The discovery of a more ancient settlement under the remains of the previously unearthed Philistine city of Gath, believed to be Goliath’s birthplace, might shed light on the story of the Biblical giant and the grandeur of his home.
The newly-found city, which was reportedly in its prime in the 11th century BC, is located at a place called Tell es-Safi in Southern Israel and is greater than the ninth century BC settlement above it. The site also has the remains of impressive structures, the Israeli outlet Haaretz reports. According to historians, this confirms that Gath, which allegedly inspired the authors of the Biblical text, was one of the largest settlements of its time.
As archaeology Professor Aren Maeir from the Bar-Ilan University suggested, the findings might explain why Goliath and other Biblical heroes were pictured as giants, although there is no archaeological evidence indicating their actual size.
“There are no skeletons of people who are taller than NBA centres", Maeir told The Jerusalem Post, suggesting that the massive structures left behind by the ancestors were reflected in the Biblical texts about them.
He pointed out that Gath must have had “very, very impressive architecture”, which together with the Philistines’ political, military, and cultural dominance in the region, remained in the public memory in the form of this giant hero, who was defeated by the future Israeli King David.
“When people see remains of very impressive architecture and say, ‘Wow, how could someone have built that?’ one of the explanations they sometimes offer is ‘This must have been done by giants of the past’”, the scientist, who has studied the site for 23 years, explained.