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The Gate of the Biblical City of Gath Has Been Found

A recent excavation in Israel has uncovered the historic fortifications and monumental gate of a Biblical-era city called Gath. (Image: Prof. Aren Maeir, Director, Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath)
A recent excavation in Israel has uncovered the historic fortifications and monumental gate of a Biblical-era city called Gath. (Image: Prof. Aren Maeir, Director, Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath)

Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the entrance gate to the biblical city of Gath of the Philistines. This was the home of Goliath, and was the largest city during the 10th-9th century B.C. It was about the same time as the “United Kingdom” of Israel and King Ahab of Israel.

Archaeologists find entrance gate to Goliath’s hometown:

The city was once one of five Philistine cities, with the others being Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashod, and Ekron, which existed in the same region as the modern day Gaza Strip. The Old Testament describes Gath as the home of Goliath, the giant warrior who the Israelite King David killed with a slingshot.

Professor Aren Maeir, from the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, who leads the excavations, told Live Science: “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. These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was.”

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The excavations are in the Tel Zafit National Park, which is located in the foothills of Judea and is about halfway between Ashkelon and Jerusalem in central Israel.

According to PHYS.ORG, Prof. Maeir 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 buildings in its vicinity, such as a temple and an iron production facility. These features and the city itself were destroyed by Hazael, the King of Aram Damascus, who besieged and destroyed the site around 830 B.C.

Lost biblical city uncovered by archaeologists is 3,000 years old:

Now in its 20th year, the Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath (www.dig-gath.org) 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 B.C. until modern times, the Bar-Ilan University said in a statement.

“This mirrors the intense and multifaceted connections that existed between the Philistines and their neighbors,” Maeir said. Though the Philistines were often seen as the absolute enemies of the Israelites and Judahites, he added, in reality, “it was much more complex.”

According to Ifl Science, the discoveries didn’t stop at the massive gate. The team has also uncovered a temple, evidence of iron smelting, and remains relating to potentially the earliest siege system in the world. Consisting of a 2.5-kilometer-long, 8-meter-wide trench and towers, apparently even this couldn’t halt the city’s eventual destruction. More interesting, perhaps, is the pottery that they found at the site, as it seems to have been influenced by their supposed enemies, showing elements of Israelite techniques.

They have a lot more digging to go, so it will be interesting what they find next.

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