Unearthing Gath, City of Goliath

09 Aug 2015

Archeologists at Bar Ilan University made a startling discovery last week: remnants of the ancient city of Gath, the city of Goliath.

Led by Professor Aren Maeir of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at the University, the excavations of the ancient city of Gath were conducted in the Tel Zafit national park, located in the Judean foothills between Jerusalem and Ashkelon.

The archaeological dig—now in its 20th year (noted USA Today)— has uncovered the entrance gate to Gath fortifications and an entrance gate to the biblical city.

“We knew that Philistine Gath in the 10th to ninth century [B.C.] was a large city, perhaps the largest in the land at that time,” Professor Maeir told The Discovery Channel News. “These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was.”

Israel Today also reports that among the various building discovered in the city is an iron production facility large enough to produce the kind of weapons used by Goliath, as mentioned in Tanach.

Among other significant findings at the site is evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BCE that is seemingly connected to the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Amos and two of the earliest Philistine inscriptions ever discovered, both of which contain two names similar to Goliath. A large assortment of weapons used by the Philistines were uncovered along with extensive evidence of the capture and destruction of the city by Hazael, which is mentioned in 2 Kings 12:18. There is also evidence of the first Philistine settlement in Canaan around 1200 BCE.

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