The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.


Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:06 am

by Shell Peczynski
MARCH 2009




Table of Contents:

• Acknowledgements
• Introduction
• Chapter 1: Epigraphical Records
• Chapter 2: Who Defined the Sea Peoples
• Chapter 3: Confederation of Lands and Tribes United to Form the Sea Peoples Front
• Chapter 4: Migration Routes As Seen Through Pottery and Archaeology
• Chapter 5: How Did They Travel
• Chapter 6: Why Did They Leave Their Homeland
• Chapter 7: Famine Causing Migration
• Conclusion
• Illustrations and Tables
• Bibliography
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Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:08 am


I want to thank the matriarchs of my family for believing that, as a woman, I could do anything; Professor Cargill for luring me to Rutgers University with his class syllabus of the Ancient Near East course and subsequent courses on Greece. I also need to mention Professor Tannus for planting the seed in my mind of actually doing a thesis paper. I would also like to thank Tom Andruszewski for taking the first step into the deep dark waters of thesis writing and surviving the swim, encouraging me not to drown in the process, and that it can also be done by those of us who work full time. I cannot forget Shanna and Marion; my smart life-long friends who have inspired me and helped me through the rough patches with their computer knowledge and multi-tasking skills. These women inspired me to take the leap into the dark sea of higher education. Which leads me to my mentor Dr. Figueira, whose lecturing of mythology struck me with the epiphany that I want to someday tell the stories of the ancients and inspire our youth in such a way that I can mirror his brilliance in the unrehearsed flow and clarity of the lectures and tangents we may go on. His eloquence of speech and knowledge of diverse histories is colorful and vibrant, lacking the dryness of some historical topics and generic monotone speaking of many historians. The inspiration I have gleaned from these individuals has taught me that I can not only question stories of the past but answer the questions I seek, for future generations to expound upon. And that is the quest of a true teacher which I have recently aspired to be.
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Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:09 am


The confederation of tribes we label the Sea Peoples were a complex web connecting the threads of what would later become scholarly debate. Their memory is but words in a dusty book, on a desolate shelf, long forgotten by an apathetic modern world. All that remains are pictures set in timeless stone telling of their attempt to conquer Egypt, in what we term the Late Bronze Age. Let us consider a time of prehistory. Discovering a past lost, still undeciphered which could hold a key to our future. In this never- nding story… we open the pages in the middle; for the beginning pages have been destroyed. Nevertheless, we may reconstruct through epigraphical evidence, alternate pages of this foreign his-story. The story tells of a population fleeing.

This was such a definite turning of events that time was redefined from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. In defining the ages of man, a transition occurred from the use of bronze metal in daily lives to the use of stronger iron implements. This marks a definite transition in power and lifestyles. Tribes and their societies depended on war and conquest as well as work and trade for food and survival. The climate was changing and so were their lifestyles, sometimes rapidly. Piracy was prevalent and an acceptable and feasible way of life, as long as you had the resources.

The Mediterranean Sea was being traversed and migrations were recorded “over a period of at least fifty years in the later twelfth and early eleventh centuries BCE”.1 These tribes about which I shall speak were recognized and recorded by the Hittites, Egyptians, and the Alashiyans of what we now call Cyprus as well as Syrians of Ugarit.

Hewitt believes that they started as united allied villages which grew into provinces and aggregated into larger confederations of allies such as the Sea Peoples. Leahy tells us that “there is a broad consensus that they came mainly from the Aegean and Anatolia, and archaeological discoveries increasingly suggest that upheavals in the Mycenaean world lay behind their abandonment of their native countries”.2 This era was marked with heavy inflation of food subsidies and famine across the Mediterranean. This was a time of chaos, and of fortification to protect what was life sustaining. Forts were built, troops were trained, and resources in metal were the base for the protection of each nation. Its importance cannot be stressed enough. Their era was categorized by it; power was defended by it. The rise and fall of civilizations was defined by it. There was “activity of trade caused by the discovery, by the mining tribes of the North of Asia Minor and Cyprus, of the ores of metals, the methods of extracting metals from the ores, and of working them when extracted.”3 They were in search of ore deposits and a better way of life. During this time “the foreign invaders included women and children in carts, and there can be no doubt that what we see was not just a military force but a population on the move”.4 This population was seeking food, wealth, trade and sustainability. They found all of it in Egypt and the Levant.

There was a power struggle in the eastern Mediterranean over land and resources, especially metals. Metals equaled commerce and currency, it made tools to dominate other tribes. In the fifteenth century B.C. the Hittites were powerful, but were fading, while the Egyptian power waxed and then waned. When the Hittite kingdom was abolished, trade routes were upset.5 We can see this in the archaeological patterns formed in the Levant and Syria. This confederation of tribes we will now refer to as the Sea Peoples are thought to have sacked the Hittite cities. We must ask why they would uproot from their homeland and risk death and slavery by a foreign race. Leahy observes that they played a part in the loss of the Levant from Egypt.6 When they arrived there they staked a claim on the Levant. Arriving as mercenaries they used their influence and esources to better their lives. Barako states that because of the weakened state of Egypt, which held political sway over southern Canaan for most of the Late Bronze Age, the Philistines and other tribes of the Sea Peoples were able to threaten their power.7 After all they had allies, ships and metal implement to fight with. Moreover, in textual evidence from Medinet Habu, their threat to Egypt indicates they could conquer the coveted land in the Levant. These mysterious tribes appeared in a power vacuum and carved out a piece of the Levant for themselves and their families. They were hoping, but not succeeding, to include Egypt in their spoils of conquest. What they did was leave a mark on the Mediterranean history of their time. This mark was written in cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

In chapter one of this paper the physical proof that the tribes of the Sea People actually existed and were not just myth is argued from the epigraphical record of textual and pictorial records inscribed by the Egyptians, Hittites and Ugaritans. Unfortunately we do not have any written proof that survives from the Sea Peoples perspective. Everything found so far is from a foreign perspective. In chapter two we review the scholars who have previously chosen to study the Sea Peoples and classify them. Chapter three explores which were the tribes of the Sea Peoples and which lands they were thought to have occupied. Chapter four digs into the archaeology and their migration route through the archaeological remains. Chapter five gives a hypothetical route by land for the Sea Peoples and talks about the obstacles they may have encountered. It is obvious they traveled by sea as well and that is a complicated subject that I leave to more learned scholars than myself. The land route is a new hypothesis I have enjoyed exploring. Chapter six asks why they migrated and looks at the ruins around them while exploring the earthquake hypothesis again with the new science of Archaeoseismology and earthquake storms. Chapter seven goes into detail about epigraphical evidence of famine and drought reported around that time. Once we establish that they were real historical people, I summarize who has talked about them in scholarship and what archaeological trails they left behind. Where their path took them and what disrupted their lives enough for them to risk all. Erratic weather in different forms and hypothesis will be explored.
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Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:10 am


