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11418Re: Philistine Architecture?

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  • Francesco Brighenti
    Oct 3, 2009
      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "driver40386" <driver40386@...> wrote:

      > If I recall, Bunimovitz and others, believe there is absolutely no
      > relationship between Levantine & Aegean temple architecture... So
      > what I was leading towards was the intent of the term 'Philistine
      > architecture'. How sure can we be that such architecture is not
      > actually Canaanite, Levantine, Syrian or at least generally just
      > Asiatic?

      On 'Philistine' architecture and its possible Aegean and Cypriot connections, see:

      Trude Dothan, "The Aegean and the Orient: Cultic Connotations," in W.G. Dever and S. Gitin (eds.), _Symbiosis, Symbolism, and the Power of the Past: Canaan, Ancient Israel, and Their Neighbors from the Late Bronze Age through Roman Palaestina_, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2003, pp. 189-213, available online at


      From Dothan's conclusions:

      "[T]his is [...] a case of [...] the traditions and know-how that the 'Sea Peoples' brought with them and implanted in their new environment in Canaan. [...] The architectural features and finds with cultic connotations from Philistia can be isolated and integrated to expand our understanding of influences transmitted from the Aegean to Cyprus and to the Levant. Thus, we can further develop our picture of the flourishing new urban centers in Philistia, showing the emergence of a new entity, the substratum of which was rooted in the Aegean tradition, that adapted to the new environment in Canaan and adopted facets of Canaanite culture. A variety of features with cultic connotations illustrate this phenomenon: ***the architecture of public buildings*** [emphasis added; some nice architectural drawings are included in the paper -- FB] with relatively large communal halls and incorporated megaron plans, and the configurations of features such as hearths, _bamot_, bathtubs, pillars, and benches and their associated pottery and special finds, including terra-cotta figurines, zoomorphic vessels, bronze and iron objects, incised scapulae, ivory artifacts, and luxury objects, among others" (pp. 209-210).

      An earlier paper by the same archaeologist, focusing on the excavations at Ekron:

      Trude Dothan, "The Arrival of the Sea Peoples: Cultural Diversity in Early Iron Age Canaan," in S. Gitin and W.G. Dever (eds.), _Recent Excavations in Israel: Studies in Iron Age Archaeology_, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1989, pp. 1-14, available online at


      On the excavations at Ashdod see also, from the last cited volume:

      Moshe Dothan, "Archaeological Evidence for Movements of the Early 'Sea Peoples' in Canaan" (Ibid., pp 59-70), available online at


      Moreover, coming to funerary architecture, Jane C. Waldbaum ("Philistine Tombs at Tell Fara and their Aegean Prototypes," _American Journal of Archaeology_ 70 [1966], pp. 331-340] has compared the rectangular Philistine chamber tombs from Tell el-Farah with similar types of rock-cut tombs in Egypt, Cyrus and Canaan and has concluded that the only tombs comparable in shape (a distinct rectangular one) to those at Tell el-Farah are ones found at sites in Mycenaean Greece and the Aegean (which also contain the distinctive benches found at Tell el-Farah). The identification of a Mycenaean-Aegean prototype for these Philistine tombs has, however, stirred controversies among the scholars -- see the discussion included in the Ph.D. thesis at

      http://tinyurl.com/yb4skjd (pp. 73-76)

      Again on Philistine architectural elements and their possible Aegean-Cypriot origin, check out Louise A. Hitchcock's paper at


      on altars with 'horns of consecration' at Ekron, which, according to this scholar (an to her mentor S. Gitin), would be suggestive of some earlier Aegean and Cypriot prototypes that were possibly "imported" into the Levant through the Philistines.

      Best wishes,
      Francesco Brighenti
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