The Provenance of Philistine Pottery in Northern Canaan, with a Focus on the Jezreel Valley

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The impact the Philistines and other Sea Peoples had on Iron I northern Canaan is an intricate issue that has been debated for decades. Past theories on a sizable Sea Peoples presence and military control have today largely been replaced by more moderate views of a diminutive presence of foreign population elements or, merely, mercantile relations between Philistia and the north. In this study, this topic is addressed by provenance analysis (petrography). The previously published dataset is tripled, for a grand total of 155 vessels and sherds. Circa two-thirds of the assemblage was imported from the Philistine heartland. The exporters of this pottery were mainly the coastal centres of Philistia—probably Gaza, Ashkelon and Ashdod—while Shephelah cities (Ekron, Gath) played a subordinate role in these wares bound for the north. The Jezreel Valley stands out among all other northern regions for its large quantities of genuine Philistine imports. Rather than pointing to foreign presence, the data suggest tight commercial and cultural contacts with Philistia. Moreover, this study revises the previously formulated ‘northern skyphoi’ phenomenon, which was dissociated from the discussion of Philistine pottery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-231
Number of pages39
JournalTel Aviv
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University 2017.


  • Iron I
  • Megiddo
  • Northern skyphoi
  • Petrography
  • Philistine pottery
  • Sea Peoples
  • northern Canaan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Archaeology


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