In tracing these movements at the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, I looked to the epigraphical evidence left behind in baked clay and stone. The Hittites’ kept records and diplomatic correspondences that were written in baked clay tablets. The Egyptians left their exploits and stories in stone and papyrus transmitted through intermediaries. Important documents were on display in their Pharaohs’ temples and on stelae. Stelae were ancient message boards relaying in stone the Pharaohs accomplishments. Cohen and Westbrook identify the Late Bronze age stretching from the sixteenth century to the twelfth century BC.8 Politically the Mediterranean region was divided up by Kingdoms considering themselves Great Powers. Their rulers felt justified in calling themselves ‘Great King(s)’ and explained their ‘brotherhood’ as equals.9 These Great Powers consisted of the kings of the Hittites, Babylonia, Assyria,10 and Egypt which entered in the “fifteenth century, after the campaigns of Thutmose III who had taken Egyptian arms as far as the Euphrates and won for Egypt an empire in Canaan”11 or the Levant, where we will focus on archaeologically when looking for these tribes. The Alashiyans of Cyprus were considered an independent state and the Syrians of Ugarit were corresponding diplomatically with Egypt as well. These were the competitors for power, and, when they lost it, the confederation of Sea Peoples formed an alliance and stepped into the power vacuum left behind. They were leaving broken towns in search of a better life.

Our earliest source, the Amarna letters, represented correspondence during the Egyptian Eighteenth Dynasty.12 These political letters imprinted in baked clay date from 1386-1318 BCE.13 These documents are the earliest historical evidence of the tribes encompassing the Sea Peoples.14 Lorenz summarizes the ethnic groups referenced in the Amarna letters as being the Shardana, the Danuna, and the Lukka.15 The Shardana are mentioned by Rib-Hadda of Gubla, residing in what we call Byblos. This Amarna letter, which is now entitled “An Attempted Assassination”, is correspondence between Rib- Hadda and an Egyptian Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. He informs the Great King that “A Sirdanu…order”[ed] an assassination in Gubla [Byblos].16 This political dispute over land is between two vassals of Egypt, Gubla and Amurru. The ruler of Amurru had “taken all of Rib- Hadda’s cities” and was conquering more by luring support away. These Sirdanu, whom Woudhuizen equates with the Sherden tribe, will be discussed later in detail since it has controversial origins.17 In the other two examples both alternative versions of one letter, EA 122 and EA123 entitled “An Enormity” and “An Enormity: Another Version”, the vassal Rib-Hadda complains to his lord, the Pharaoh, that his enemy killed many “Sirdanu people”. These became known later as one tribe of the Sea People.

The ethnic group, known as the Danuna, is found in EA 15118 (which is entitled “A Report on Canaan)”.19 In this letter, it is reported that “the king of Danuna died; his brother became king after his death, and his land is at peace”.20 This is followed by a report of fire destroying half of the palace at Ugarit.21 Turmoil was prevalent in the last stages of the Bronze Age.

Another ethnic group is referred to as the men of Lukki, appearing in only one Amarna Letter, EA 3822 entitled “A Brotherly Quarrel”.23 Lorenz summarizes wonderfully that the Egyptian pharaoh accuses some Alashiyans in allying with Lukki and raiding his territory, 24 and the king of Alashiya points out that he loses villages to the “men of Lukki, year by year”.25 They are obviously on the move. This group will be examined more in the next chapter. This letter represents the first mention of any tribes of the Sea Peoples. They are offhandedly recognized as being a problem for vassals of Egypt of the late Bronze Age. These piratical tribes were disrupting Egyptian power.

In chronological succession our next source is found on the walls of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. This inscription was inscribed for Pharaoh Merneptah in Year 5 of his reign c. 1285 BC. It heralded his accomplishments as Pharaoh. Breasted informs us that the original inscription that was thought to be in Memphis has no longer survived.26 Leahy assumes about one-third of the invaders in this attack were Sea Peoples.27 The Libyan part of the army came at Egypt from the west.28 The title translates as “[Beginning of the victory which his majesty achieved in the land of Libya] -----i, Ekwesh (-k-w-s), Teresh (Tw-rw-s), Luka (Rw-kw), Sherden (S-r-d-n), Shekelesh (S-k-rws), Northerners coming from all lands”.29 This lists all the foreign enemies in this attack whom we group as the Sea Peoples. In the tenth month of the third season, saying: “The wretched, fallen chief of Libya, Meryey (M-r-y-yw-y), son of Ded (Dy-d), has fallen upon the country of tehenu with his bowmen----- Sherden ([S]-r-d-n), Shekelesh (S-k-rw-s), Ekwesh (-k-w-s), Luka (Rw-kw), Teresh (Tw-ry-s), taking the best of every warrior and every man of war (phr) of his country. He has brought his wife and his children ----- leaders of the camp and he has reached the western boundary in the fields of Perire.”30 This was a tribe on the move with their allies standing with them. They had a goal and were on the attack. They wanted a fresh start in a new fertile land.

