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Re: Sea Peoples, a dubious term.

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  • Jon Smyth
    ... David. Shelley Wachsmann sees an Aegean-style ship on a seal from Beit Shemesh. An Aegean-style ship in graffiti at Nahal ha-Me arot, and again at
    Message 1 of 148 , Dec 2, 2011
      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, David Hall <dqhall59@...> wrote:
      > There are scenes of the naval battles with ships of Mycenaean
      >design and Egyptian design (Wachsmann) fighting each other in the
      >Nile Delta.

      Shelley Wachsmann "sees" an Aegean-style ship on a seal from Beit Shemesh. An Aegean-style ship in graffiti at Nahal ha-Me'arot, and again at Teneida near the Dakhla Oasis. Should we believe the Mycenaeans penetrated so far, or rather should we "see" this particular style of ship was a sea-worthy design and consequently popular with a variety of peoples across the eastern Mediterranean.
      As Byblos and its environs were a veritible factory for the shipping industry who can say that 'bird-headed' prows were not a very popular and common design.
      A frequent occurance in the Sea Peoples paradigm, too much is being made of too little.

      I'm sure you know that the "Nile" is nowhere mentioned in the Medinet-Habu texts. The word which is interpreted as refering to the Nile is actually "r3w-H3wt" which only means "river mouths", or perhaps "harbours" nothing to do with the Nile specifically. The meaning is inferred to mean the Nile due to the usage of "r3-H3wt" in the Nauri Stela.
      "r3w-H3wt" could be anywhere in the coastal Levant where river-mouths or harbours were to be found as Ramesses III had made it clear he embarked for Djahy.

      > Pottery evidence shows a migration of "Sea Peoples" to the coast of
      >Israel in the LBA - IA transition. Dothan found parallels
      >between the Philistine/Peleset pottery found in coastal areas of
      >Israel to that of Crete. Crete has been described as in
      >its "Mycenaean" era during this time.Â

      Pottery evidence (Kling, Killebrew, etc.) suggests that "people who had been in contact" with Aegean cultures appeared in the Levant sometime after the end of the 20th dynasty. This was not a direct transfer of an Aegean culture to the Levant.
      Long before Trude Dothan's work, Ruth Amiran demonstrated that Aegean pottery styles appeared in the Levant in the Late Bronze. Granted some new styles did appear in Iron I, however, other forms were already in evidence. The Levantine coastal traders were familiar with 'Aegean' wares and had been for centuries.

      > The Egyptian 'Tale of Wenamum' from a later period (c. 11th-10th
      >century)Â indicates the Tjeker (a Sea People described at Medinet
      >Habu)Â controlled the harbor of Dor between modern Tel Aviv and
      >Haipha. Â

      Please read Ayelet Gilboa on the most recent excavations at Dor and the emerging picture on who the "Tjekker" appear to have been.

      > The writings of the Hebrews described problems between the
      >Philistines and Israel as far north as Beth Shean. The writings
      >may have been based on a war between the Philistines and Israel,
      >yet Biblical details of the battle of Beth Shean could not be
      >proven to be historical. No Philistine pottery was found at Beth

      Which, for those who implicitly trust such writings, only serves to illustrate that to brand a particular selection of pottery with an ethnicon (Philistine) will inevitably lead to erroneous conclusions as to the origin of such wares. Pottery does not equal people.

      Jon Smyth
      Kitchener, On.
    • aren
      Raz, Once again, I m rather hesitant to get into this, since the ongoing back and forth is most often done on the basis of party lines and self-perceived
      Message 148 of 148 , Dec 6, 2011
        Once again, I'm rather hesitant to get into this, since the ongoing back and forth is most often done on the basis of "party lines" and self-perceived "truths" and often without reference to the latest research in various areas.

        I was not, in any way stating who has the truth or not, at this or that university. For that matter, I felt that both sides of what appeared to be a completely aimless argument were not arguing about details of the most updated discussions and recent evidence of the LB destructions and/or the Sea Peoples, but rather going over their "party lines" - of which each side was totally convinced that his/her "truth" had "won" long ago (and nothing scares me more [in research, religion and politics] than those who know for sure that they are absolutely right).

        Simplistic conceptions of the various ideological divisions and scholarly camps are really only useful if you are interested in the debate - and not the content (or the history and sociology of research). Current research, with an overflow of wide ranging data, has shown, in my humble opinion, if anything, that the various ideological "camps" of the historical reconstruction of the beginning of the Iron Age are all wrong (or if you want, they are all partially right)! Things were much more complicated than previously assumed.
        For example, the simplistic explanation of the Philistines as monolithic conquerors does not hold - but neither does the often repeated mantra that there is no evidence of the influx of Aegean (or rather "western") oriented cultural elements. Au contraire - there is plenty of evidence of this, and that it can most probably be connected to the actual arrival of bona fide "bodies" who carried these cultural influences to the Levant.
        And to make things ever more multi-faceted, this is true to varying degrees in different areas, such as if we compare the situation in Philistia, Phoenicia and the Amuq. To try and explain away all these things in simplistic terms may sound good in a debating society - but not for those of us who are intimately involved in the nitty-gritty details of the relevant archaeological finds.
        Knowing Hebrew is not a sine qua non for studying the archaeology of this region, just like you can study the archaeology of Denmark, or Finland, without knowing the local languages. But, it can be very helpful (to say the least, as you well know).
        AND, when dealing with a topic such as the destruction of Hazor (which much of the recent discussion on this list was not demonstrating an awareness of much of the most updated research), if the most recent discussion is in Hebrew, it is worthwhile to relate to it.

        But hey - I've long ago had the feeling that this list is all too often more about the sociology of research and the psychology of the researchers, than research itself.

        But that is my opinion - and what do I know...

        Aren Maeir
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