Archaeologists uncover entrance gate and fortification of Biblical city

August 3, 2015
This is a view of the remains of the Iron Age city wall of Philistine Gath. Credit: Prof. Aren Maeir, Director, Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath

The Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath, headed by Prof. Aren Maeir, has discovered the fortifications and entrance gate of the biblical city of Gath of the Philistines, home of Goliath and the largest city in the land during the 10th-9th century BCE, about the time of the "United Kingdom" of Israel and King Ahab of Israel. The excavations are being conducted in the Tel Zafit National Park, located in the Judean Foothills, about halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon in central Israel.

Prof. Maeir, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, said that the city gate is among the largest ever found in Israel and is evidence of the status and influence of the city of Gath during this period. In addition to the monumental gate, an impressive fortification wall was discovered, as well as various building in its vicinity, such as a temple and an iron production facility. These features, and the city itself were destroyed by Hazael King of Aram Damascus, who besieged and destroyed the site at around 830 BCE.

The city gate of Philistine Gath is referred to in the Bible (in I Samuel 21) in the story of David's escape from King Saul to Achish, King of Gath.

Now in its 20th year, the Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath, is a long-term investigation aimed at studying the archaeology and history of one of the most important sites in Israel. Tell es-Safi/Gath is one of the largest tells (ancient ruin mounds) in Israel and was settled almost continuously from the 5th millennium BCE until modern times.

The archaeological dig is led by Prof. Maeir, along with groups from the University of Melbourne, University of Manitoba, Brigham Young University, Yeshiva University, University of Kansas, Grand Valley State University of Michigan, several Korean universities and additional institutions throughout the world.

Among the most significant findings to date at the site: Philistine Temples dating to the 11th through 9th century BCE, evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BCE possibly connected to the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Amos I:1, the earliest decipherable Philistine inscription ever to be discovered, which contains two names similar to the name Goliath; a large assortment of objects of various types linked to Philistine culture; remains relating to the earliest siege system in the world, constructed by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus around 830 BCE, along with extensive evidence of the subsequent capture and destruction of the city by Hazael, as mentioned in Second Kings 12:18; evidence of the first Philistine settlement in Canaan (around 1200 BCE); different levels of the earlier Canaanite city of Gath; and remains of the Crusader castle "Blanche Garde" at which Richard the Lion-Hearted is known to have been.

Explore further: Israeli archaeologists find inscription of name from Bible

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TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (14) Aug 03, 2015
"home of Goliath"

-Just remember all you godders, Spiderman lives in NYC.
mvg
5 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2015
"home of Goliath"

-Just remember all you godders, Spiderman lives in NYC.


And Otto believes in ghosts.
Returners
2.8 / 5 (9) Aug 03, 2015
"home of Goliath"

-Just remember all you godders, Spiderman lives in NYC.


The world record tallest man in modern times was only about 7 inches or so shorter than the Biblical Goliath, yet you find the story totally implausible?

I think you are totally blinded.
matt_s
4.6 / 5 (13) Aug 03, 2015
Sorry Returners, you're completely wrong. Even a short google would show you. Let's just use wikipedia.

"Goliath's stature grew at the hand of narrators or scribes: the oldest manuscripts—the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel, the 1st century historian Josephus, and the 4th century Septuagint manuscripts—all give his height as "four cubits and a span" (6 feet 9 inches or 2.06 metres); whereas the Masoretic Text gives this as "six cubits and a span" (9 feet 9 inches or 2.97 metres)"

Seems pretty obvious what the true value is.

Regardless, do you realize all the health issues encountered by someone Wadlow's size? There is no way someone in similar in height could be the "champion" in a military. He would be EXTREMELY lucky to even be able to walk without assistance.

PhotonX
5 / 5 (10) Aug 03, 2015
Otto's preemptive point, I believe, is that the existence of archaeological sites does not automatically prove the truth of supernatural biblical stories. The existence of such sites, discovered or not, aren't what's in dispute--nobody doubts that there are vast numbers of such places, both which are known from antiquity and those totally lost to time--just that their existence doesn't a priori establish the stories. Especially, as matt points out, when the stories don't even agree with each other.
.
.
indio007
3 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2015
This article cracks me up. There isn't any evidence Philistines ever existed.
animah
5 / 5 (5) Aug 04, 2015
just that their existence doesn't a priori establish the stories

You know how YEC believers always say to scientists: "There's no proof because you weren't there"? Same thing LOL.
gculpex
not rated yet Aug 04, 2015
Sorry matt, but you gave it away with the different scribes, one could of heard 'four' and another 'six'.
EnricM
5 / 5 (5) Aug 04, 2015
This article cracks me up. There isn't any evidence Philistines ever existed.


I was just doing some googling and in fact it's interesting to see that nobody knows exactly what happened in this zone. Seems to have been pretty much of a mess and sort of a frontier place. Small wonder if you consider that it was a buffer zone between some of the military super powers of the zone.

I am therefore inclined to imagine all the episodes of the "Great Kings of Israel" as enacted by a bunch of guys clad in sheepskin and cracking each others skulls with stone clubs.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.1 / 5 (11) Aug 04, 2015
LOL! This is biblical 'archeology' trolling real science with made up shit, of course. Wikipedia tell us immediately that - as expected - the existence of Philistines and of any "Gath" city is debated and construed by them and not archeologists.

"Outside of the Bible, the evidence for and origins of the Philistines are not clear and is the subject of considerable research and speculation in biblical archaeology." [ https://en.wikipe...listines ]

" ... although a stone inscription disclosing the name of the city has yet to be discovered. ... The site most favored as the location of Gath is ... [ https://en.wikipe...h_(city) ]

This is yet another test on the observation that religion makes you effectively insane. (And indeed, I see at least one troll has gobbled up this Argentinosaurus sized piece of shit. =D)
bluehigh
1.8 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2015
The insanity is suggesting that Wikipedia is any kind of authoritive reference. Wikipedia has about as much veracity as the Bible. In America both are held in high regard. Much of the rest of the world has moved on.

Returners
1 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2015
He would be EXTREMELY lucky to even be able to walk without assistance.


Tell that to "Big Show" on WWE, or Andre who was provably unbeatable by the regular wrestlers, as it is well known that he won 1vs2 handicap matches, AND that the match with Hulk Hogan was intentionally "thrown" as a "changing of the guard" when he got too old to continue wrestling.

The way they use the "unbeatable giant" athlete is to stage things like surprise attacks and double-triple teams in order to not have the "giant" win every match...

You are also assuming that the Goliath was tall due to perhaps some genetic disease, as is the case for some people. Who's to say the genes he had that made him so big even had negative effects? That's your conjecture.

In the story he was big enough, strong enough, and intimidating enough so that none of Saul's army would face him in a duel. That doesn't sound like a 6' 7" person to me.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2015
There isn't any evidence Philistines ever existed.
Not only that but

"seven of the eight times that the Philistines are mentioned in Genesis, they are discussed in connection with either Abraham's visit with Abimelech, king of the Philistines (21:32,34), or with Isaac's visit to the same city (Gerar) a few years later (26:1,8,14-15,18). For some time now, critics of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch have considered the mention of the Philistines—so early in human history—to be anachronistic (i.e., details from a later age inappropriately inserted into the patriarchal account)... "Philistines…did not come into Palestine until after the time of Moses" (Gottwald, 1959, p. 104), and any mention of them before that time represents "an historical inaccuracy" (Frank, 1964, p. 323). Thus, as Millar Burrows concluded, the mention of Philistines in Genesis may be considered... "undoubtedly a mistake."
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (7) Aug 04, 2015
That doesn't sound like a 6' 7" person to me.
Lrrkrrr lurks in an entirely interior world of his own making, repleat with a very bizarre personal god indeed.

Myths are based on exaggeration. Ever hear of paul bunyan? But people back then were typically 5 feet tall or less.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (10) Aug 04, 2015
Wikipedia has about as much veracity as the Bible
Youre obviously wrong.

"The reliability of Wikipedia (primarily of the English-language edition), compared to other encyclopedias and more specialized sources, has been assessed in many ways, including statistically, through comparative review, analysis of the historical patterns, and strengths and weaknesses inherent in the editing process unique to Wikipedia."

"The study concluded that "Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries"

"Wikipedia is "surprisingly accurate in reporting names, dates, and events in U.S. history"

"Opinions on accuracy were almost equal between the two encyclopedias (6 favoring Britannica, 7 favoring Wikipedia, 5 stating they were equal), and eleven of the eighteen (61%) found Wikipedia somewhat or substantially more complete, compared to seven of the eighteen (39%) for Britannica."

-etc. Next time research before you spout, 'kay?
sythirius
5 / 5 (6) Aug 04, 2015
"home of Goliath"

-Just remember all you godders, Spiderman lives in NYC.


The world record tallest man in modern times was only about 7 inches or so shorter than the Biblical Goliath, yet you find the story totally implausible?

I think you are totally blinded.


Yes, which was due to a dysfunction of the pituitary gland. Please.

Archaeological records have indicated an even shorter average height of man earlier than today. Without adequate proteins, people were closer to heights like four feet at times. The Philistines were huge! Many of them were around 6 feet!

No one roughly approaching 9 feet has ever been discovered in archaeological history.
sythirius
5 / 5 (7) Aug 04, 2015
You are also assuming that the Goliath was tall due to perhaps some genetic disease, as is the case for some people. Who's to say the genes he had that made him so big even had negative effects? That's your conjecture.

In the story he was big enough, strong enough, and intimidating enough so that none of Saul's army would face him in a duel. That doesn't sound like a 6' 7" person to me.


And still over 2 feet shorter.

As I said with the earlier reply, people on average were shorter. The genetics are not in your favor. Someone of his size would be suffering from gigantism, a condition of the pituitary gland, and would likely have been dead before the age of 30. We know this from modern statistics, modern genetics, and the study of science, rather than your holy book. Science is more reliable than a God who expects people to interpret 2000+ year old scripture correctly, rather than straight up telling you what to believe.
AGreatWhopper
2 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2015
"Sorry Returners, you're completely wrong. Even a short google would show you. Let's just use wikipedia."

Short? You do realize that with returners you're talking to someone that only takes his hand off his dick for 10 seconds at a time, no? The other hand is always stuffing his face. That'll ultimately end his compulsion for jerking off. It must be pretty much ingrown by now.
jljenkins
3 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2015
I've noticed that articles on this site about Israel in the 10th century BCE are always confused on some basic points.

#1. The Philistine language is mostly unknown. A few brief syllables have been guessed at, but 99.9% of it is totally unknown. While everyone is concentrating on "possibly the name of Goliath" you're missing the more important bit, "which would be about the longest known Philistine word".
#2. There was no difference at that time between proto-Caananite and archeo-Hebrew. They were basically the same language.
#3. It is not unheard of to use the character set from one language to phonetically display words from a second language, as with Coptic- Egyptian written in Greek characters. The recent article about a 10th century BCE inscription that made no sense, in proto-Caananite is a good example. It was probably written in the language of the Philistines.

But then people seem to only post here for argument, not to work out facts.
jljenkins
3 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2015
My great-great-grandfather was 7 foot 6 inches and weighed 275 pounds. They say he could pick up a whiskey barrel and drink from it; took all comers in bare knuckle fights for $2. Now, if he came out to face a 4 foot nothing Jew boy from the 10th century BCE...how is that not a giant to them?

Inv #8036672
bluehigh
4 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2015
@GhostofOtto

There's plenty of quotes to be found questioning Wikipedia accuracy and editorial objectivity.

If you're bothered by the Biblical stories and not concerned by Wikipedia then you are a hypocrite. Go check the Wikipedia article on Blacklight Power. Objective encyclopaedia?

Most North Americans believe the Bible is factual so you are mostly a dumb bunch. Using Wikipedia as a reference just shows how really dumb are North Americans.

KeithMcC
not rated yet Aug 06, 2015
Wikipedia's History of Ancient Israel articles are sourced to the Bible.
baudrunner
1 / 5 (1) Aug 06, 2015
King Og of Bashan, was a tall monster, the last of the Nephilim, or "Rephaim". Moses' army killed him.

Deuteronomy 3:11:"For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bedstead was an iron bedstead... nine cubits was its length, and 4 cubits was its breadth". He might have been about 14 feet tall.

Goliath was said to be "6 cubits and a span".

Now, a cubit is... "typically about 18 inches or 44 cm, though there was a long cubit of about 21 inches or 52 cm."

That would mean that Goliath could could easily have been over 10 feet tall.

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