It is customary to assume that in the Early Bronze Age II-III the socio-political landscape of the Land of Israel was characterized by a multitude of city-states, each of which ruled over the peripheral region adjacent to it. Following this concept, while at the same time relying on various geographic indicators, maps were drawn in the literature suggesting what the domains of the main cities were and what the extent of their control was. These studies are entirely theoretical and in fact there is no real evidence from the archaeological information on the EBII-III as to how each city-state implemented its control over the periphery.
While surveying the Map of Ein Bokek (Map 150 in the Israel Survey) remains of an EBII-III road were discovered on a spur, between Nahal Himar and Nahal Zohar, ascending in a northwesterly direction from the region south of the Dead Sea. We assume that the road connected the settlement center that existed at this time in the region of Bab a-Dar’a to that which existed in the Arad Valley. A study of the sites along the road makes it possible to reconstruct the manner by which a system of central authority controlled the road and those traveling along it and sheds light on an aspect of the city-states that until known lay only within the realm of educated conjecture.