New paper on the warlike character of the Philistines

A new paper has just appeared, in which I discuss and question the age-old image of the Philistines as a warlike and fearsome culture and people. Based on the relatively small amount of weapons found in Iron Age Philistia, I suggest that perhaps a big part of this image is due to ancient, and modern, ideological perspectives.

The title of article is:

Maeir, A. M. 2018. The Philistines Be Upon Thee, Samson (Jud. 16:20): Reassessing the Martial Nature of the Philistines – Archaeological Evidence Vs. Ideological Image? Pp. 158–68 in Change, Continuity and Connectivity: North-Eastern Mediterranean at the Turn of the Bronze Age and in the Early Iron Age, eds. L. Niesiołowski-Spanò and M. Węcowski. Philippika 118. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

For a link to a PDF – go here.




Kiwis at Safi 2019!

John Stringer, who was a team member in 2018, is organizing a group of Kiwis (that is New Zealanders…) that will come as a group to the 2019 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath.

John has already made a very nice patch for the team (see below)!

If you want to join Team Kiwi 2019 – be in touch with John at:

Kia Ora (that’s “be well” in Maori…)!


Debate on the early Philistines – TAU 12/12/18

Two weeks ago, I participated in a very interesting seminar at Tel Aviv University, where Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and myself debated the understanding and origins of the early Philistines. Shlomo claimed that the early Philistine originated from a distinct region in the Aegean (most probably the eastern Aegean), and only after the initial phase, did the Philistine culture begin the show mixed cultural influences.

On the other hand, I argued, as I’ve written often, that the Philistines did not originate from one region, but rather, the originate from various regions to the west of the Levant, and from the very early phase of the Philistine culture, it was mixed, entangled culture.

The debate was in Hebrew, and for those interested, a recording can be found here.


Month long program in Israel – including excavation at Tell es-Safi/Gath!

Are you (or anyone you know) interested in a month-long, fully accredited, academic program in Israel, this coming summer (June/July 2019), which is partially subsidized, in which you will study about the history of Israel from early to modern times, and as part of the course there are two weeks of excavation at Tell es-Safi/Gath?

If so – check out the program “ISRAEL: FROM THE PAST TO THE PRESENT” – through BIU and Onward Israel!

Apply now – there are limited places!

Don’t miss this opportunity!


And of course – don’t forget to sign up for the MOOC on Biblical Archaeology!

Paper on the Philistines at the Conference “Genealogy and the Sciences” at Weizmann Institute

I’m about to give a paper at a very interesting conference at the Weizmann Institute of Science – Genealogy and the Sciences, held yesterday and today (17-18/12/18)

In my paper “Genealogy Through Material Culture? Some Thoughts Based on the Archaeological Evidence from Iron Age Philistia”, I will use the archaeological evidence on the Philistine culture as a case study to see whether archaeological evidence can be used for genealogical research.


Workshop on votives in ancient Israel and Aram – BIU, Dec. 19th, 2018

Just a reminder that tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 19th, 2018, a workshop on votive objects from Iron Age Israel and and Aram will be held, as part of ongoing activities of the Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times (RIAB).

The workshop will be held at the laboratory of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, in the building of the Faculty of Jewish Studies, at Bar-Ilan University.

See here for further details. Do join us if you can!

Sad news: Rona Ramon has passed away…

Very sad news that Rona Ramon has passed away. Rona was the wife of the Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon z”l, who was killed in the Columbia Shuttle disaster. Rona was a fantastic and utterly inspiring person, and I feel so honored that I had an opportunity to meet her a few years ago.

May her memory be blessed…