Stratum II at Tell Sheva is a key stratum in understanding town planning in the Land of Israel during the time of the kingdom. That is so because of the very extensive exposure of the site relative to other modern excavations, as well as Stratum II being a planned city. This combination turned the city from the eighth century at Tell Sheva into a site that is central not only for analyzing town planning but also for examining social and cosmological aspects in the Land of Israel in the Iron Age II. In this lecture I am going to analyze the town plan in Tell Beer Sheva in order to evaluate aspects associated with town planning, fortifications and defense, as well as those connected with cosmology and spatial occupation.

A renewed examination of the possibilities of movement inside the city reveals an emphasis that was placed on defense and accessibility to the fortifications. Examining the location of the public and residential buildings that were exposed in the city shows the spatial occupation of the period’s residents, whereas an analysis of the road system and residential buildings aids in understanding the prevailing cosmology. All of these influenced and shaped the town planning. As a key site, an analysis of the settlement at Tell Beer Sheva also facilitates identifying similar components at sites in the Land of Israel, and particularly in the Kingdom of Judah.