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.