Archaeologists discover King David’s city of refuge

Archaeologists in Israel believe they have unearthed the 12th century BC biblical city of Ziklag.

In the book of 1 Samuel, David flees from King Saul and settles in the Philistine town of Ziklag until Saul’s death.

The site was found 43 miles from Jerusalem, near the modern city of Kiryat Gat.


While other sites have previously been suggested to be Ziklag, none of them showed evidence of continuous Philistine and Israelite settlement, which this latest find does.

Amongst the finds were almost 100 complete items of pottery, similar to those found in Khirbet Qeiyafa, also believed to be from David’s time.

The Israel Antiquities Authority said, “The great range of complete vessels is testimony to the interesting everyday life during the reign of King David”.

Emerging history

Dr Chris Sinkinson, who has taken part in numerous excavations in the region, explained the importance of the discovery:

“Only a few years ago, sceptical theologians were dismissing this period to the realm of myth but with each passing season more is emerging of this formative period in the life of Israel.

“Ziklag was an important Philistine settlement during the time of David and its identification is only the beginning of a new era of opportunity for archaeology to cast light on the historical claims of the Bible.”

City gate

Earlier this year, archaeologists also uncovered a 10th century BC city gate from David’s era.

The ancient city, known in the Bible as Bethsaida and Zer, is thought to have been the capital of the Kingdom of Geshur.

David married the king’s daughter there and his son Absalom later took refuge in the city.

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