Excavations at a Slaves’ Hill site in the Timna Valley, Israel, revealed a fortified gate with donkey stables that dates to the 10th century BC. It was a part of a defensive system protecting a mining camp.
According to the researchers the Iron Age defensive system of the settlement was highly organised. The mines exploited copper deposits possibly mined by slaves. The defensive perimeter might have served as both protection from outside and means to keep the slaves at the hill’s area. However archaeologists discovered that the metalworkers ate good cuts of meat, pistachios and fish imported from the Mediterranean, suggesting they had a rather high status and were valued for their craft and not have a typical slave’s diet. The entrance to the camp had a form of a prominent gatehouse with two rooms on each side of the main passageway that led through the camp’s walls. Further research revealed that the two rooms were used as donkey stables.
(after CBS News, Live Science & Central Timna Valley Project)