Four-room house

Another interesting find in Tell El-Dab’a is the four-room house. The four-room house is also known as an “Israelite house”.


“A four-room house, also known as an “Israelite house” or a “pillared house” is the name given to the mud and stone houses characteristic of the Iron Age of Levant.”


The house was found by the Austrian archaeologist Manfred Bietak, who is directing a major excavation of Tell el-Dab’a in the eastern Nile Delta. Most scholars believe this site is the Biblical city of Ra’amses, where the Israelites were forced to make bricks for pharaoh (Exodus 1:14). Bietak did not find this Israelite house in his own dig, however, nor did he find it by excavating. He discovered it in a careful study of the report of a dig at Thebes conducted in the 1930s by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. There he found a drawing of the plan of a house that completely differed from adjacent Egyptian houses. In Bietak’s words, “The layout of this building bears no similarity to any of the Egyptian house types in the New Kingdom.” Instead, “The arrangement of the rooms bears … a high degree of similarity to the so-called Iron Age Four-Room house of Palestine.” … iew/19/4/8

“Identified with Avaris (modern day archaeological site of Tel el-Daba), remains of 4-Room Houses were also excavated. The city of Avaris was the capital of the Hyksos domain in the north of Egypt; it was excavated by Egyptologist Manfred Bietak. Remains of a number of 4-room dwellings were also discovered during the archaeological excavations.”

“The most striking aspect of the house is that the floor plan is identical to the Israelite “four-room house” of the later Iron Age in Palestine (Holladay 1992a). In this type of house two side rooms and a back room were arranged around a central space, or courtyard. In Palestine, the side rooms were usually delineated by stone columns. With the scarcity of stone in Egypt, this feature would not be expected.” … s-in-egypt