News FocusArchaeology

Bible's Bad Boys Weren't Such Philistines After All

Science  02 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5424, pp. 36-37
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5424.36

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Summary

ASHKELON, ISRAEL-- The discovery of two 8th century B.C. Phoenician ships loaded with wine amphoras off the southern part of Israel's coast, announced last week, may help burnish the image of the Philistines, a people who occupied the territory of the Levant nearest to where the ships were found. Frequently portrayed as villains in the Bible, the Philistines and how they came to the shores of the Middle East more than 3000 years ago are largely mysteries. Yet the underwater discovery, together with years of painstaking excavations of Philistine cities on land, are beginning to reveal a picture of a cosmopolitan people who traded widely across the eastern Mediterranean.