During excavations at the Tel Tzafit National Park near Kiryat Gat, researchers and archaeologists have discovered a Philistine temple and evidence of a major earthquake that occurred during Biblical times. The site of Kiryat Gat is ancient Gath, home of the Biblical figure Goliath. The discovery of the temple, the first to be found in Gath, will allow researchers to learn more about the architecture of Philistia during the time when the Biblical hero Samson is thought to have destroyed the temple of Dagon.
“We’re not saying this is the same temple where the story of Samson occurred or that the story even did occur,” said Professor Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University. “But this gives us a good idea of what image whoever wrote the story would have had of a Philistine temple.”
Scientists have also found wreckage at Gath that they believe to be results of an earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale.
“We know that there is a very famous earthquake mentioned in the book of Isaiah and the book of Amos ... What we have here is very strong arch-evidence of a dramatic earthquake, a natural event that left a very significant impression on the biblical prophets of the time,” Meier said.