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11-11-2005, 05:22 PM
Finding Said to Boost Proof of Goliath

JERUSALEM - Archaeologists digging at the purported biblical home of Goliath have unearthed a shard of pottery bearing an inscription of the Philistine's name, a find they claimed lends historical credence to the Bible's tale of David's battle with the giant.

While the discovery is not definitive evidence of Goliath's existence, it does support the Bible's depiction of life at the time the battle was supposed to have occurred, said Dr. Aren Maeir, a professor at Bar-Ilan University and director of the excavation.

"What this means is that at the time there were people there named Goliath," he said. "It shows us that David and Goliath's story reflects the cultural reality of the time." In the story, David slew Goliath with a slingshot.

Some scholars assert the story of David slaying the giant Goliath is a myth written down hundreds of years later. Maeir said finding the scraps lends historical credence to the biblical story.

The shard dates back to around 950 B.C., within 70 years of when biblical chronology asserts David squared off against Goliath, making it the oldest Philistine inscription ever found, the archaeologists said.

Scientists made the discovery at Tel es-Safi, a dig site in southern Israel thought to be the location of the Philistine city of Gath.