The walls erected by the Canaanites for the protection of their farmyards consisted of great unhewn blocks of stone, and remnants of them still exist, especially in the east-Jordan district. Walls of fortifications and towns were similar in structure, although many large cities may have had ramparts of hewn stone. Unburned bricks were also used for walls, and the excavations at Tell al-Ḥasi (Lachish) have brought to light brick walls between nine and ten feet thick. Less thick are the walls at Tell el-Mutasallim (Megiddo), which show a combination of both materials, the base being of unhewn stone, on which layers of brick are laid. The dimensions of the bricks at Megiddo are about 50 × 33 × 13 cm., and the size of the Canaanite walls filled the Israelites with alarm (Num. xiii. 28; Deut. i. 28).
The construction of walls of unhewn stone was long retained by the Israelites, so that, although Solomon built the outer wall of his palace of hewn stone (I Kings xii. 12), the description of the structure (ib. verses 9-11) shows that this was not the usual style of architecture, but an extraordinary innovation which aroused the admiration of his contemporaries. Herein, moreover, is seen the influence of the Tyrians, who designed the palace of Solomon, for Phenician architecture is characterized by its partiality for large blocks of hewn stone. The choice of material was doubtless conditioned primarily by the locality, since in the mountains there was no lack of stone, while in the plains bricks were used for houses and even for the walls.
The walls were generally broad, for the defenders stood on them (comp. Isa. xxxvi. 11; Neh. xii. 31; I Macc. xiii. 45), and engines of war were also placed thereon (II Chron. xxvi. 15). Battlements ( Isa. liv. 12] probably has a similar meaning) were likewise built to protect the guards (II Chron. l.c.). Strong towers were constructed at the corners and gates, as well as on the wall itself at intervals. The entrance was built in an angle, as may still be seen at Jerusalem; and the inner and outer gates were closed with doors covered with iron plates and fitted with iron bolts. A low bulwark (; Isa. xxvi.; Ps. xlviii. 14 [A. V. 13]) with a protective glacis was frequently constructed at some distance before the main wall. See also Fortress; House; Tower.