What follows is Merneptah’s speech which mentions “[Shall the land be wa] sted and forsaken at the invasion of every country, while the Nine Bows plunder its borders, and rebels invade it every day?”31 An earlier epigraph tells of the past “it was forsaken as pasturage for cattle because of the Nine Bows it was left waste from the times of the ancestors”.32 These Sea Peoples are aggressors and have attacked in the times of the ancestors. The speech continues: “They come to the land of Egypt, to seek the necessities of their mouths; their desire is ----- bringing to an end S-rk the Pedetishew (Pd ty-sw), whom I caused to take grain in ships, to keep alive that land of Kheta.”33 This seems to be telling us that the Pharaoh has given grain in the past to people in the land of Kheta. Now the battle begins over supremacy in the wealthy countries of the pharaoh’s dominion. Desperation over food sources and competition for limited supplies turns good men bad. They became outlaws and pirates, taking what they needed instead of honestly living. Those ways of life were acceptable in those days. Merneptah victoriously returns “laden with the uncircumcised phalli of the country of Libya, together with the hands of every country that was with them”.34 The Egyptians exacted revenge and tried to make sure that their enemies could not reproduce another generation to come back again and attack Egypt. Proudly, the Pharaoh lists:

The captives carried off from this land of Libya and the countries which he brought with him; likewise the property ----- [between] the chateau of Merneptah-Hotephirma Tehenu (Ty-[h]-nw) which is in Perire (Pr-yrr), as far as the upper towns of the country, beginning with ‘—of Merneptah-Hotephirma.’

[Children of the chief of Libya whose] uncircumcised phalli [were carried off] 6 men Children of chiefs, and brothers of the chief of Libya, slain, whose [uncircumcised phalli were carried off
--Libyans, slain, whose uncircumcised phalli were carried off 6,359
Total, children of great chiefs --
--[Sher]den (--dy-n), Shekelesh (S-k-rw-s), Ekwesh (-k-y-w-s) of the countries of
the sea, who had no fore-skins:
Shekelesh ( S-k-rw-s) 222 men
Making 250 men
Teresh (Tw-rw-s) 742 men
Making 790 hands
Sherden (S-r’-d-n-n’) --
[Making] --
[Ek]wesh (--‘-y-w’-s’) who had no foreskins, slain, whose hands were carried off,
(for) they had no [foreskins]
--in heaps, whose uncircumcised phalli were carried off to the place where the
king was
Making uncircumcised phalli 6,111 men
--whose hands [were cut off] 2,370 men
Shekelesh (S’-k’-rw-s’) and Teresh (Tw-rw-s’) who came as enemies of Libya –
--Kehek, and Libyans, carried off as living prisoners 218 men
Women of the fallen chief of Libya, whom he brought with him, being alive 12
Libyan women; Total carried off -----
9,376 people.
List of Spoils:
Weapons of war which were in their hands, carried off as plunder: copper swords
of the Meshwesh (M-s’-w’-s’) 9,111
---- 120,214
Horses which bore the fallen chief of Libya and the children [of the ch]ief of
Libya, carried off alive, pairs
Possessions ----- Meshwesh – which the army of his majesty, L. P. H., who fought
the fallen of Libya, captured: various cattle 1,308
Goats --
--various- 64
Silver drinking vessels (tb w) --
(t’pw-r)-vessels, (rhd t)-vessels, swords, armor, knives, and various vessels 3,174

They were taken away ---- fire was set to the camp and their tents of leather.35 This list describes the Sea People and their possessions. It tells us that they fought with copper swords and that they brought their wives and children who were migrating with them. Animal husbandry was important to this nomadic society. It was a steady source of food. This was not merely just a battle between armies this was a population on the move. They traveled in leather tents and carried armor, knives and silver drinking vessels. They were a society that used many metal instruments and utensils, not just pottery. Livestock, their livelihood through animal husbandry, and current food supply was transported with them as well.

Breasted tells us this is “one of the longest documents preserved on the temple walls of Egypt.”36 This is a fact which must have pointed to its importance. Summarizing what happened, Breasted portrays the Libyans making “a coalition with the maritime peoples of the Mediterranean, who now poured into the Delta.”37 The picture painted is:

With the assistance of the Kheta, the Libyan king Meryey put himself at the head of these combined allies and invaded the Delta, bringing his wives and belongings, and apparently intending a permanent occupation. Sometime during the first half of the tenth month (late in March), in Merneptah’s fifth year a messenger reached him with the news. Rallying his forces immediately, Merneptah met the enemy on the third of the eleventh month (about April 15) at Perire in the western Delta, and in six hours’ fighting routed their combined forces with immense slaughter. He pursued them from Perire to the rise of the Libyan desert, called the ‘Mount of the Horns of the Earth’. … over 9,000 of the enemy were slain, possibly as many more taken prisoners. … the Libyan king was forced to ignominious flight, his camp, his wives, and his personal belongings falling into the hands of the Egyptians.38

It was a time of conquest and competition for arable land and resources; especially metal that can sustain a society. These were desirable commodities and tribes tended to be nomadic and aggressive. They were leaving a bad situation in hopes of gaining a new opportunity.

Our next source was also found in Egypt, carved in Merneptah’s 5th year reign c.1285 BCE. It describes the second month of the third season. Known to us as the Cairo Column, its importance lies in the accurate dating of Merneptah’s victory over the Libyans.39 It reiterates the content of the great Karnak Inscription. There is a pictographic representation with hieroglyphics that show a god telling Merneptah, “I cause that thou cut down the chiefs of Libya whose invasion thou hast turned back”.40 This is meant to show the favor of the gods with Egypt and against its enemy. Underneath is a partially eroded inscription containing the exact date of the battle: year 5, second month of the third season (tenth month). One came to say to his majesty: ‘the wretched [chief] of Libya has invaded with --, being men and women, Shekelesh (S’- k-rw-s’).’41

The Cairo Column breaks off at this point and we must turn to another source to find out the completed message. Cline and O’Connor summarize the translation wonderfully in their appendix of- “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’” article: …has invaded and the land of Libya, being men and women, Shekelesh and every foreign country, which is with him, to violate the borders of Egypt”.42 We are fortunate that the Egyptians made multiple commemorations of their exploits, boasting to future generations of their prowess. In piecing together these clues to the past, we can construct a path followed by the legendary Sea Peoples.

Our next source is referenced as the Athribis Stela, and is made of granite.43 It was found in the town of Athribis located in the southern Delta of Egypt.44 Breasted tells us it now resides in Cairo. The introduction titled “Valor of Merneptah” tells us:

[Pharaoh’s] fame against the land of Temeh…and how they speak of his victories in the land of Me[shwesh]…making their camps into wastes of the Red Land, taking ----- every herb that came forth from their fields. No field grew, to keep alive…The families of Libya are scattered upon the dykes like mice -----. There is found among them no place of [refuge]-----… every survivor among them [is carried off as a living captive] They live on herbs like [wild] cattle- ---…45

This describes a famished people with their food taken and their fields destroyed. It clearly states the “families” are scattered and helpless and there is no safe haven for them. What were they leaving? It seems they were in search of better food sources and an opportunity for rebuilding and perhaps raw materials that they equated with safety and prosperity. Egypt was known to all as a land of agricultural wealth, sustained by the Nile River. It appears a desperate people searched for a better life and risked their entire “families” in bringing them with the armies to settle fertile land.

