Biblical Archaeology: King David's Defense System Unearthed In Israel

First Posted: Jan 17, 2017 04:30 AM EST

Archeologists have discovered components of a biblical gatehouse dating back to the time of kings David and Solomon in Israel.

Live Science reported that a copper-smelting factory found on the hilltop of Slaves' Hill in Timna Valley contained evidence of a strong defense system during the time of King David and King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. Unearthed by a team led by Erez Ben-Yosef at Tel Aviv University, the site also held donkey stables that were made involved in copper production.

"While there is no explicit description of 'King Solomon's mines' in the Old Testament, there are references to military conflicts between Israel and the Edomites in the Arava Valley," Ben-Yosef said in a statement.

According to the Bible, King David defeated the 18,000 Edomites and made the rest of Edom's citizens as his slaves.

"Then he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David's servants. And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went." -- 2 Samuel 8:14.

The camp was first discovered and named Slaves' Hill by renowned American biblical archaeologist Nelson Glueck in the 1930s. He figured that the large walls built around the site were made to keep the enslaved metalworkers from escaping.

Aside from being a fortified defense system, the gatehouse was also theorized as a prominent landmark for a network of long-distance trade. Copper was one of Israel's major sources of income during the Iron Age as well as a vital element in making military weapons.

"Copper was a rare product and very challenging to produce," Ben-Yosef added. "Because copper - like oil today, perhaps - was the most coveted commodity, it landed at the very heart of military conflicts. The discovery of the fortification indicates a period of serious instability and military threats at that time in the region."

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