An international team of archaeologists has discovered the remains of an ancient Philistine city and rural settlements dating back to the 12-11th centuries BCE and the early 10th century BCE, The Times of Israel reported, citing a statement by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The finding is said to match the timeline of Ziklag, a legendary place of refuge for King David that is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.
According to the story laid out in the Holy Book, the legendary ruler hid there for 14 months while he was on the run from King Saul prior to taking over the realm. However, while David and his Philistine patron Achish attempted to battle Saul, the town was razed. According to Scripture, it later became a base for Jews on their back way from Babylon.
Carbon-14 dating of the excavation finds at the site Khirbet a-Ra‘i, located in the Judean foothills, suggest that the site fits the Biblical timeline. Apart from dating back to the alleged era of King David, the settlement is said to bear the signs of an intense and destructive fire.
Over the course of seven dig seasons, archaeologists have uncovered massive stone structures and cultural artefacts, attributed to the Philistine-era, for instance special pottery placed beneath a building’s floor as good luck offerings, as well as stone and metal tools. The trove of discoveries at the alleged site of Ziklag also reportedly includes 100 complete pottery vessels, ornamented with King David-era “red slipped and hand-burnished” finishes.
Ziklag has remained a mystery for decades, as archaeologists have not been able to agree which site is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible under this name. Several ancient settlements have been suggested as the closest analogue to Ziklag, but these have all been dismissed as they have not matched the complete Biblical description.