Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


11 May 2016

Telling stories: The Mycenaean origins of the Philistines

Guy D. Middleton Oxford Journal of Archaeology 34.1 (2015): 45-65


The story of the Philistines as Mycenaean or Aegean migrants, refugees who fled the Aegean after the collapse of the palace societies c. 1200 BC, bringing an Aegean culture and practices to the Eastern Mediterranean, is well known. Accepted as essentially true by some, yet rejected as little more than a modern myth by others, the migration narrative retains a central place in the archaeology and historiography of the Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age (LBA/EIA). In recent years, and despite an increasingly shaky theoretical basis, the migration hypothesis has nevertheless seemed to drown out other interpretations and characterizations of the period, claiming a normative position that is undeserved. In this paper I explore the continuing power of this nineteenth century narrative and seek to show why it is less convincing than its prominent status would suggest.


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