The Stela continues with a list of the slain, captives and spoils. Verse 601 is comparable with verse 588 with the numbers varying slightly. Though one designation stands out in referring to the “Ekwesh (‘-k-w’-y-s’) [of] the countries of the sea, whom had brought the wretched [fallen chief of Libya]”.46 This geographic note is only placed after the Ekwesh tribe in both the Great Karnak Inscription and the Athribis Stela.47 The ethnic groups that we call the Sea People mentioned on the Stela are called the Ekwesh, Libyans, the Shekelesh and Teresh as well as the Shardana.

We can now move to another piece of the puzzle. A stela was found by Petrie, in the year 1896, at the mortuary temple of Merneptah in the city of Thebes, Egypt.48 This stela speaks of the victory of Merneptah in the fifth year of his reign c. 1230 BCE, known also as the Hymn of Victory of Mer-ne-Ptah or simply, the Israel Stela.49 Mainly reiterating the Karnak inscription, it adds one shocking detail. The last section refers to Israel and is the first identification of Israel that we have found, and it appears in a statement of the subjugation of foreign peoples, while the eight lines between are a list of the defeated foreigners.50 It is important to note the second phrase, “his seed (pr t) is not”.51 This form of punishment the Egyptians liked to deal out to their defeated enemies and is found similarly in other parts of the inscriptions:52

Those who reached my border are desolated, their seed is not (referring to northern invaders)53 The Libyans and the Seped are wasted, their seed is not. The fire has penetrated us; our seed is not (words of defeated Libyans) Their cities are made ashes, wasted, desolated; their seed is not (referring to the Meshwesh) Gored is the chief of Amor… his seed is not.54

The importance of bringing up the Egyptians’ way of despoiling body parts in dealing with defeated foes is their determination to eradicate future generations of opposition to Egyptian power. This could explain why we have difficulty, in this age, finding the pieces of the Sea Peoples and where they definitively ended up. With the men of that generation no longer able to procreate and sustain their race, the women were integrated into Egypt’s current society. Once captured the men were made into eunuchs and the women into slaves. There is an intriguing reference to Egypt “removing the mountain of copper from the neck of the people so that he might give breath to the people who were smothered”.55 This points to copper’s importance in their society and the Pharaoh’s power to give life and take it by defeating enemies. The passage continues later “that breath enters into their nostrils at the sight of him”.56 Another part of the Israel stela reveals the desolation of the Sea Peoples in:

the grain of his supplies was plundered, and he had no water in the skin to keep him alive. The face of his brothers was hostile to slay him, one fought another among his leaders. Their camp was burned and made a roast, all his possessions were food for the troops. … They have ceased to live in the pleasant fashion of walking in the field; their going about is stopped in a single day. The Tehenu are consumed in a single year. …their settlements are desolated… There is no work of carrying ---in these days… there is safety in the cavern.57

These passages portray the plight of a desperate, starving people trying to find a new way of life in a foreign land. Thoroughly defeated by Merntptah, they have nothing left but strife, hunger and desolation.

Threading the tapestry further, we arrive at the competition for power in the famous Battle of Qadesh. Fought primarily between the Hittites and the Egyptians, we should identify the allies as the Sea Peoples. This story is told in cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphic documents which some think can be filled in with the legends of Greece. 58 Barnett refers back to the year 1300BC, when:

The great clash took place at Quadesh in Syria (modern Tell Nebi Mind on the upper Orontses River) between the young Ramesses II and Muwatallish, the Great King of the Hittites. The List of the Hittites’ allies, recorded by the Egyptian scribes, includes a number of peoples of Anatolia and Syria.

Drdny usually taken as Dardanoi, a Homeric Greek name for Trojans.
Ms usually taken as equivalent to Masa.
Pds usually taken as equivalent to Pitassa.
‘Irwn usually taken as equivalent to Arawanna.
Krks (or Klks?) usually taken as equivalent to Karkisa.
Rk (or Lk) usually taken as equivalent to Lukka.59

These are the names that we know denominate the Sea People as written as in Hittite and Egyptian documents; referring to the allies of the Hittites in the battle of Qadesh. Chapter 3 will explore their names and epithets more. Here we are limited to noting their presence in physical documents.

Barnett reminds us that in Merneptah’s second year c. 1235 BCE, grain was sent from Egypt to the Pds while they suffered from famine that spread across the Mediterranean Sea; “this is said by Herodotus (1.94) to have afflicted Lydia for eighteen years, and finally forced the Etruscans to emigrate from that country… A second famine occurred in Anatolia 30 years later c. 1205 BCE”.60 Clearly emigration and migrations were occurring because of food shortages; thus causing turmoil and disputes over land in the Late Bronze Age. They were competing for resources and power.

The interior courtyard within Egypt’s Medinet Habu temple has a text upon the wall written for Ramesses III, second Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty in Year 8 of his reign. The text tells us:

…Year 8 under the majesty of (Ramesses III)… The foreign countries made a conspiracy in their islands. All at once the lands were removed and scattered in the fray. No land could stand before their arms, from Khatte, Quode, Carchemish, Arzawa, and Alashiya on, being cut off at [one time]. A camp was set up in one place in Amor. They desolated its people, and its land was like that which has never come into being. They were coming forward toward Egypt, while the flame was prepared before them. Their confederation was the Philistines, Tjekru, Shekelesh, Denye(n), Washosh, lands united. They laid their hands upon the lands as far as the circuit of the earth…Those who reached my frontier, their seed is not, their heart and soul are finished forever and ever. Those who came forward together on the sea, the full flame was in front of them at the river- mouths… They were dragged in, enclosed, and prostrated on the beach, killed, and made into heaps from tail to head. Their ships and their goods were as if fallen into the water. … I have not let foreign countries behold the frontier of Egypt, to boast thereof to the Nine Bows.61

Much is told in this inscription culminating in the defeat of the Sea Peoples by Pharaoh Ramesses III that will be discussed in my later chapters. There was intense competition and fighting for wealthy land.

