Archaeology breakthrough: 3,200-year-old fortress find sheds new light on Bible history

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The Canaanite fort, located near Kibbutz Galon, Israel, dates back to the 12th century BC, and experts say it would likely have been used during the Judges era. That period is detailed in the Book of Judges, a book within the Old Testament, in which there was no King of Israel. It is also renowned in religion for being a time when the likes of judges Deborah and Samson lived.

The stunning find was made by the Israel Antiquities Authority, along with student volunteers, and measures around 26 feet by 26 feet in size.

Restoration on the site has been ongoing and it is now open to the public, particularly historians and scholars, who are hoping to gain a valuable insight into the period.

Archaeologists Saar Ganor and Itamar Weissbein, of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said: “The fortress we found provides a glimpse into the Geopolitical reality described in the Judges book, in which the Canaanites, Israelites and Philistines are fighting each other.”

According to reports, a passage of the Book of Judges says the Israelites “pressed the Canaanites into forced labour, but never drove them out completely,” which the pair say is perhaps the reason why watch towers are built within the four corners of the fort.

They added: “A massive threshold, carved from a single rock weighing around three tons, was preserved at the entrance of the building.

“Inside the fortress was a courtyard paved with stone slabs and columns in the middle.

“Rooms were constructed from both sides of the courtyard.

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“Hundreds of pottery vessels, some still whole, were found in the rooms of the fortress, including special vessels such as bowls and cups that were probably used for religious ritual.

“A large number of bowls were also found in the rooms, some of which were made in a style copying Egyptian bowls.”

Talila Lifshitz, director of the community and forest department in the southern region of the Jewish National Fund, said the fortress “provides a fascinating glimpse into the story of a relatively unknown period in the history” of Israel and “provides a touristic and experiential attraction for visitors”.

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The discovery comes after archaeologists made another breakthrough in Christian history with the find of a 1,300-year-old church in Israel, near to where the traditional site of Jesus’ transfiguration was made.

This site, experts claimed, “hints at the significance of Christianity” in the village it was found at Kfar Kama, around two hours away from north Jerusalem.

It includes “ornate mosaic floors” and is near what third century theologian Origen suggested was where Jesus’ transfiguration took place.

A release from the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs added: “The new discovery hints at the apparent importance of the Christian village settled in the Byzantine period close to Mount Tabor, a site of primary religious significance for Christianity, identified as the site of the transfiguration.”

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