Arrowhead with 'clear impact fracture' found near Biblical home of Goliath

8 mins read


Fractured arrowhead discovered near Biblical home of Goliath in Israel may have been used in BATTLE when the city was taken over in 830 BC

  • An arrowhead made from bone was discovered near the ancient Israeli city of Gath, the Biblical home of Goliath 
  • It was initially discovered in 2019 and was likely comprised of cattle metapodial
  •  It’s possible that the arrowhead was produced in a workshop about 1,000 feet from where it was discovered
  • The workshop contained bones that came from two skeletal elements (lower fore and hind limbs) from domestic cattle
  • The arrowhead was likely used in battle, as the point is broken and it has a ‘clear impact fracture’ 
  • It’s possible it was used by the city’s defenders, but the experts can’t rule out it could have been used by Aramaean attackers 
  • It was found in a pottery basket from the street surface, which included mixed pottery that dated all the way until the Iron Age II

Archaeologists discovered an arrowhead made from bone near the ancient Israeli city of Gath, the Biblical home of Goliath, according to a newly published study.

The findings, published in Near Eastern Archaeology, note the arrowhead was initially discovered in 2019 and was likely comprised of cattle metapodial. 

It’s believed the near 3,000-year-old arrowhead was used by the city’s defenders, but the researchers said they can not rule out the possibility it belonged to the Aramaean attackers.

‘These bones were specifically selected for the job given their large size from which multiple points could be made, and their thick layer of hard compact bone that was cut following the length of the bone, that is, its longitudinal axis,’ the researchers wrote in the study. ‘This would make the artifacts extremely robust and capable of withstanding impact.’

It’s possible that the arrowhead was produced in a workshop about 1,000 feet from where the arrowhead was discovered, in the ancient city of Gath.

Drawings (left) and photographs (right) of the bone arrowhead that was discovered in 2019 near the ancient city of Gath

Drawings (left) and photographs (right) of the bone arrowhead that was discovered in 2019 near the ancient city of Gath

The arrowhead suffered impact fractures (a), which can be further seen in high magnification (b) detailing the direction of which the arrowhead made its mark. There were also chiseling marks (c, d) on the body of the arrowhead, which give more detail on how it was produced

The arrowhead suffered impact fractures (a), which can be further seen in high magnification (b) detailing the direction of which the arrowhead made its mark. There were also chiseling marks (c, d) on the body of the arrowhead, which give more detail on how it was produced

It was discovered in Area M (right of the road) in the ancient city of Gath, the Biblical home of Goliath

It was discovered in Area M (right of the road) in the ancient city of Gath, the Biblical home of Goliath

Gath was conquered in 830 B.C. by King Hazael, who later went on to attack Jerusalem

Gath was conquered in 830 B.C. by King Hazael, who later went on to attack Jerusalem

In the workshop, the archaeologists found a number of different bones that came from two skeletal elements (lower fore and hind limbs) from domestic cattle.

The arrow head was likely used in battle, as the point is broken and there is a ‘clear impact fracture’ on the tip of the arrowhead, according to the experts. 

‘All parts of the Tell eṣ-Ṣafi/Gath point are present,’ the researchers added. ‘However, micro-wear analysis of the object duplicates the damage pattern found by Knecht with a clear impact fracture (i.e., a scar) on the tip of the Tell eṣ-Ṣafi/Gath arrowhead.’ 

They continued: ‘There are also micro-striations within the scar that were created as a result of the force when it made contact with its target. Moreover the point had been broken close to the mid-shaft, perhaps as a result of this impact. These results demonstrate that the arrowhead had been used and had hit a target.’ 

It was found in a pottery basket from the street surface, which included mixed pottery that dated all the way until the Iron Age II, which ended 586 B.C.

Gath was conquered by King Hazael around 830 B.C. and is considered one of the five Philistine city-states.  

Following his attack on Gath, Hazael went on to attack Jerusalem. 

In 2015, archaeologists uncovered the remains of an enormous gate and wall that shed new light on the city of Gath and its defenses. 

Aerial photograph of Area M (end of 2019 season). North at the top of the picture. The general location of where the arrowhead was found is marked. Courtesy of the Tell es-Sa/Gath Archaeological Project

Aerial photograph of Area M (end of 2019 season). North at the top of the picture. The general location of where the arrowhead was found is marked. Courtesy of the Tell es-Sa/Gath Archaeological Project

WHAT DOES BIBLICAL TRADITION TELL US ABOUT THE PHILISTINES?

The Philistines are referred to as the descendants of the Casluchim in Genesis 10:14 and Exodus 13:17. 

Known as a seafaring nation, the Philistines were a non-Semitic people who left Crete and arrived in Canaan at the beginning of the 12th century BC. 

The Philistines inhabited the Mediterranean coast of Canaan during the period of the Book of Judges. 

They founded five principalities – Gaza, Asheklon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath.

Their highly-developed weapons brought a great threat to the Israelites. 

During the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites purposely took a southern route to circumvent them. 

The Philistines often battled against the Israelites. The first King of Israel, Saul, temporarily weakened them. 

Later, a little-known shepherd by the name of David – later second King of Israel – defeated them after his battle with the large Philistine by the name of Goliath. 

The Philistines were reduced to mainly commercial ventures rather than military ventures. 

Throughout the Books of Kings, different Jewish leaders fought the nation until the Assyrians completely defeated them. 

The Philistines then assimilated into the surrounding cultures and ceased to exist as a separate nation.

The name Palestine originates from the Philistine inhabitance of the land of Judea. 

After the Romans conquered the region in the second century AD, the Romans used the term Palestinia to refer to the region in an attempt to minimize Jewish attachment to the land. 

The Arabic use of the term Filastin is from this Latin root.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog