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Philistine graves

13 July 2016

At www.haaretz.com/jewish/archaeology/1.729879 … a Philistine cemetery has been found at Ashkelon, a Mediterranean port city in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Some 150 burials are said to date from the 11th to the 8th centuries BC. The good news is that bone samples will be analysed – for DNA, radiocarbon dating, and other biological reasons. Ashkelon was situated just to the north of Gaza, a trading hub that was used by the Egyptians to sell and transport slaves, linen, and other manufactures such as papyrus. Of interest is Jeremiah 47:4 and Amos 9:7 where the home of the Philistines is called Caphtor. The ancients knew where Caphtor was situated – but its location is hotly disputed by archaeologists and historians. Caphtor is more commonly associated with Crete but others are just as sure that it is Cyprus. Still others say it is Cappadocia – and etymologically there does appear to be a phonetic similarity (which could just be accidental). The only thing agreed on is that the Philistines were not Canaanites (although there is no reason why they might not have merged with the Canaanites).

Haaretz consult an archaeologist that string together the mainstream line but he is clearly directly a few shots over the heads of people that don't agree with him as he goes on to say that Ramses III depiction of 'sea peoples' in carts drawn by oxen, with children and women clearly part of the migration, does not preclude an Aegean origin as they could have brought their ox carts and goods and chattels by boat. That sounds a bit like desperation but all will be revealed by the DNA (we hope). Note that Velikovsky's strained identification of the Peleset (Philistines in English) with the Persians is about to drop over the edge – and with it the equation of Ramses III with Nectanebo.

At www.smithsonian.com/smart-news/philistines-werent-such-philistines-new-d… … the story here is taken from the New York Times and makes the point that most of what we know about the Philistines is derived from pottery and a few scattered graves. Some 150 burials have been found (in pit graves) and 200 remains of people were found in six burial chambers. We also learn that the site has been known for 3 years but has been kept under wraps in fear of protests by ultra orthodox Jews – but we are not told why. All we have for the time being is the mainstream story line. They fully expect an Aegean origin will be disclosed by DNA tests and by similarities in cultural artifacts. One cannot dismiss an Aegean element as the pottery has direct links – possibly via Cyprus. However, if the sea peoples were in fact a mixed multitude of refugees from an end of Late Bronze catastrophe the DNA will be doubly interesting.

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