Archaeologists make first-time discovery of Philistine cemetary

Investigation in progress
Investigation in progress

Reported by radically leftist CNN, of all places.


Archaeologists have unearthed the first Philistine cemetery ever discovered, shedding light on an ancient civilization that was home to one of the Bible’s most famous villains.

Historians have long hoped to learn more about the Philistines, and the burial ground offers insight into this ancient and historic population.

The Philistines are best known for Goliath, the giant who challenged a young David to battle near the Valley of Elah; the pair’s story is recounted in the biblical books of Samuel.

The 3,000-year-old site was found at Ashkelon, in southern Israel; its discovery marks the culmination of more than 30 years of exploration at the site.

[…]Archaeologists unearthed skeletons, individually buried with their own jugs, storage jars, and bowls. The small jugs are assumed to have been filled with perfumed oil.Some skeletons were even found wearing bracelets and earrings, while others had weapons.

The cemetery also had evidence of cremations, pit internments, and multi-chambered tombs.

“Ninety-nine percent of the chapters and articles written about Philistine burial customs should be revised or ignored now that we have the first and only Philistine cemetery found just outside the city walls of Tel Ashkelon,” said Lawrence Stager, a professor of archaeology at Harvard University and a co-director of the expedition.

Bone samples taken from the site will undergo three different types of testing – DNA, radiocarbon and biological distance studies – to help determine the origin of the Philistines. Biblical passages suggest the community came by sea from ancient Crete.

Here is a previous discovery from August last year reported by Live Science:

A massive gate unearthed in Israel may have marked the entrance to a biblical city that, at its heyday, was the biggest metropolis in the region.

The town, called Gath, was occupied until the ninth century B.C. In biblical accounts, the Philistines — the mortal enemies of the Israelites — ruled the city. The Old Testament also describes Gath as the home of Goliath, the giant warrior whom the Israelite King David felled with a slingshot.

The new findings reveal just how impressive the ancient Philistine city once was, said lead archaeologist of the current excavation, Aren Maeir, of Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

“We knew that Philistine Gath in the 10th to ninth century [B.C.] was a large city, perhaps the largest in the land at that time,” Maeir told Live Science in an email. “These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was.”

[…]Both the impressive settlement size and mentions in biblical accounts suggest to scholars that the site is the historic city of Gath, which was ruled by the Philistines, who lived next to the Jewish kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Most scholars think that Gath was besieged and laid to waste by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus, in 830 B.C., Maeir said.

[…]The team also found ironworks and a Philistine temple near the monumental gate, with some pottery and other finds typically associated with Philistine culture. Though the pottery represents a distinctive Philistine style, it also shows elements of Israelite technique, suggesting the cultures did influence each other in ways unrelated to war.

The story of David and Goliath is found in 1 Samuel 17. Why don’t you give it a read? It’s a great story.

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