Archaeologists uncover Philistine temple ruins in Goliath's hometown

Last Updated: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 11:10 hrs

Archaeologists from Bar Ilan University have uncovered the ruins of a Philistine temple in the ancient city of Gath, home of the Biblical Goliath, buried in one of the largest mounds in Israel.

The temple and a number of ritual items dating back to the 10th century BCE were discovered at Tel Tsafit by Professor Aren Maeir of BIU's Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology and his international team. The mound is located about halfway between Ashkelon and Jerusalem, near Kiryat Gat along the southern coastal plain.

"Interestingly, the architectural design of this temple, with its two central pillars, is reminiscent of the architectural image that is described in the well-known Biblical story of Samson and the Philistines," Israel National News quoted Maeir, as saying. He added that the discovery could indicate that the story of Samson reflects a type of temple that was in use in Philistia at the time.

Maeir also said that his team had found impressive evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BCE, reminiscent of the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Amos 1:1. The team discovered walls that were moved from their place and collapsed like a deck of cards as a result of the powerful earthquake - assessed at a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale.

Furthermore, Maeir said, the summer's excavations have uncovered further evidence of the destruction of the city by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus, around 830 BCE, as mentioned in Kings II 12:18, as well as evidence of the first Philistine settlement in Canaan (around 1200 BCE). (ANI)