Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Posts tagged “Philistines

1580-1581 Steve Ortiz-Gezer’s Tenth Season

Steve Ortiz

Steve Ortiz

Tel Gezer, a benchmark site in biblical archaeology, has been under excavation for the past ten years by Steve Ortiz and Sam Wolff (co-directors). During this year’s final season of excavation, the remains of two adults and one child were found in a destruction layer dated to about 1200BC.

In this 2-part interview we talk with Steve Ortiz about the results of their excavation, what they know about those three skeletons, and why Gezer was such a hard city to conquer, for the Israelites, the Egyptians, and the Philistines, who were all in the area at the time.



#1540 Clyde Billington – Philistine Cemetery at Ashkelon

Philistine grave from Ashkelon

Philistine grave from Ashkelon

From the news digests in the summer 2016 issue of ARTIFAX magazine, we report on the latest discoveries in biblical archaeology, including a Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon, and an Egyptian statue found at Hazor.

We briefly mention the mosaics of Huqoq and the speculation of another tomb inside the Tomb of Tutankhamun, a search that seems to be fruitless at this point.


1513 Remembering Yoram Tsafrir


Yoram Tsafrir

Yoram Tsafrir

During a visit to Israel in 2001 I had a chance to talk with archaeologist Yoram Tsafrir at Hebrew University about his excavations at Tel Betshean. Tel Betshean is one of the most interesting stops on our tours: a Roman city — one of the cities of the decapolis in Jesus’ time, when it was known as Scythopolis. It sits in the shadow of a large tel upon which sat the Old Testament city of Betshean, the walls upon which the bodies of Saul and Jonathan were hung upon after their defeat by the Philistines.

Yoram Tsafrir died last November, he was 77. We present this interview from our archives in his memory.

1510-1512 Dale Manor – Tel Beth Shemesh

dalemanorpixNot a lot to see at Tel Beth Shemesh (compared with some other sites), but an important excavation, nonetheless. The current excavation has been going on for a quarter century, and Bet Shemesh has an interesting biblical history, as recorded in I Samuel 4-6.

In recent years, the excavators at Tel Beth Shemesh have uncovered part of a Bronze Age Palace, and nearby a temple from a couple hundred years later.

Dale Manor of Harding University is a field director of the dig and gives us an update on the site. We also discuss his latest book, “Digging Deeper into the Word – The Relevance of Archaeology to Christian Apologetics”

1495-1496 Aren Maier-Goliath’s Gath 2015

The area along the ancient border between the Israelites and the Philistines is one of the areas of particular interest in the field of biblical archaeology right now, and one of the largest sites of the more than half dozen currently under excavation is Tel es-Safi/Gath. Gath was not only the home of Goliath and his giant kin, but also the largest of the cities of the Philistine pentapolis.

We first talked with Arean Maier when he was beginning this excavation two decades ago, and it was time for an update on the latest discoveries, including a giant gate from the time of David and Goliath.

1427 Si Gitin – The Philistines of Ekron

The Ekron Inscription

The Ekron Inscription

Following up our previous program on our 1996 visit to the final season of excavation at Tel Mikne Ekron, I pulled this program from the archives. This is an interview with Si Gitin, director of the Albright Institute in Jerusalem and co-director of the Tel Mikne Ekron excavation, explaining the new understanding of the Philistines, based on what was excavated during their 14 seasons. Si Gitin also discusses one of the most important discoveries of the excavation, the royal dedicatory inscription that was found in 1996, shortly after we visited the site.

After a 34-year tenure as director of the Albright, Si Gitin will be retiring in July and turning over the position to Matthew Adams.


1426 Steve Ortiz & Barry Gittlen – Visiting Archaeological Sites

Doorpost socket at Tel Mike Ekron

Doorpost socket at Tel Mike Ekron

Plans are being finalized for our next Book & The Spade Archaeological Adventure Study Tour to Israel, March 14-24, 2015. Our Book & The Spade tours allow listeners and anyone else interested in Biblical Archaeology the opportunity to actually visit the sites that we talk about, where important discoveries in Biblical Archaeology are being made. The tentative itinerary is now posted online and should be finalized soon. If you’re interested in Biblical Archaeology, I hope you’ll consider joining us.

For this program, announcing our tour, I went to the archives to dig up the report on our visit to the excavations at Tel Mike-Ekron during our 1996 tour. Although we visit a lot of archaeological sites, only occasionally do we get to visit excavations as they are underway. At the end of our 1996 tour, we stopped at the Tel Mikne dig as the archaeologists were beginning the last of their 14 seasons of excavations. We were courteously shown around the site by two experienced archaeologists, Steve Ortiz and Barry Gittlen. Later on that year an important inscription was found, confirming the identity of Tel Mikne as Ekron, and mentioning a Philistine ruler.

Pictured above is a doorpost socket that is actually described in this program by Barry Gittlen.