Another inscription in the interior courtyard at Medinet Habu which was once claimed to be “the inscription of the Year 5” is thought by Cline to be happening rather in reigning year 8:62

The northern countries quivered in their bodies, the Peleset, Tjek[er and …]. They cut off their (own) land and were coming, their soul finished. They were teher warriors on land; another (group) was on the sea. Those who came on [land were overthrown and killed…]. … Those who entered the river-mouth were like birds ensnared in the net… Their leaders were carried off and slain. They were cast down and pinioned…63

This obviously describes an invasion. Why would men risk their families’ safety if they could avoid it. Obviously the stakes were high in this battle and proportionately the losses were as well. This text at Medinet Habu I: plate 14 shows ships battling in the pictures, and the hieroglyphics explain:

Now the northern countries, which were in their isles, were quivering in their bodies. They penetrated the channels of the Nile mouths. Their nostrils have ceased (to function, so that) their desire is <to> breath the breath. … (they are) capsized and overwhelmed in their places. Their hearts are taken away; their soul is flown away. Their weapons are scattered in the sea. … while the fugitive is become one fallen into the water.64

They met death head on. The text continues the story of the battle with 1: plate 15: …As for the countries who came from their land in the isles in the midst of the sea, … a net was prepared for them, to ensnare them. They that entered into the Nile mouths were caught, fallen into the midst of it, pinioned in their places, butchered, and their bodies hacked up. … Amun-Ra repels my foe and gives to me every land in my grasp.65 This account implies that the battle was a trap, ensnaring the Sea Peoples. They perished; brutally hacked up. We will come back later to the geographic clue about their origins from land in the midst of the sea.

On the face of the first pylon, to the south of the main gateway in the Medinet Habu temple of Egypt, there lies a stela beginning with “Year 12 under the majesty of Horus I overthrew the Tjek[er], the land of Pele[set], the Danuna, the [W]eshesh, and the Shekelesh; I destroyed the breath of the Mesh[wesh], --, Sebet, --, devastated in their (own) land.” …66 Again stela in Egypt are erected to boast of the Pharaoh’s triumphing over those coveting Egyptian land. He names the ethnic groups of what we call the Sea Peoples in this inscription.

We find more records in a different form than previously illustrated: Papyrus, a form of ancient paper that kept well in the dry heat of Egypt. The first document is named Papyrus Harris for the man who found it. N.K. Sandars relays the contents of this document written for Ramesses III:

I extended all the boundaries of Egypt. I overthrew those who invaded them from their lands. I slew the Denyen [who are] in their isles, the Tjeker and the Peleset were made ashes. The Shardana and the Weshesh of the sea, they were made as those that exist not, taken captive at one time, brought as captives to Egypt, like the sands of the shore. I settled them in strongholds bound in my name. Numerous were their classes like hundred- thousands. I taxed them all, in clothing and grain from the store-houses and granaries each year.67

They had nowhere else to go. Their intent was to settle. Ramesses III tells us he charitably took in the Shardana warriors and their families as mercenaries for his army:

I made the infantry and chariotry to dwell [at home] in my time; the Shardana and Kehek were in their towns, lying the length of their backs; they had no fear, for there was no enemy from Kush [nor] foe from Syria. Their bows and their weapons were laid up in their magazines, while they were satisfied and drunk with joy. Their wives were with them, their children at their side [for] I was with them as the defense and protection of their limbs.68

We see that Ramesses III was so impressed with the Shardana’s fighting skills that he took them into his army and provided for their families. He gave them jobs, there was no need to steal. There was no need to become an outlaw when you can provide sustenance for your family. They had no more reason to fear; he considered them happy and satisfied. Cline and O’Connor add a translation different from Sandars: “I sustained alive the whole land, whether foreigners, (common) folk, citizens, or people, male or female.”69 Perhaps he was talking about grain supplies. This describes the magnanimity of the Pharaoh for having mercy on captured foes who may be of use for defending Egypt’s frontiers against other invaders. It also boosts his ego to have life and death power over so many people.

Another obscure Papyrus called the Wilbour Papyrus is discussed by Leahy and tells us the Sherden: are recorded as settled in Middle Egypt in the land survey from the reign of Ramesses V recorded in the Wilbour Papyrus. They had presumably been given plots of land in return for their military service, and had doubtless[ly] intermarried, and were in the process of being assimilated.70 They were obviously content to settle in this wealthy land, which was their original intent. This gives one reason the Sherden tribe of the Sea Peoples dropped from Egyptian Records. They were assimilated into another culture, taking on its women and traits while living on its land.

The next source is a word list referred to as an onomasticon, in particular, the Onomasticon of Amenemope which Simpson tells us dates to the end of the twentieth dynasty and is repeated on ten different papyrus, scratched on potsherds, and was carved on a piece of leather. 71 This must have been practice for training scribes since it seems to have been copied by scribes many times over. Simpson notes that the ‘Misadventures of Wenamun and the Story of Woe’ was discovered at El-Hiba along with the Golenischeff papyri.72 O’Connor and Cline summarize that the ethnic groups Sherden, Tjeker, and Psset are in this word list.73 A Tjeker town, Dor is entered by the main character, Wenamun whom argues with its Tjeker prince.74

Ugarit, located in Syria, is where our next source comes from. These Ugarit Letters from the king of Alashiya, modern Cyprus, to Ammurapi, King of Ugarit, warn of enemy Sea Peoples ships sighted (Ugaritica 5.23).75 The reply is in the form of a clay tablet correspondence from Ammurapi (Hammurabi), king of Ugarit, to the king of Alashiya (Cyprus). This reply warns that “the ships of the enemy have been coming.”76 Hammurabi and Ugarit have been attacked by the enemy (Sea Peoples). Fires have been set and the land has been harmed, seven ships in all have been sighted while the Ugarit navy has been away fighting in the Lukki land.77 This reaffirms that the Sea Peoples were a problem for the powers of the late Bronze Age. They had appeared on the scene and were trying to carve out settlements for their own people from the fertile lands of the area. These migrating nomads were trying to find a prosperous land for their families to grow up. They had a motive to take over available resources.

