The Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, Israel has uncovered a stratified sequence from the late thirteenth-early twelfth century B.C. which provides evidence for the transformation of Ashkelon from an Egyptian garrison to a Philistine seaport. The earliest Philistine settlement appears as a completely new construction accompanied by distinct ceramic forms with no predecessors in earlier phases. All of the available evidence from Ashkelon, including ceramic forms with close parallels to the nearby site of Lachish, Mycenaean IIIC pottery, and imported Egyptian artifacts, argue that the earliest Philistine settlement occurred in the first half of the twelfth century B.C. This article presents a synopsis of the ceramic and stratigraphic sequence with the hope of contributing to the history of the early Iron Age in the Southern Levant.
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