Courtesy Tell es-Safi excavation

Excavators peel away the topmost layers of earth along the northeastern slopes of Tell es-Safi, in ancient Philistia.

Though saddled with latter-day reputations as barbarians, the Philistines were part of a major migration of peoples and cultures from the Aegean world to the eastern Mediterranean after the beginning of Iron Age I in 1200 B.C.E. They founded five important cities—called the Philistine Pentapolis—on or near the Mediterranean coast. The locations of three of these—Ashdod, Ashkelon and Gaza—have long been known, and an inscription discovered in 1996 definitively identified the fourth, Ekron. Only the location of the fifth, Gath, has eluded investigators. Until now, that is. The excavators of Tell es-Safi believe they have finally found the elusive city, home of the giant Philistine warrior Goliath. They lay out their case in the accompanying article.