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Archeologists uncover 3,200-year-old citadel in southern Israel


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A 3,200-year-old citadel unearthed near Guvrin Stream and Kibbutz Gal On, August 2020.
Photo by Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities AuthorityA 3,200-year-old citadel unearthed near Guvrin Stream and Kibbutz Gal On, August 2020.

Israel Antiquity Authority assesses that Egyptians likely built citadel to repel Philistine invaders

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently announced the unearthing of a 3,200-year-old citadel near the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, thought to be the site of epic battles in biblical times.

It is thought that the Egyptians built the 12th century BCE fortress - next to Kibbutz Gal On and the Guvrin Stream, some 70 kilometers (40 miles) south of Jerusalem - in an attempt to protect the spine of the country from marauding Philistine seafarers. The era likely coincided with the period of the biblical judges, according to an IAA statement.

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At some point, the Egyptians abandoned the citadel, leading to the destruction of numerous Canaanite cities, likely at the hands of the Philistines.

According to IAA archaeologists, Saar Ganor and Itamar Weissbein, the structure that was unearthed is 18 meters (59 feet) long and 18 meters wide, with towers in its four corners for a lookout.

They said a huge doorstep has been preserved that was carved out of a single rock weighing 3 tons, cited a report in The Times of Israel.

“The citadel we discovered offers a glimpse into the geopolitical reality described in the Book of Judges, where the Canaanites, Israelites and Philistines battle each other,” Ganor and Weissbein were quoted as saying in the statement.

“At the time, the Land of Canaan was ruled by the Egyptians, and its residents were their proteges,” they said. “But then, during the 12th century BCE, two central players appeared in the area: the Israelites and the Philistines. And thus began a series of bloody territorial struggles.

The site will be opened to the public Tuesday and will be free of charge.

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