The ethnic group of Philistines are mentioned in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 13: 19-22) as being the metal smiths of Israel and they would not share their secrets with the Hebrews but were willing to trade with them. Unfolding in later chapters will be the importance of metal to the daily lives of these people.

This is an overview of the epigraphical evidence found in the Late Bronze Age describing the Sea Peoples. They seem to have left their own territory en masse and were emigrating to other occupied lands, arriving in ships and raiding enemy towns. They were in need of food and metal resources, appearing on the scene in search of these necessities and willing to fight for them. Following a trail of broken pot sherds we can reconstruct this migration. First we must define who these Sea Peoples were and what ethnic groups comprised them.
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A conglomeration of different tribal names has been mentioned in the previous chapter. Egyptian Pharaoh Amenophis III names the Lukka, Sharden, Danuna, and Meshwesh.78 Pharaoh Ramesses II talks of the Lukka, Sharden, Quarqisha, and the Labu.79 Pharaoh Merneptah, who inscribed much about his victory over the Sea Peoples, lists them as Lukka, Sharden, Eqwesh, Teresh, Shekelesh, Labu, and Meshwesh.80 Pharaoh Ramesses III, in his fifth reigning year, inscribes the following tribes: Qayqisha, Labu, Meshwesh, Asbata, Shayu, Hasa, and Baqan.81 Pharaoh Ramesses III, again in his eighth reigning year, battles these Sea Peoples and names them: Shekelesh, Weshesh, Danyen, Tjakker, and Peleset.82 These are all Egyptian sources naming foreign enemies from the north. We have been referring to them as simply the Sea Peoples. It should be mentioned that Habiru or SA.GAZ, were known in the Near East “as a social category of refugees” their numbers spread at the end of the Bronze Age.83 They came as soldiers and metal craftsmen, some were outlaws, similar to pirates but on land.84

Hittite sources list this allied group and later enemy as Lu-uk-ka, Ta-ru-i-sa, Si-kala- yu, Kar-ki-sa, and Daniya-wana.85 As illustrated, there are many different references for what could be thought of as a few raiding tribes. All of these names are from the surrounding areas of the Mediterranean Sea, and many have been traced to Asia Minor and the Aegean. Barako summarizes that “these people originated from somewhere within the Aegean/Mycenaean world, which by the end of the Late Bronze Age, included the Greek mainland, the Aegean islands, Crete, Cyprus, coastal Asia Minor and Cilicia; and that they had settled in southern coastal Canaan, as archaeology and the Hebrew Bible abundantly demonstrate”.86 Woudhuizen has a revealing chart in his dissertation titled “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, clearly representing the Egyptian hieroglyphic names of the Sea Peoples and their transliteration” (see figure 1).87 Given all of the physical epigraphical evidence and the common stories of plunder and migration associated with the previously named tribes, why do we care? As historians, we try to reconstruct paths through a foggy and dense sea we call history. This history was chaotic and in ruins.

Maspero, a professor at the College of France in the year 1881, coined the term “peoples de la mer” for these tribes about whom we have been talking, which translates into the English People of the Sea or Sea Peoples.88 We can trace back further the study of these tribes- to Champollion who was the first scholar to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.89 His book Grammaire egyptienne of 1836 linked the Peleset tribe with the biblical Philistines,90 though he was not the first to think of this. In 1747, Fourmont was the first to connect the Peleset with the Pelasgians of Greece, and Chabas picked up this equation.91 Biblical sources say the Peleset originated in (Camphor) Crete.92 Bonfante, in 1946 and Mertens in Chronique d'Egypte of 1960, assume the Peleset as Illyrians who migrated to the Levant via Crete.93

De Rouge in the Revue Archeologique used phonetic similarity or “Gleichklang” to trace the tribes on the walls of Karnak “with names of known Mediterranean peoples or locations”94. De Rouge then added the Teresh, equated “with the Tyrrhenians or Etruscans, the Shekelesh with the Sicels, and the Sherden with the Sardinians,” bringing the Sea Peoples out of Asia Minor and into the central Mediterranean.95 Chabas in 1872 drew a link between the Tjeker and the Teukroi of the Troas, the Denye(n) with the Daunians, and the Weshesh with the Oscans again pointing to Italy instead of Asia Minor.

Maspero, in 1910, thought that the homeland of the Sea Peoples should be restricted to western Anatolia and mainland Greece.96 Then a heated controversy among scholars began. Maspero believed Herodotus’ when he put the origin of the Tyrrhenians in Lydia (Histories 1.94).97 He suggests that the Sea Peoples migrated to the central Mediterranean after their defeat in Egypt.98 Perhaps they got away from the pharaoh. Maspero concludes that just the Philistine tribe turned east and made a settlement in Canaan.99 The controversy has continued, with some modern scholars accepting Maspero’s hypothesis and others trying to refute it.

Hall writing for the Cambridge Ancient History in 1926, places the Sea Peoples’ route from Asia Minor as stopping in Crete.100 Gardiner in 1947 sided with Hall in his assessment that the Peleset were not from Crete, but used it as a port when traveling to the Levant.101

Kimmig in his paper in the Festschrift Tackenberg, 1964 connected the Urnfield peoples of Europe with the Sea peoples.102 Kimmig explains the cause of the migrating Sea Peoples was an invasion of these Urnfielders into Greece setting off a domino effect.103

Barnett, writing for the 3rd edition of the Cambridge Ancient History in 1969 and 1975, identifies the Sea People according to similar sounding people and places and agrees with Maspero’s thesis.104 Both place Lydia as an original home for the Teresh, and the Shekelesh have migrated to Sicily. He agreed that the Sherden are from Cyprus, and that they leave there to sail to Sardinia.105 They equate the Peleset with the Philistines who colonized the Canaanite cities of Gaza, Askelon, Asdod, and Dor via Crete.106 Barnett brings out the point that the famine relayed by Herodotus in his Histories (1.94), was the cause of the Lydian migration to Etruria.107

Stadelmann writing in Saeculum hypothesizes the Phrygians, started from the Balkans area, and then crossed the Anatolian plateau while destroying the Hittite Empire during the late Bronze Age.108 He adds that the Philistines allied with the Phrygians in crossing from the Balkans to Asia Minor, and then they continued trying to dominate the Levant and Egypt stopping at Crete then Cyprus.”109 Stadelmann also concluded that the Sherden, Shekelesh, and Teresh traveled on to the central Mediterranean trying to colonize Sicily, Sardinia and central Italy, from where they still traded with their allies staying in the Levant until the Phoenicians came to dominate.110

