Archaeologists from an Israeli university have discovered the fortifications and entrance gateway to the Philistine city of Gath, famed as the home of the giant Goliath.

The excavations of the city's remains, located in the Tel Zafit National Park between Jerusalem and Ashkelon, was once the largest urban settlement in the area and was eventually destroyed by Hazael, King of Damascus in 830 BC.

Directed by Professor Aren M Maeir, of Bar Ilan University, excavations have been taking place on the site since 1996. Professor Maeir has reportedly said the gate was among the largest ever found in Israel and is evidence of the high status of the city.

The gate being excavated is referred to in I Samuel 21 - when David, feigning madness, "acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate". Gath was also the home town of the giant Goliath, famously slain by the boy David using a sling.

Previous findings at the site of Gath have included those of Philistine temples dating from the 11th to 9th century BC, the earliest decipherable Philistine inscription ever discovered, and evidence of an earthquake which took place in the 8th century BC - possibly connected to that recorded at the beginning of the Book of Amos. ~