Prof. Aren Maeir has posted a great aerial photo of Tell es-Safi/Gath on his blog here. He also has a photo showing the air balloon with a remote camera used to make the photo. I am taking the liberty to post a small copy of the aerial photo in an effort to encourage you to look at the hi-res one on his blog. In this photo you can see the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. This illustrates clearly the terrain of the Shephelah and the coastal plain (of Philistia). The areas worked this summer are indicated by the letters E, A, P and F.
Aren promises to offer final reports on the accomplishments of the season shortly. We look forward to those.
Over the years I have encountered people who think ALL of the archaeological work has been done. When you see a large mound like Tell es-Safi/Gath from the air you begin to understand that there is still work to be done.
Here are a few of the interesting things we know about Gath from the Bible:
- Gath was one of the five major cities of the Philistines (1 Samuel 6:17).
- The ark of the covenant was brought here by the Philistines after being capture in battle with the Israelites (1 Samuel 5:8).
- Goliath was from Gath (1 Samuel 17).
- David once sought refuge from Achish king of Gath (1 Samuel 21).
- When Saul and Jonathan died, David did not want it to be published among the Philistines. He said, “Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult” (2 Samuel 1:20).
- King Uzziah broke down the wall of Gath, and other Philistine cities, and built Judean cities (2 Chronicles 26:6).