Ideology in Stone: Understanding the Four-Room House.

Shlomo Bunimovitz, Avraham Faust

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The writer discusses the four-room house, a type of building found in ancient Israel. Sometimes termed the “Israelite house,” this was the predominant type of domestic building in Iron Age Israel. Its basic plan, with three parallel long rooms and a broad room across one end, was used as a standard for buildings of different functions. It can be argued that the four-room house was a symbolic expression of the Israelite mind or ethos, and that this architectural style in turn helped structure that mind. During the Israelites' emergence as a distinct people, the house began to reflect their cultural behavior (their egalitarian ethos, their need for privacy, the seclusion of the ritually impure, and so on) and perhaps even became an ethnic marker. Due to the importance of order and unity to the Israelite view of holiness, the four-room plan became the dominant building plan throughout Israelite territory and stayed that way for over half a millennium.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Specialist publicationBiblical Archaeology Review
PublisherBiblical Archaeology Society
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2002


  • Israel
  • Middle East
  • Dwellings -- Israel
  • Dwellings
  • Iron Age


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