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The “Governor’s Residency” at Tel ‘Eton, The United Monarchy, and the Impact of the Old-House Effect on Large-Scale Archaeological Reconstructions

  • Avraham Faust (a1) and Yair Sapir (a1)
Abstract

The “governor’s residency” at Tel ‘Eton was destroyed in the late 8th century BCE in an Assyrian military campaign. While the numerous finds enable a detailed reconstruction of life on the eve of the destruction, this elite house was cleaned continuously, and since no floor raisings were identified, little was known of the building’s period of use. Radiocarbon (14C) samples taken from within a foundation deposit and from the floor make-up, however, indicate that the earliest phase of the residency was built in the late 11th–10th century BCE. This has bearings on the date in which social complexity evolved in Judah, on the debate regarding the historicity of the kingdom of David and Solomon, and it also provides the earliest date for the use of ashlar stones in Judah. Finally, the long life of the “governor’s residency” exemplifies a little addressed phenomenon—the old-house effect—in which buildings and settlements existed for a few centuries, but only left significant remains from their last phase. The earlier phases are hardly represented in the finds, barely studied, and rarely published. We suggest that the old-house effect influences archaeological interpretations world-wide, and is also responsible for recent attempts to down-date social complexity in Judah.

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The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/>. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: avraham.faust@biu.ac.il.
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