Could we be on the verge of finding out who the Philistines and other Sea Peoples were?
There has just been published a report about the genetic ancestry of the Bronze Age Minoan and Mycenaean people. These would have been people from the Crete and the islands around Greece. It seems to confirm an earlier migration from Anatolia, modern Turkey. (There is an abstract here. The article itself is behind a pay wall.)
This is more fruit from the use of the human genome to study the past.
Just two posts ago I reported about the results on Phoenician or Canaanite people from ancient Sidon. It may seem kind of ghoulish that we are using bones and graves. But archeology has long dealt with mummies and tombs. If it wasn’t for the tombs of Egypt (pyramids) we would know a lot less about ancient Egypt.
A recent discovery has been a graveyard at Ashkelon in Gaza. It has human remains and we have concluded that it was in use from -1000 to -700 when the people of Ashkelon should have been Philistines. (See the article here, which treats the notion that the people in the cemetery are Philistine with an abundance of caution.)
One of the likeliest possibilities in regard to the Philistines is that they also were of Minoan or Mycenaean background. So, since we have these results from Ashkelon, we should be able to compare DNA with DNA and draw conclusions.
We should be able to tell something. If the people at Ashkelon were Semitic or Egyptian, then they were not Philistines. However, if they were from the Mediterranean Islands and match closely the Minoan and Mycenaean folks, then we will have solved part of the mystery of the Sea Peoples.