The story of Canaanite Gath begins with the el-Amarna texts (Na'aman 1979; Rainey 2012; Levin, this issue), where it appears that the city was a major contender in the Shephelah power plays of the fourteenth century b.c.e. While some have contended the connection between Gath, Tell es -Sâfi and the Amarna period ruler Šuwardatu (Moran 1992: 384), the petrographic exami-nation conducted on the tablets create a strong link between them (Goren, Finkelstein, and Na'aman 2004: 280-86). In this light, the results of the sur-face survey prior to the onset of the excavations noted the existence of a large settlement at Tell es -Sâfi/Gath (ca. 27 ha; see:Uziel and Maeir 2005: 56). Yet, the survey results did not allow identification of differ-ences within the Late Bronze Age (LB) between the sub-phases of the period.
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