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11423Re: Philistine Architecture? (was: Philistine areas)

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  • driver40386
    Oct 4, 2009
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      Dear David.
      Contrary to a previous response I feel it necessary to point out that the tales of Wenamun are too far removed from the 'event' we call the Sea Peoples invasion hypothesis to be regarded as evidence for an invasion of foreigners.

      Traditionally we have been led to believe that 'Philistine' architecture and 'Philistine' pottery followed close on the presumed 'Philistine' destructions duly noted as widespread across the region. Yet, for decades it has been pointed out, but not as enthusiastically debated, that there is a significant hiatus between the destruction levels and the first appearance of 'Philistine' habitation.

      As long ago as the 1970's Aharoni pointed out this dilemma, "The simple conclusion that a certain period of time separates the battles with Ramesses III and their settlement in Philistia is never, for some reason, given consideration".
      Archaeology of the Land of Israel, Aharoni, 1978, p.184.

      Neither is this an isolated observation, many sites enumerated by Dever in 1992 betray the same condition. Trude Dothan commented (1998) about the apparent hiatus at Oren's excavation at Tell esh-Shari'a, that "These are very, very problematic issues".

      Finkelstein in the same publication (Mediterranean Peoples in Transition,1998) drove the point home by pointing out that Monochrome wares only appear in the Levant in the latter days of Ramesses VI.
      Therefore, he suggests, 'Philistine' bichrome should be downdated to the 11th century. This would bring 'Philistine' bichrome more contemporary with Phoenician bichrome, which should come as no surprise.
      Bikai in 1994 pondered why Cypriot, Phoenician & Palestinian pottery wares were so similar yet are not studied as a whole in that context. Of course, opinions on such parallels were hindered by a period of almost a century between Phoenician & Palestinian bichrome wares. A time period now considerably eroded.

      If, we cling to the concept that this relatively new 'Philistine' bichrome, and, 'Philistine' architecture belongs to some invading Philistines then this well defined hiatus between strata containing such evidence and the destruction levels must be accounted for.

      There can be no doubt that peoples from northern Syria ventured south to take up residence following the departure of Egypt from the coastal Levant, circa 1130 BCE.
      Whether this movement of peoples was related to the wars of Ramesses III is an entirely different matter, something in the order of 30-50 years may separate the two events.

      Who caused those widespread destructions?
      Given the fact that Ramesses III provides approx. 124 Asiatic conquest sites. Also given the fact that many Levantine destruction levels consist of 1 to 2 meters of burned debris and ash, we should perhaps consider the words of Ram. III more carefully.
      "Destruction to their towns, devastated at one time; their trees and all their people are become ashes" and elsewhere we read, "...the Sikel and the Peleset were made ashes..", indeed they were!

      Twice we read of the "towns of the Peleset", several times the Sikel & Peleset are referred to as "sebiu' = "rebels" and "amu" = "Asiatics". He writes, "no land stood firm at the sound of my name, but they leave their settlements, moving away from their place, scattered..." these phrases are all indications that Ramesses III forcibly dispersed an already resident foe in the Levant.

      Ramesses assembled his troops in Tjaru to disperse the "rebellious Asiatics" across the hill-countries. The fact he calls them "amu" means they are not foreigners from the Aegean. That he also refers to them as "sebiu" means these Asiatics were considered by him as his subjects. Foreign armies do not rebel, only subject peoples rebel.

      That this confrontation was not the result of a sudden invasion is hinted at by the line: "The Gods made me to be king in Egypt to strengthen her to repel for her the plains and hill-countries". This is consistent with a longtime ongoing problem between Egypt and her neighbours to the east.
      And indeed this is what we already know from the reign of Merneptah through to Setnakht, Egypt had problems with their Asiatic neighbours.
      Ramesses had been commissioned by the gods to disperse her troublesome subjects in the hill-countries. This is what we see in the commonly termed 'Oxcart' relief. The scene is a dispersal, not a battle, contrary to popular opinion.

      The textual evidence is consistent with the Peleset being already resident before year 8 of Ramesses III. Hence, any evidence of actual Peleset occupation should be found 'beneath' the destruction layers, not on top of it.
      Finkelstein's demographic survey (2000) of the southern coastal plain and the Shephelah over the period of the end of the Late Bronze through to Iron I is entirely consistent with the above scenario.
      We see as many as 102 settlements at the end of the LBA, which dropped drastically to only 49 within the Iron I period. Finkelstein describes a twofold process, an annihilation of the countryside followed by an impressive expansion of urban life, along with 'new' architecture & pottery wares.

      This is what the archaeological record provides. Widespread annihilation, followed by an occupational hiatus while Egypt dominates this coastal region south of the Yarkon. Contact between the Levant and the Aegean (Cyprus & Cilicia?) is curtailed for several generations. Perhaps the term 'Fortress Canaan' would be applicable?

      Egypt eventually departs the Levant, circa 1130 BCE? Replaced by Asiatics who filter in from the north and bring with them their Monochrome pottery knowhow, producing their 'Philistine' wares and 'Philistine' architecture.

      I don't know David, I do not see evolving archaeological findings being at all consistent with the Victorian Aegean invasion paradigm.
      The surviving hieroglyphic record describes a local rebellion of Asiatic subjects against Egypt.

      All the best, Jon Smyth
      Toronto, CAN.

      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, David Hall <dqhall59@...> wrote:
      > Could the 11th century Egyptian story of Wenamum visiting the >Sikils (sea people) at Dor be used as evidence for the sea peoples >paradigm?...
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