Israeli archeologists have unearthed an 8,000-year-old Bronze Age settlement and the remains of a 1st century A.D. Jewish homestead, close to a town named for Biblical giant Goliath’s birthplace.
The Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday that contractors working on a new trans-Israel highway asked the authority to carry out an exploratory dig at Ptora, in the archeologically rich region east of the town of Kiryat Gat, before earthmovers started ripping into the ground. Founded in 1955, Kiryat Gat was named after the Philistine city of Gath, said to be the birthplace of Goliath and believed to lie nearby. Today, most archeologists believe Gath was sited some distance to the northeast, near the coastal town of Ashdod.
The authority said remnants found at the 1.75-acre Ptora site showed that its Bronze Age inhabitants engaged in agriculture, copper production and the making of ceramics and occupied the settlement continuously until about 3,000 BC.
“The excavations reveal to us the daily life of the residents over the course of more than 3,000 years,” authority excavation director Yaakov Baumgarten said in a statement.
Also unearthed at the site were the remains of a 1st century A.D. farmhouse, apparently abandoned by its Jewish occupants during the bloody revolt against Roman occupation in the year 70 A.D., the authority said.
The building had an open court yard used as a kitchen, two ritual baths as used by pious Jews and a variety of stoneware vessels, it added.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.