archaeological sit (illustration)
archaeological sit (illustration) Yonatan Sindal/Flash 90

Archaeologists in the Negev are unraveling the history of a military complex which dates from the time of King David and King Solomon, Fox News reported.

The gatehouse complex, located in the Timna Valley in Southern Israel, was unearthed in 2014 and dates to the 10th century B.C.E. Recent analysis of the ancient site's excavatede donkey stables have helped archaeologists unravel what life was like there approximately 3,000 years ago.

Animal bones and dung are well-preserved in the desert climate. "When we uncovered the stables, the material was so well preserved and ‘fresh’ that we could not believe it is 3,000 years old,” Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology, one of the excavation leaders, told "Only when the dates came back from the lab were we reassured that indeed these were the remains of stables and other artifacts from the time of David and Solomon.”

Examination of the animal remains determined that they were fed with hay and the remains of grapes which would have been brought from the Mediterranean coast, hundreds of miles away. The animals at the fort were also used to aid in copper production.

The fort was designed to defend ancient Israel against invasion, according to a report in the The Journal of Archaeological Science. It contained a sophisticated defense system and trade links. “The evidence demonstrates long-distance connections with the Mediterranean region,” Ben-Yosef said.