Mud-brick composition, archeological phasing and pre-planning in Iron Age structures: Tel ‘Eton (Israel) as a test-case

Yair Sapir, Assaf Avraham, Avraham Faust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The eighth century BCE city at Tel ‘Eton (Israel) was destroyed by the Assyrian army, probably during Sennacherib’s campaign of 701. Building 101, sealed within the heavy conflagration caused by this destruction, was uncovered almost in its entirety on the top of the mound. From the beginning, it was apparent that the structure had two major building phases, and while its initial construction was of high quality, later additions were much inferior. Analyses of mud-brick walls for firing temperatures, texture, carbonate content, color, and dimensions approved the observation regarding the differences between the two phases, but consistently pointed out that one wall, initially attributed to the first phase, was analytically different, comprising an intermediate phase. This conclusion not only altered our understanding of the building construction, adding heretofore unknown building phase, but also gave us insights into the pre-planning of Building 101, indicating that some rooms had originally two doorways. Such a configuration allowed easy subdivision of spaces according to needs, without harming the overall structural stability. Differences in inner division of similar Iron Age houses were identified in the past and were attributed to differences in the life cycles of families. The evidence from Tel ‘Eton suggests that such future changes were taken into considerations when the structures were built.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-350
Number of pages14
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jul 2016
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Acknowledgments The research was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 284/11) on BThe Birth, Life and Death of a Four-Room House at Tel ‘Eton.^ We would like to thank the following people for their contribution and assistance to this research: Dr. Hayah Katz, Prof. Sarah Pariente, Dr. Yuval Sapir, Dr. Helena Zhevelev, Dr. Natan Fragin, Mr. Eyal Sachs, Prof. Yoram Benyamini, Prof. Chaim Sukenik and his lab staff, Prof. Yitzhak Mastai and his lab staff, Prof. Doron Aurbach in his lab staff, Mr. Shalom Sa’adah, Dr. Mordechai Livneh, Dr. Michael Tsesarsky, Prof. Oren Vilnay, Mrs. Edna Einhorn, and Tel ‘Eton Excavations staff. We would also like to thank Prof. David Adan-Bayewitz for reading a draft of this paper and for his comments.

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation284/11


    • Four-room house
    • Iron-age
    • Israel
    • Mud-bricks
    • Planning
    • Tel ‘Eton


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