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Lost Biblical city of Ziklag home to “Goliath-killing” King David 3,200 years ago discovered in Israel, archaeologists claim

Researchers say they have discovered the 3,200-year-old city that many believe is the hideout of the biblical King David. The site is located in central Israel and is believed to be the remains of the Philistine city of Ziklag.

Lots of people have claimed to have found Ziklag beforeCredit: AFP or licensors

The Philistines were ancient people who lived in the Middle East from the 12th century BC to 604 BC, after which they were exiled.

They don’t have the best reputation and are known for their conflict with biblical Israel.

The most famous Philistine was Goliath, who was killed by King David according to the Bible.

However, recent analyzes of Philistine DNA and numerous other excavations suggest that the Philistines may not have deserved a bad reputation because all texts about them were written by “enemies” and were evidence that they were cultured and skilled.


Evidence of the site being burnt down has been foundCredit: AFP or licensors
David is famous for the tale that says he killed a giant called Goliath Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Many archaeologists have claimed to have found Ziklag before, but the current excavation at a site called Khirbet Al-Rai, which began in 2015, contains the most evidence.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting research and they have found Philistine-era buildings and artifacts from the time of King David believed to have lived beneath a burnt-out rural settlement.

Ziklag is said to have burned down when David went to battle, so the burnt artifacts at this location fit this story.


Lots of pottery has been discovered Credit: AFP or licensors
Ziklag is featured in the background of this illustration as these men prepare to stone DavidCredit: British Museum

Archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University told UPI: “Not 100% sure, but I think 90% of this is the Biblical Ziklag.”

Artifacts found so far include statues and vases.

The Israel Antiquities Authority said: “The large complete range of vases is a testament to the exciting everyday life during the reign of King David.

“A large number of storage jars were found during excavations – medium and large – used to store oil and wine.”

Further excavation and research will be required before the site is officially confirmed as 

What was Ziklag?

Here’s what you need to know about the ancient biblical city…

  • Ziklag was an ancient city supposedly given to the biblical King David by the Philistine king, Achish
  • David is said to have taken refuge there from the rage of King Saul
  • Saul asked David to work for him after he killed the giant Goliath with a single stone to the head
  • Saul then got very jealous of David and his skills
  • David and Goliath is known as the ultimate underdog story because the tale states that David killed the giant when he was a small boy
  • Ziklag was supposedly raided and burnt by a group of desert nomads called the Amalekites when David was away fighting