A monumental discovery in the Holy Land may hold the key to the biblical mystery of David and Goliath
Israel: Biblical site linked to David and Goliath excavatedArcheologists work on the site of Tel Tzafit in Israel which was once the ancient Biblical city of Gath which had strong links to the story of David and Goliath.
David, an Israelite, defeated Goliath, a Philistine giant, in single combat in one of the most famous episodes of the Bible.
With little evidence to support the legend, its origins have proved mysterious – yet now a new discovery could shed light on the tale.
Archaeologists excavating Goliath’s hometown, Gath, have unearthed a new layer of ruins dating back to the time of the biblical battle – and they’re unusually large.
Excavation director Aren Maeir, of Bar Ilan University in Israel, said the discovery came as a surprise after 23 years.
He said: “We now know the size and impressive nature of the early Iron Age city is quite different than previously thought.
“It was assumed the city reached its large size during the 10th and 9th century BC.
“It now appears that the early Iron Age city – 11th century BC and perhaps before – may have been even bigger and more impressive.
“This is a surprise of sort after 23 years of excavations at the site.”
He added: “Perhaps, the legends of giants among the Philistines, and in particular from Gath – Goliath and others – might have arisen, among other reasons, from seeing the impressive monumental remains of the city in the centuries after its destruction.”
The newly-found fortifications are reportedly four metres (13ft) wide, whereas walls from later periods are up to two-and-a-half metres (8ft) wide.
The building blocks themselves are also bigger, measuring up to two metres (6.5ft) in the ‘Goliath’ layer and only half a metre (1.6ft) in later layers.
And Gath covered a large space too, reportedly stretching across 123.5 acres, more than twice the area of most comparable cities in the region at that time.
“This changes our understanding of the development of the site, and its relationship and primacy in regard to other Philistines sites,” said Dr Maier.
In terms of direct evidence for a historical Goliath, the closest thing that archaeologists have is a shard unearthed in 2005 which featured two names with a similar root to Goliath.
The city was eventually destroyed in 830 BC by Hazael of Aram Damascus
The Dailystar, UK