Tell es-Safi/Gath is settled, virtually continuously, from the late Prehistoric period until Modern times. While the Bronze and Iron Age finds are relatively well-known, as well as the Medieval (particular Crusader) and Modern remains, some periods and finds at the site are less known.
One of these periods is the Persian Period (ca. 2nd half of 5th cent. to 330 BCE), the time frame equivalent, more or less, to the Jewish return from exile under Ezra and Nehemiah. This is a period in which the Land of Israel is ruled by the Persian/Achaeminid Empire and the early phase of the 2nd Jewish temple was constructed. The region around Tell es-Safi/Gath was most probably settled by Phoenicians, as seen at other sites (such as at Ashkelon, Beit Guvrin, etc.).
Over the years, some very nice finds from the Persian period have been found on the site.
Not too long ago, an article on the finds from this periods at Tell es-Safi/Gath appeared, which was mentioned a while ago.
In the earlier excavations by Bliss and Macalister, the most interesting find from this period was an apparent cultic favissa (cultic deposit; for another favissa mentioned not long ago, see here) which was found in the center of the tell and contained a very large collection (several score) of cult related items, included figurines, masks, amulets, etc.
Here is the protome of a woman from the favissa
And here are two Persian period figurines from the same favissa.
The work of the current expedition has also uncovered remains dating to this period. On the one hand, a nice collection of Persian period finds were picked up in the surface survey of tell, including local and imported pottery (including some Attic pottery, originating from Greece). In addition, in the excavations in Area F, just above the late Iron Age levels, a poorly preserved level dating to this period was uncovered, and the apparent remains of a structure from this period was uncovered.
All told, although we have not found many finds from this period in clear stratigraphic context, the finds from the earlier excavations, the finds from the survey and the limited finds from the excavations all indicate that there was substantial activity at the site during this period, and hopefully, in the future, we will uncover more impressive remains of this. Perhaps even, we might find remains of the temple/cultic context from which the objects that were found in the cultic favissa originated!