"David and Goliath" City Found in Israel?

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Sha'arayim is also mentioned three times in the Bible and is twice linked to David.

"Everything comes together—the geography, the Bible, and the radiometric dating. It's no coincidence," Garfinkel said.

Judean City?

Other archaeologists received news of the second gate's discovery with interest, but they warned of jumping to conclusions.

Amos Kloner, an Israel studies professor at Bar Ilan University, once served as district archaeologist around the Elah site but is not involved in the current excavations.

"This is an initial idea, all aspects of which must be examined," he said. "[But] it doesn't matter if there is a second gate … This provides no indication of a Judean population there."

It's not known whether the Judeans or the Philistines controlled the strategic fortress overlooking the Elah Valley.

Team leader Garfinkel believes the site was most likely the westernmost outpost maintained by the Kingdom of Judea, which controlled land in southwest Asia and Palestine and was a predecessor to the Kingdom of Israel.

No Proof

Israel Knohl, also not involved in the Elah excavations, is a Biblical studies expert at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"The main problem with this site is that we still need unequivocal proof that it was a city of Judeans," Knohl said.

The discovery of the second gate "is of secondary importance … At the moment, we cannot determine with certainty this was Sha'arayim or that it was a Judean city."

Scholars know almost nothing of life in Sha'arayim.

"If you ask me what life was like even in Jerusalem during the time of King David, that we can't say," Knohl said. "When it comes to smaller [and less important] locations, we simply don't know."

Garfinkel said he will continue to explore the Elah site in search of further evidence.

"Maybe we'll find an inscription on the gate indicating who built the city: 'I David, son of Yishai, built this city,'" he said with a laugh.

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