New article – Philistines as Pirates!

A new article, co-authored by Louise Hitchcock and myself has just appeared online in World Archaeology (it has not yet appeared in print).

The full citation of the article is:

Hitchcock, L. A., and Maeir, A. M. 2014. Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, a Seren’s Life for Me! World Archaeology 46(3).

In this article, Louise and I suggest a new angle of interpretation to the Philistines, suggesting that some of the origins of the Philistines, and the name of the leaders, may derive from a pirate-like background of the tumultuous LB/Iron Age transition.

Here is the abstract:

Historical accounts indicate pirates were able to create culturally mixed tribal entities and identities by incorporating new followers from different cultures into their social structure. This article suggests that upheavals at the end of the Bronze Age inter alia led to the formation of pirate bands of ‘Sea Peoples’ composed of non-elites, including sailors, disenfranchised warriors, mercenaries, workers, craft workers and peasants from the Mediterranean social network. We discuss how historical accounts of piracy may enable us to model the Sea Peoples’ phenomenon through the identification of patterns in pirate culture including social organization and geography and we suggest that piracy was a mechanism for limited migration and transmission of foreign cultural traits. One tribe of these blended cultures, the Peleset, settled among the indigenous Canaanites, forming a new entity, the Philistines. We propose that their leaders assumed the Luwian title tarwanis (seren) or military leader, indicative of their tumultuous past.

Check it out!


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