Continuing the Philistine theme from yesterday I have to write about Jeff Chadwick’s paper on “Assyrian and Judean Presence at Gath of the Philistines in the 8th Century BCE.” I dug in area F for two seasons and Jeff was (and still is) the area supervisor.
Excavations in F Upper have uncovered two distinct destruction layers; stratum F-8 dates to mid-to-late 8th century BCE and stratum F-7 dates late-to-end of 8th century BCE. When Gabi Barkay visited the site he saw some pottery from the destruction level in stratum F-7 and immediately said that it was “Lachish 3.” He has proven to be correct because typical Judahite torpedo-style storage jars and cooking pots were found. 25cm below this destruction level a second was found containing, amongst other pottery, distinctive black-burnished juglets. During both periods the area excavated in F Upper was used for food preparation as distinctive areas for processing and cooking/baking were discovered.
These finds seem to indicate that there was a Judahite presence at Gath in the 8th century BCE (see 2 Chronicles 26:6, which states that Uzziah captured Gath ca. 750 BCE). It is also now clear that there were two destruction levels in the 8th century BCE; one, F-8 which can be attributed to Sargon II in 712 BCE (see ANE 1:197) and the second, F-7, which can be attributed to Sennacherib in 701 BCE (see the Azekah inscription as interpreted by Rainey, 2 Kings 18:13, and ANE 1:200)