‘The Skeleton of Goliath’: Excavating Gath with Anthropologist Haskel Greenfield

Haskel Greenfield

Haskel Greenfield

Rebeca Kuropatwa of Canada’s Jewish Tribune provides a short article on Anthropologist Haskel Greenfield, who for the past two years has been investigating the Gath site, home of the legendary Giant, Goliath. The article is titled, “Trying to unearth David and Goliath”:

Today he is a professor at the University of Manitoba’s Department of Anthropology, and a self-described “anthropologist with a specialty in archaeology…. What that means is I’m not interested in the artefacts themselves. I’m interested in trying to find the people behind the artefacts – answering questions about society, culture and the economy. We only use the artefacts as tools to answer those kinds of questions.”

Greenfield makes a couple of comments on some of the older Israeli attempts to find Gath:

For a long time, archaeologists looked for the city of Gath. They found other Philistine cities, like Ashdod and Gaza. In the 1950s, Israeli archaeologists tested the mound near Kiryat Gath but found no Philistine remains…. They should probably rename that city Kiryat not Gath. They’d love to find the skeleton of Goliath, but the philistines didn’t really bury people in their cities. They’ve excavated Philistine temples that match those of the priests being brought down by Sampson.

There are further reports on some of Greenfield’s work at Gath on Aren Maeir’s Tell Es Safi/Gath blog. Here’s a picture of Haskel Greenfield in action, applying yellow gook to a stone wall at Gath. Also see here. And you can read about some of his investigations into Philistine technology in his chapter co-written with Aren Maeir, Justin Lev-Tov, and Liora Kolska Horwitz:

    “Macro- and Microscopic Aspects of Bone Tool Manufacture and Technology in the Levantine Iron Age: A 9th Century BCE Workshop from Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel.” Pages 41–68 in Techniques and People: Anthropological Perspectives on Technology in the Archaeology of the Proto-Historic and Early Historic Periods in the Southern Levant, eds. Steve A. Rosen and Valentine Roux. Memoires et travaux du Centre de recherche français de Jérusalem: Archéologie et Sciences de l’Antiquité et du Moyen-Âge 9; Paris: De Boccard, 2009.
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