Lehmann and Woudhuizen conclude they have inferred the cause “from the distribution map of groups of the Sea Peoples in the central and eastern Mediterranean”. These maps can be found in Die mykenisch-fruhgriechische Welt und the accompanying text (pp.43-49) they both considered the Adriatic as the source of trouble for the wider Mediterranean. Tribes here could have been pushed by things happening der ostliche Mittelmeerranum in der Zeit der ‘Seevölker’-Invasionen um 1200 v. Chr. of 1985 (p.47) and in the Danubian area.111

Nibbi wrote in 1969, The Tyrrhenians and later The Sea Peoples and Egypt in 1975 and views “the Sea Peoples as Asiatics living in the Nile delta”.112 The next year 1976 Strobel strongly suggests a drought playing part in the cause of the migrations.113

Two years later in 1978 the scholarly hunt goes on with Sandars’ book, The Sea peoples, Warriors of the ancient Mediterranean 1250-1150 BC, where she talks of system collapse as well as attacks near the borders.114

Then four years later, Schachermeyr wrote in 1982 and followed some of the Sea Peoples back to the Adriatic, especially Illyria, where the Sherden and Shekelesh are thought to have migrated to the Levant by ship, pushing the Mycenaean Greeks along the route, and the Tjeker and Peleset to have infiltrated by land, overturning the Hittite Empire.115

That same year, in 1982 Dothan studied the Philistines and the archaeology of Palestine.116 1983 brought more analysis and Holbl pointed out two phases of migration of the Sea Peoples infiltration.117 First, a strictly military one at the time of Merneptah in which the groups of the Sea Peoples mentioned act as mercenaries or auxiliaries to the Libyan king Meryre (=Meryey)-who himself takes with him his wife and children with the obvious intent of settling in the Egyptian delta. Secondly a migratory one at the time of Ramesses III in which at least some of the groups of the Sea Peoples mentioned have decided to settle in the Egyptian delta as evidenced by the fact that they take with them their wives and children in oxcarts.118 This thesis explores possible answers as to why they left where they were.

Vanschoonwinkel in his L’Egee et la Mediterranee orientale a la fin du II millenaire written in 1991 views violent earthquakes as a cause of the catastrophe.119

Drews places the cause of the catastrophe in the change from chariot warfare to “a new style of infantry with round shields, slashing swords, metal greaves, and javelins”.120 The Sherden tribe was known to be mercenaries good at fighting. The strength of the Sea Peoples lies in their naval power and with that they could raid and conquer.121 Drews holds an “anti-migratory view” disputing that the Sea People “were ever a cohesive group”.122

In 2000 Oren collected papers and published them as “The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment” where Wachsmann agrees with Kimmig in that the Urnfield culture is connected to the Sea Peoples by way of their ship ornaments.123 Again the puzzle of the Sea Peoples catches scholar’s attention. During 2001, Barako presented his thesis to Harvard University on the Seaborne Migration of the Philistines; he also proposes a land route which will discuss later in chapter five. In 2003 Cline and O’Connor wrote an article in the book Mysterious Lands with an appendix for translations of the epigraphical evidence on the Sea Peoples. The most recent publications in English include a thesis by Woudhuizen, of Erasmus University, entitled The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples which came out in 2006. Birney presented her dissertation to Harvard University in 2007 titled Sea Peoples or Syrian Peddlers? The Late Bronze –Iron I Aegean presence in Syria and Cilicia, an important study. Many of these English language authorities will be reviewed in this thesis in order to determine an answer to what led to the migration of the Sea Peoples. There has been much study on the different proposed ethnicities of the conglomerated tribes of the Sea Peoples. This was followed by many heated discussions by respected scholars. This paper does not want to join the discussion but simply state the chronological opinions up to date. Now we turn to the most popular names of the tribes.
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Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:11 am

CHAPTER 3: The Confederation of Lands and Tribes United to Form the Sea Peoples Front.

The debate has settled somewhat and most scholars agree that the Sea Peoples hailed from Asia Minor, the Aegean, the Balkans, and Cyprus.124 In Merneptah’s text, these are noted as “foreign lands of the sea”125 which includes the following tribes: Shardana, Shekelesh, and Eqwosh.126 They are also referred to as “northerners who came from every land”.127 This would encompass the Teresh, Lukki, and the previously mentioned Shardana, Shekelesh, and Eqwosh. Ramesses III calls them “foreign countries (who) made a conspiracy in their isles”128 and also “northern countries who were in their isles”129; or even “the countries who came from their land in the isles in the midst of the sea”.130 Hence the name coined for them, Sea Peoples which aptly describes their surroundings.

Another source, the Papyrus Harris places the Danuna “in their isles” and the Shardana as well as the Washosh “of the sea”.131 Therefore, we can assume that the so called Sea Peoples are mariners and live on a coastline. Birney in her dissertation indicates that their “area is taken by most scholars (and archaeologically supported) to indicate the broader region of western and south western Anatolia, the Dodecanese and Rhodes”.132 Most prior theories are based on linguistics and similar sounding place names to title which the Sea Peoples have been called by the Egyptians, Hittites, and Ugaritans. Birney stresses in her Harvard University dissertation that “the Sea Peoples are not a homogeneous group”.133 She places them as the beginning of a wave of peoples from Asia Minor and the Aegean islands migrating into the Levant.134 Their actions set in motion:

a snowball effect in that whatever the ethnic composition of the Sea Peoples when they began their campaign they likely accrued new members… taking them up as they passed, or displacing others who perhaps later followed in their wake… a ripple effect is observable in the cascade of new settlements and shifting populations.135

Let us start with the Shardana.

