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The Gate at Gath


News outlets are reporting that the gate at Gath was uncovered this summer. From the published pictures it may be difficult to identify the actual gate. Here's why.

The pictures reveal just the foundations of the gate structure. Only in the rarest cases do archaeologists uncover an entire gate like the Mud Brick Gate at Dan. Most of the time excavations reveal the foundations, or lower portions of the gate which indicates the entrance to the city.

Gate complexes were formidable structures. The needed to be because although gates provided a way in and out of the city they did so at the expense of piercing the city wall. The perfect defensive wall would have no breeches; that would not be very useful, however. Defense must be balanced with usability, so entrances were made and they were defended with large gates and towers. 

Typically these were constructed of stone foundations upon which a mud brick superstructure was erected. The actual gate itself, that is, the doors which swung open to allow entrance and exit was typically made of wood. While stones do not decompose when exposed to the elements, wood and mud bricks do so after thousands of years all that remains of most gates are stone foundations.

 Among the most famous gate remains found in Israel are the ones found at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. Many archaeologists argue that these gates were built when Solomon was king of Israel in the 10 century BC.



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