(CBS News) Archaeologists in Israel say they’ve discovered elements of a sophisticated gatehouse at a mining camp that dates back to the biblical era of King David and King Solomon in the 10th century B.C.
Recent excavations at the hilltop copper-smelting factory known as Slaves’ Hill in the Timna Valley have revealed a fortified gatehouse with donkey stables. The archaeologists, led by Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University, think these features show that this Iron Age settlement had a highly organized defense system and depended on an impressive network of long-distance trade.
The vast copper deposits in the southern Levant have been exploited by humans for hundreds of years. This particular camp was first identified in the 1930s by the famous American biblical archaeologist Nelson Glueck. He called it Slaves’ Hill, theorizing that the massive walls that surrounded the perimeter were meant to keep enslaved laborers from escaping into the desert.
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