The caravan cities that were founded along the trade routes were meant to provide an answer to the needs of the trading societies in antiquity. In this way the caravan cities utilized the buildings and institutions that were suited especially for these needs. Evidence of these buildings and institutions can be found in archaeological and historical data.

Toward the end of the Iron Age a flourishing system of settlements developed for the first time in the Beer Sheva Valley. The development of urban centers in the Negev and their integration into the South Arabian trade system were made possible thanks to a period of political rest and economic stability and were influenced by the presence of the Assyrian Empire in the region. It is for this reason this period is referred to as Pax Assyriaca. Due to the location of Tel Aroer at the southernmost point in the Beer Sheva Valley, on the trade route that ran from Southern Arabia via the Negev to the coast, this tell constitutes a study case for a caravan city from the end of the Iron Age.

During the Iron Age II the core of the city was defended by means of fortifications which are characteristic of other cities throughout Judah (offset-inset walls, a gate and glacis). An excavation outside of the city walls of Aroer exposed a rectangular building on the slope (Area A), buildings that abut the outside of the city wall (Area D) and an isolated building on the riverbank of Nahal Aroer (Area C). An analysis of ethnographic and ethno-historical sources that deal with the development of neighborhoods outside the walls of trade cities suggests that this is a phenomenon characteristic of mercantile cultures and constitutes an integral part of the urban landscape in antiquity.

A reconstruction of the architectural components including their material cultural and location in the urban landscape of Aroer in the Iron Age II shows that alongside these components (that were dictated by the central authority of the territorial state – Judah) Aroer combined institutions and buildings that were suited for the economic role of the city: a caravan khan (Area A), industrial, trade and residential zones (Area D) and a guard station (Area C). The caravan city that existed at Aroer served as a meeting place for people from different social contexts (officials, merchants, soldiers and travelers) and as a home to a variety of ethnic groups (Judahites, local nomadic tribes with an Edomite orientation and possibly even Arabs).