Gates to Goliath's city discovered

An aerial view of fortifications found in the lower city of Gath.Twitter @arenmaeir

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a gate and fortifications of a city that Christian tradition says was home to Goliath.

According to biblical accounts, the giant killed by David in 1 Samuel 17 was from the Philistine city of Gath, central Israel. It is also where David fled to escape King Saul. Archaeologists have now unearthed its entrance, which they claim is among the largest ever found in the country.

Professor Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University is leading the investigation. He said it was "quite an astounding find".

In an email to Live Science, Maeir said: "We knew that Philistine Gath in the 10th to ninth century [BC] was a large city, perhaps the largest in the land at that time. These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was."

The site has been subject to excavation since 1899, but Maeir believes his team's latest finding provides new evidence of Gath's significant status and influence. The city is believed to have been destroyed in the late ninth century BC. According to 2 Kings, it was captured and conquered by the king of Aram-Damascus.

Maeir's team have also found evidence of a huge earthquake in eighth century BC, which could be that mentioned in the book of Amos. Other findings include the earliest decipherable Philistine inscription, a Philistine temple and pottery.