Philistines from the North?

A lot of people have asked me about an article which appeared in Haaretz (here is the English version) in which there is a claim that recent evidence from excavations in southern Turkey, indicate that the Philistines (known from the Bible and from excavations in the southern Coastal Plain of Israel – at sites such as Tell es-Safi/Gath) in fact derived from this region in Turkey.

Well, the story is a little different…

It seems that as part of the so-called “Sea Peoples phenomenon”, which includes the Philistines, many changes occurred in the ancient Near East during the transition between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. This included various peoples of more or less “western origin” (from the Aegean, western Anatolia, Cyprus, etc.), who settled in various places in the eastern Mediterranean. This includes some of the foreign peoples from whom the Philistines were comprised, and apparently, peoples who settled in southern Turkey as well.

Thus, it is not that the Philistines originated from Turkey – but some of the Philistines and the peoples who lived in Southern Turkey in the early Iron Age may have had similar origins in the west.


The Safi team at “Leil Hamad’anim” (scientists’ night) at BIU

Last night, the annual ליל המדענים (scientists’ night) was held at BIU. At this event, kids (and their families) come to get a taste of various types of scientific research at BIU, in a very hands-on, inviting manner.

As in past years, some of the Safi team presented our work as well (and a big thanks to Dina, Natalie and Sivan [and Amit, behind the scenes]), and needless to say, were VERY popular. In addition to displaying and explaining about some archaeological finds (real and replicas), the hands-on activity was to create ancient Hebrew seals. This was so popular, that all the materials that had been prepared (to make 300 seals) were used up before the event was finished!

Here are some pictures of the Safi corner at the event:

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Two Shout Outs for Chris McKinny!

Chris McKinny, long-time team member of the Safi expedition, and now senior member of the Burna team, has just put out two things that are definitely worthy of a “shout out”:

  1. An excellent series of charts, in digital form, on the chronology of the kings of Judah and Israel (for more details and how to obtain this, see here). Here is a brief description of the charts prepared by Chris: “The Regnal Chronology of the Kings of Judah and Israel illustrates “every year” from 1050-550 BC/BCE by showing how the biblical calendars of lunar years relate to our Gregorian years in the context of every biblical king. Every biblical text related to a Judahite or Israelite king’s accession to the throne is included next to his specific chronological timeline. Additionally, every extra-biblical text mentioning a biblical king is also included usually with a high resolution photo of the object. The handbook also includes detailed charts of the kings of Neo-Assyria, Egypt, Neo-Babylonia, Ammon, Moab, Edom, the Philistine cities, Aram-Damascus, and Tyre. All of this (and more) is illustrated with over 100 high resolution photos from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands collection. In our opinion, this resource would be especially useful for courses or classes related to the history of ancient Israel, biblical archaeology, and the book of Kings.”
  2. His new book (based on his MA thesis, of which I was one of the advisors), “My People as Your People: A textual and archaeological analysis of the reign of Jehoshaphat” (Peter Lang, 2015) is about to appear and it can already be pre-ordered. Here is a brief description of the book prepared by Chris: “My People as Your People: A Textual and Archaeological Analysis of the Reign of Jehoshaphat investigates the reign of Jehoshaphat (872-848 BC/BCE) by comparing the textual material of 1 Kings 22, 2 Kings 3, 2 Chronicles 17-20, the Mesha Stele, and the Tel Dan Stele to the available archaeological data from the late Iron IIA in the regions of Benjamin, the Judean Shephelah, the Judean hill country, Negev, and Aravah.”

Way to go Chris!


U Manitoba promotional video with Haskel’s lab in it!

Haskel Greenfield has passed on a promotional video for U of Manitoba (great video, except that they don’t show that 11 out of 12 months of the year it’s covered by snow…:-) in which Nour Ashour and Talisha Chaput, Haskel’s students and Safi team members, appear in Haskel’s Near Eastern archaeology lab.

Check it out here.