By Dan Avery For Dailymail.com
Published: 23:57 BST, 31 August 2020 | Updated: 23:58 BST, 31 August 2020
Archaeologists uncovered a 3,200-year-old fortress in southern Israel that may give some clues to a lost people from the Bible.
Measuring 60 feet by 60 feet, the two-story citadel had watchtowers in each corner and a courtyard paved with stone slabs and columns in the center.
Researchers date the structure to the 12th-century BC, a time described in Book of Judges that was plagued by warfare.
The team believes the structure was built by the Canaanites, perhaps with help from their Egyptian overlords, to fend off invading Philistines.
Archaeologists uncovered this Canaanite fortress in a forest near Kiryat Gat, Israel. Dating to the 12th-century B.C. , the two-story citadel had watchtowers in each corner and a courtyard paved with stone slabs and columns in the center.
Hundreds of pottery vessels, including ones probably used for religious rites, were found inside rooms arranged on both sides of the courtyard.
Experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered the remains of the Canaanite fortification in the Guvrin Forest near Kiryat Gat, which sits about 35 miles from Tel Aviv.
Canaan was ruled by Egypt at that time and design elements and pottery fragments found at the site suggest Egyptian influence.
A massive threshold was found intact at the entrance, carved from a single stone and weighing some three tons.
Hundreds of pieces of pottery, some likely used for religious rituals, were found in rooms abutting the main courtyard. Archaeologists say some imitate styles of bowls made by the Canaanite's Egyptian overlords
Researchers date the structure to the 12th-century BC, a time described in the Old Testament as plagued by warfare.
'The fortress we found provides a glimpse into the geopolitical reality described in the Book of Judges, in which the Canaanites, Israelites and Philistines are fighting each other,' said IAA archaeologists Saar Ganor and Itamar Weissbein.
'In this period, the land of Canaan was ruled by the Egyptians and its inhabitants were under their custody.'
The citadel follows the design of Egyptian 'governor's houses' and some of the pottery found at the site imitates the style of Egyptian bowls.
But the Egyptians left Canaan in the middle of the 12th century BC.