration with other activities are analyzed.

Storage rooms were often located at the margins of houses, but a considerable part of the stored food was kept in other activity areas toward the centre of houses. The data indicate that in the Iron Age I food was stored mainly domestically or in shared community facilities, while redistributive food storage became more common in the Iron Age II, with significant domestic storage continuing. The ideal of self-sufficiency remained.

Further information on the excavated sites is found on this page.

I investigated two houses at Shiloh on the western slope of the tell.

House 312

House 335

I investigated Building 8 at Giloh.

At ‘Izbet Sartah I investigated Building 109a, as it was reused in Stratum I.

At Megiddo I looked at the courtyard house, Building 00/K/10. The archaeological report for this house was very detailed.

I mostly investigated houses from the Iron Age II. Here is House 28636 from Beth Shean.

At Yokneam I looked at Building III.

At Lachish I looked at four houses, two from the Main Street excavated in the early 1930s in the excavations begun by James Starkey, two from Area S excavated in the later excavations from the 1970s to the 1990s under David Ussishkin.
One of the houses from Main Street is House 1088. The visualization is based on the archaeological report by Olga Tufnell.

House 1089 is a small house on Main Street of ancient Lachish.

Two houses excavated by the later mission to Lachish were in Area S.
I divided the Lower House into two houses. Here is a visualization of the western part.

And the visualization of the eastern part follows

From the houses at Tell Halif, I looked at two houses. They served as my reference for the investigation. First I used the well-documented F7 House, which was also analyzed by Jimmy Hardin.

The K8 House was another domestic setting I investigated.

I also looked at some houses at Beer-Sheba, in particular the Western Quarter. Here is House 75.

House 76 is not a normal house, but probably a craft workshop.

And then there is House 25 in the Western Quarter of Beer-Sheba.

I also looked at the farmstead at Khirbat Abu Shawan, even though the preservation was not that good, and the archaeological report not that detailed.

By way of contrast, I also looked at a dwelling cave from the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. Again, the preservation was not that good and the archaeological report not detailed.

I also analyzed two houses from Tel Batash, thought to be ancient Timnah. This is Building 743.

The other house I looked at is Building 950.

At Tel ‘Ira I looked at several rooms in Area L, some of them in the casemate wall. It’s not certain that these were all part of one house or that the full house was excavated, but the rooms had most of the functional areas normally present in a house of that era.

I also looked at a storeroom, which was clearly part of a redistributed food storage system.