BAR 32:05, Sep/Oct 2006
Another View: Was the Earliest Philistine City of Ekron Fortified?
The Excavators Say “Yes,” Our Author Says “No.”
In the 12th century B.C.E., when the Philistines arrived by land and by sea on what is now the southern coastal plain of Israel, they destroyed Ekron, the Canaanite settlement at Tel Miqne. Then they proceeded to establish at Tel Miqne/Ekron their own city, one of the five cities of the Philistine Pentapolis, as described in the Bible.
For 14 extensive seasons, Trude Dothan of the Hebrew University and Seymour Gitin of the Albright School for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem have led excavations at Tel Miqne. They have exposed enough of the first Philistine city at the site to conclude convincingly that it was both large (50 acres) and wealthy. Moreover, it was surrounded, they tell us, by massive fortifications. In this, however, I believe they are mistaken; this great Philistine urban center was unfortified in this period.