Tuesday, July 19, 2016


The National Post reports what could very well be one of the greatest historical discoveries
today, as an archaeological team working in Israel has uncovered a cemetery most likely to have been that of the ancient Philistines, the civilization whose destructive rampages led to the name of their people being used to call the larger area in which they lived from Canaan to “Palestine”, becoming a synonym for a materialistic and uncultured person, as well as contributing one of the Bible’s iconic bad guys.

The discovered gravesite contained intact human skeletons believed to be more than 3,000 years old, buried with relics and items that could hold the key to further understanding the Philistines’ancient lifestyle and cultural practices, and possibly even clues as to where their people even came from, as they were not at all native to the land of ancient Canaan that is now modern Israel, Palestine, and portions of Lebanon and Jordan.

Daniel Master, an archaeologist from Illinois’ Wheaton College and co-director of the Leon Levy Archaeological Expedition, is absolutely positive that the cemetery was Philistine in origin, as it was unearthed in the ruins of Ashkelon, one of the five Biblical Philistine cities along with Ashdod, Ekron, Gaza and Gath, hometown of the giant Goliath who fought the hero and future king David. The archeological team has been working on Ashkelon since 1985, three decades ago.

Other than the Bible, the Philistines also figure in the historical records of ancient Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia. The Biblical accounts may be the most exciting of them all; in addition to the David vs. Goliath fight, the ancient kingdom of Israel fought numerous pitched battles with their western coastal neighbor until the time the Philistines were wiped out by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar around the year 604 BC.

The researchers determined the site and its contents to be sometime between the tenth and ninth Centuries BC, according to radiocarbon dating and examination of the pottery found in the graves. The findings seem to lend credence to the theory that the Philistine people crossed the Aegean Sea to land on coastal Canaan in the 12th Century BC. DNA and genetic testing of the bones themselves would follow the initial studies.

Ashkelon, where the cemetery was found, remained an important port on the Mediterranean even after the fall of the Philistines, until the city was ruined for good during the Crusades, remaining deserted until modern day excavations. Gaza on the other hand remained inhabited and is now the largest city of the State of Palestine.

Photo Credit to www.dw.com


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