11th July, 2016
Archaeologists have discovered what is believed to be the first Philistine cemetery on the outskirts of a former ancient city on Israel's Mediterranean shore.
The "ground-breaking discovery", dated to 11th to 8th centuries BC, has unearthed the remains of more than 140 people as well as pottery, jewellery and weapons outside the walls of the port of Ashkelon, one of five ancient Philistine cities.
It came about as part of a 30 year excavation project in the Ashkelon National Park by the Leon Levy Expedition, organised by Harvard University, Boston College, Wheaton College and Troy University in the US.
Archaeologists hope the find may help them work out the mysterious origins of the Philistines, who in the Bible were the enemy of the ancient Israelites. The great Israelite king, David, rose to fame after he killed the Philistine giant Goliath in the Biblical Book of I Samuel.
Wheaton's Daniel Master, co-director of the expedition, reportedly said the findings were providing the team with a "feel for the Philistines that we've never had before". "We're finally seeing them face-to-face," he said.
- DAVID ADAMS