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Evidence That Biblical Philistines Originated As Migrant “Sea People” From Europ

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Author Topic: Evidence That Biblical Philistines Originated As Migrant “Sea People” From Europ  (Read 400 times)
Jonna Herring
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« on: February 25, 2014, 03:28:29 am »

(PHOTO CAPTION – Swedish archaeologists in Jordan led by Professor Peter M. Fischer from the University of Gothenburg have excavated a nearly 60-metre long well-preserved building from 1100 B.C. in the ancient settlement Tell Abu al-Kharaz. The building is from an era characterised by major migration. Image Credit: University of Gothenberg)

The exploration of the 60-meter long building discovered in 2010 continued during the most recent excavation. It was originally built in two levels of which the bottom level is still standing with walls reaching 2.5 meters in height after more than 3000 years.

Times of Israel news editor Ilan Ben Zion says that the Tell Abu al-Kharaz find also strengthens the linkage connecting the Sea Peoples and the Aegean — reinforcing the theory that the Philistines were among a number of non-Semitic tribes that migrated across the Mediterranean and settled in Canaan in the early Iron Age, alongside the emergent Israelites. Ben Zion says evidence of Sea Peoples inhabiting areas east of the Jordan River would lend credence to a seeming anomaly in the Bible — the location of Philistines far from their historic homeland along the shores of southern Israel in I Samuel 31. According to the book of Samuel, the Philistines raided northern Israel and settled in the abandoned Israelite cities “that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were beyond the Jordan.” However, Ben Zion notes that not all scholars are convinced of the validity of Peter Fischer’s Sea People hypothesis.

The archaeologists have found evidence indicating that Philistines, who lived in the building together with local people around 1100 B.C. utilized a defense structure from 3000 B.C. in the form of an old city wall by constructing their building on top of it. In this way, they had both easy access to building material and a solid surface to build on.

“One of our conclusions after the excavation is that ‘Jordanian culture’ is clearly a Mediterranean culture even though the country does not border the Mediterranean Sea,” observes Dr. Fischer “There were well-organized societies in the area long before the Egyptian pyramids were built.”

Dr. Fischer concludes that “One could assume after 16 seasons of excavations that, in principle, the entire occupational sequence of Tell Abu al-Kharaz and the typology of finds would be well established. Nevertheless, the latest four seasons of excavations brought to light new evidence by early Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware on the presence of people at the site in the MB II (18/17th century BCE), the beginning of the Iron Age (12/11th century BCE), and the historical periods following the Iron Age, … and some unique finds which on the one hand are exciting but on the other hand by their very uniqueness present certain problems in finding parallels.

For more detail on the Tell Abu al-Kharaz excavations and photos of some of the ancient artifacts uncovered, see:

The excavations at Tell Abu al-Kharaz are funded mainly by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities. Only about 20 percent of the city has been exposed so far, and in some places just the top layers. The Swedish Jordan Expedition 2013 consisted of professional archaeologists and students from Sweden, Austria, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Switzerland and Jordan.

University of Gothenburg Department of Historical Studies
Fischer Archaeology
Times of Israel

Image Credits
University of Gothenburg
Fischer Archaeology
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