A gatehouse has been uncovered during recent excavations at an ancient mining camp in southern Israel. The building dates back to the 10th century B.C. and includes donkey stables. [Read the full story here]
The gatehouse was unearthed at a hilltop archaeological site in the Timna Valley known as Slaves' Hill.
First identified in the 1930s, the walled site was initially thought to be a camp for slave laborers, but it has since been reinterpreted as a copper smelting camp.
Copper was a valuable resource in the 10th century B.C., so it makes sense that this camp would have had a gatehouse at its only entrance to track the flow of goods and people.
Landmark in the desert
The gatehouse, which had a room on either side of the passageway, would have been a prominent feature in the ancient landscape.
Outside of the rooms, archaeologists found piles of dung and interpreted these areas as donkey stables.
By looking at the contents of the donkey dung (shown in B here) the researchers were able to tell that the animals were well fed with sustenance from as far away as the Mediterranean.