In respect to the ancient Philistines, one might argue that throughout history they've had a very poor reputation. The term "philistine," for example, is described as a smuggler and cultural lacker. Great! That must sting. This must sting.
But if you look at the Philistine past, your image has been somewhat corrupted by forces outside your influence.
We may argue that the Old Testament (written by Jews and the Philistines' sworn enemies) casts a very negative light on the Philistines. The story of David and Goliath, for example, describes David's sweet and innocent sling, with a single shot, taking down the big, nasty giant Goliath.
What are the horrible men? Well, the Old Testament does not require it to be interpreted.
Samson and Delilah are another Old Testament tale. Remember one? Remember one? Delilah convinces a strong Samson, a wicked and seductive Philistine, to unravel his source of energy. So, what is she doing? She cut it off quickly and then until he was enslaved, the Philistines caught and blinded the poor Samson.
The report is unbiased!
Regardless of the Bible that not so kindly paints the Philistines, what more do we know actually about the Philistines? They lived along the Mediterranean sea in towns, according to historians, with many of them in what Israel or Palestine would be seen as modern-day.
There is only only one settlement known as Ashkelon on the Israeli coast today.
Among several archeological digs, artifacts belonging to the Philistines were found. This was found that the Philistine was inspired by ancient Greece from the 12th century B.C. We also learned that they like to eat pork and that they have a culture very different from the rest of the Middle East.
Whereas the Bible says that the Philistines came from Caphtor, assumed by historians to be Crete, many scholars claim that they are raids wandering the Mediterranean Sea.
So, since the Bible is so cut off and dry in the Philistines' history, why did historians come to this conclusion?
In 1180 B.C. it was determined. Pharaoh Ramses III went to battle with the peoples of the Sea and kept a detailed account of their tribes. The Peleset was one tribe known and was described as wearing kilts, odd headwear, by the Egyptians. Historians think these Pelesets might be Philistines' late ancestors.
Further evidence indicates that the tribe of Peleset settled down and took over the cities in the district of Ashkelon. Because this area is recognized as the birthplace of the Philistines, the Peleset and the Philistines are believed to be the same people. Some scholars claim a rational hypothesis.
A historian has not adopted the principle of Peleset. Aren Maeir, Archäologist at the Israeli University of the Bar-Ilan, trained for 20 years in the Philistines and assumed that they were a combination of Canaanite people.
In 2013, an exciting archaeological discovery may still be the key to understanding the history of the Philistines, given what has been so far documented. The Leon Levy Expedition has worked hard at Ashkelon since 1985, and the team found something significant for the first time in 30 years.
Archeologists have historically never identified a single funeral site, a critical piece of the puzzle to ascertain its source, for the Philistines. Archeologist Assaf Yasur-Landau had something to say regarding the lack of burial evidence in his letter to National Geographic. "The search for the cemetery was so bad that the Philistine student archeologists began to joke that they were buried on the sea like the Vikings, which is why they could not be identified."
The same feeling was shared by Eric Cline of George Washington University. "Once I was asked what I would do if someone offered me a million dollars. I said, I will go out and look for a site for Sea Peoples, which will explain the place they came from. It sounds like [Team Ashkelon] has hit the jackpot.
So, what has been this finding? Well, the archeological team discovered a philistine cemetery after years of exploration. The last day of the 2013 digging plan was even wildered to find. Speak of a miracle last minute!
The cemetery site has been located just north of the city of Ashkelon. Somebody who had seen some tombs in the area had tipped the archeologists away in a building survey some years before. Speak of a fortunate stroke.
The team first believed they were on a fake bus. Just a 10-foot hole with nothing was created after a full day's digging. Adam Aja, however, was expected to be reduced to the trough, who worked for Harvard Semitic Museum. He uncovered a single human tooth down there — a moment that would forever change the Philistines' past.
In an interview with National Geographic, Aja stated “When I saw the tooth, I knew that was the moment when it was all going to change for us here.”
The team continued to excavate at the site until 2016 where they found a total of 211 Philistine remains.
The Philistines discovered from the remains that they were not doing the same funeral rituals as the Jews or Canaanites. You 're not going to believe what these people have done to their dead.
The Philistines instead of conducting a second funeral, where, after one year of putting the remains in a crypt, they brought the remains to a second location. Another curious fact was that many bodies had been cremated.
The archeologists also found that when they came to the artifacts buried by the dead, the Philistines were much less likely. The Philistines were more moderate with small ceramic bowls and some gems as the Egyptians buried themselves with luxurious quantities of gold.
The truth of the Philistines' history is still a long way off given all of the discoveries. "The first chapter in the story is the excavation from our point of view," says Daniel Master, the architect of Wheaton College. "I was 25 years at Ashkelon and I suppose it's just the start."
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