The early bronze age fortifications at tell Es-Safi/Gath, Israel

Itzhaq Shai, Jeffrey R. Chadwick, Eric Welch, Jill Katz, Haskey J. Greenfield, Aren M. Maeir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Tell es-Safi/Gath is a multi-period site located on the border between theJudean foothills (Shephelah) and the southern coastal plain in central Israel, which has been subject to survey and excavations over the last two decades. Excavations by Bliss and Macalister in 1899 exposed a fortification system which was dated to the "Jewish period". In this paper, we present updated data on these fortifications which have led to fresh insights. In two separate excavation areas, we excavated portions of thefortification system that surrounded the site which can now be dated to the EB III of the southern Levant. The EB fortification system influenced the location of later fortifications at the site. The nature of the construction techniques of these fortifications and the character of the settlement which they surrounded suggest that Tell es-Safi/Gath was a major regional urban centre during the EB III and was governed by a centralised administrative hierarchy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-58
Number of pages17
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Bliss and Macalister
  • Early Bronze Age III
  • Fortifications
  • Tell es-Safi/Gath


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