'Astounding find': Archaeologists find the home of Goliath, giant defeated by David

Archaelogists from the Bar-Ilan University, led by Prof. Aren M. Maeir (left), pose beside a large Iron Age II storage jar in Tell es-Safi/Gath, a site in Israel.(Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project/Bar-Ilan University)

The Bible describes a formidable city where Goliath, the giant defeated by David, lived. Now, archaeologists have unearthed the entrance to this city, believed to have been the home of the powerful Philistine empire before it was destroyed in the ninth century B.C.

A massive gate and a portion of a fortified wall were uncovered in Tell es-Safi, a Palestinian village in Israel, giving hints on the biggest metropolis in the region during biblical times.

Professor Aren Maeir, an archaeologist from Bar-Ilan University in Israel who has been leading the excavation, believes these artefacts once served as the entrance to "the lower city of Gath," described in the Bible as Goliath's home.

The same gate is referred to in the Hebrew Bible, particularly in the story detailing how David escaped from King Saul to Achish, the King of Gath.

"We still have to do a lot of cleaning, defining, digging and measuring to do, but it appears that there are really good chances we have truly landed on quite an astounding find," Maeir said.

The archaeologist further explained that the details and architecture of the gate may provide more clues on the ancient civilisation.

"Many lines of megalithic stone are appearing, with nice corners, features and even mud bricks. While we are quite far from fully understanding this architectural complex, it is getting more and more impressive," Maeir explained.

Maeir's team found the top surface of the massive gate while digging trenches to locate the ancient city's fortifications.

Because of the sheer size of the remaining walls, the archaeologists will have to spend several seasons to uncover them. So far, the team has only unearthed and made visible the top surface of the structures.

Maeir believes that based on the size and shape of the stones his team has unearthed, the walls of the Biblical city must be quite large, considering that they were once used to prevent the Kingdom of Judah from expanding westward.