We find the Shardana first in the Amarna Letters. They are fighting on the Egyptian side and are stationed at Byblos.136 A home-land is not clearly given. Another source, the Papyrus Harris tells us what happened to them after they are defeated by Ramesses III. It states that the “Shardana (and the Washosh) were brought as captives to Egypt, that Ramesses ‘settled them in strongholds bound in my [Ramesses III] name, and that he ‘taxed them all, in clothing and grain from the storehouses and granaries each year’”.137 Another source, the Onomasticon of Amenemope also referred to as “Wen- Amon’s story” lists the Shardana as one of the peoples ruling the [northern] coast [of the Levant].138 Birney relates that this is the region of Akko.139 In the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Leahy tells us that the “Sherden are recorded as settled in Middle Egypt in the land survey from the reign of Ramesses V recorded in the Welbour Papyrus”. hey had most likely been rewarded for their mercenary activity for the Pharaoh and were rewarded with land and Egyptian wives therefore taking on Egyptian ways and assimilating into their culture.140 Some scholars including Egyptologists emphasize the similarity in the words Shardana and Sardinia.141 They could have colonized here at any point, but, as Cline and O’Connor point out, there is not at this time any evidence for this settlement unless you count the Bronze Age ruins found on the island of Sardinia in the form of nuraghi (circular stone structures).142 Zertal connects these ruins with similar ones found in El-Ahwat, Israel that are connected to the Iron Age.143

Next we will investigate the Shekelesh ethnic group. In Egyptian it is spelled skls who may, according to Cline and O’Connor, be the “Sikilayu who live in ships”, found in a letter from the Hittite king to the last king of Ugarit.144 Sandars reminds us that a people known as the Sikels were found by the Greeks living in Sicily after the Trojan War, i.e., in the eighth century.145 Maspero’s Anatolian thesis connects them with Asia Minor and the town of Sagalassos.146 Though Woudhuizen doubts this because Suppiluliumas II of the Hittites, rules western Asia Minor around that time and does not talk of the Shekelesh. Therefore, he prefers Stadelmann’s assumption that the Sherden, Shekelesh, and Teresh sailed across the Mediterranean to colonize Sardinia, Sicily, and central Italy where he suggests they kept trading with their allies in the Levant.147 Some Egyptologists connect the Shekelesh with Sicily as well.148 In contrast Stern, the director of the excavation of the Tel of Dor, equates the Sikils with Tel Dor instead of the Tjekru. The Wen-Amon story tells us in a later time period, Beder the prince of Dor was a Sikil, and after leaving, Wen-Amon sees eleven ships belonging to the Sikils following him.149 Stern also believes that the Sikils occupied the northern Sharon plain, where the Sherden settled the Acre valley”.150 Nibbi tells us they are from Canaan.151 Inhabitant’s of Ascalon a city that has historically been aggressive towards Egypt.152 The Old Testament tells us that Ascalon later had Philistines living there. This evidence points towards Ascalon being an important area, since more than one Sea People “tribe” has called it home.

Next we will investigate the Eqwosh ethnic group. They are equated by some with the Washosh, or Weshesh. These have been connected with Carian Wassos people or the Cretan Waksioi by Hall. Wachsmann connects their boats, on account of the birdheaded bow and stern, to the Urnfield culture.153 Woudhuizen identifies them with the Oscans. He connects his invasion of Italy by bearers of the European Urnfield culture with the stirring up of people in that region and views them as a prime mover of the upheavals of the Sea Peoples. This domino effect started mass migrations. Woudhuizen points out that the pictographs of Sea People ships with protruding bird-head devices at both the bow and the stern are of a typically Urnfield type. Thus for him, the spread of handmade barbarian ware of proto-Villanovan Italian or European Urnfield backgrounds, and the growing popularity of the rite of cremation during and after the catastrophic, Late Bronze Age events may be attributed to the influence of Oscan participants.154 In his study of the papyrus, Harris states about the Weshesh (W’-s-s) [and the Sherden] of the sea, that “they were made as those that exist not, taken captive at one time, brought as captives to Egypt.”155 Then the Pharaoh proceeds to gloat “I settled them in strongholds, bound in my name, [and] numerous were their classes like hundred- thousands.”156 This notice helps to explain where these ethnic groups were settled and what happened to them after their attack on Egypt.

The Teresh (Egyptian Trs)-are first heard of in Merneptah’s inscriptions at Karnak and his Athribis (Kom el Ahmar) stela.157 Sandars points out that the Hittites had a Taruisha, in northern Assuwa. They have also been settled near the future area Lydia, in central western Anatolia. Herodotus places them near Tyrrhenian land. Sandars connects the Teresh-Taruisha-Tyrsenoi and the Etruscans.158 Unfortunately there are no archaeological remains that are clearly labeled Tereshian.159 Some Egyptologists place the Tursha within Tyrsenia or Tyrrhenia being the coasts of Italy.160

The piratical Lk deserves our attention next. Scholars have come to believe that they originated in Lycia, as well as in Caria which is also located in Anatolia.161 At that time, the Amarna letters are the main evidence of their existence. Unfortunately we have not found any Lukki remains yet.162 Bryce concludes that Lukka territory should be included to the coast west of Tarhuntassa, Greek Lycia.163 It is well known that Homer identifies the Lycians geographically with the valley of the Xanthos River in Anatolia.164 Woudhuizen argues that the main area of Lukka refers only to the lower Xanthos valley including Patara, Awarna, Pinata, and Talawa; compared to the Lukka hunting lands that include walking to the north, east, and west of settlement Lukka.165 Drews generalizes that Egyptologists place the Lukka within Lycia.166

The Meshwesh tribe, another supposed Sea People group, was allied with the Libyans and was according to Drews “often identified with the area around Tunis, [North Africa] where Herodotus locates people whom he calls Maxyes”.167

Libyans are often talked of as invading the Egyptian Delta. There were many invasions of Egypt one in 1220 BC, Merneptah’s reign, known as the Libyan war; and again in 1189BC, and again in 1183BC, both in Ramesses III’s reign.168 They originally were from the central Balkans and migrated at some point in the past to become Libyans in Africa, flanking Egypt’s western border.169 When invading Egypt the whole family came with the warriors, along with their possession, with an intention to settle. This was no ordinary war.

The Tjekker are known as from the Wen-Amun story to have controlled the town of Dor, in the Levant.170 They are known as pirates here as well. In 1872, Chabas connected them with north western Asia Minor and the Teukroi settled there. Later Sandars writing concurred.171

The notable of the Sea Peoples are the Philistines, known to the Egyptians as the Peleset. Champollion noted and connected them after he deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics. They are first talked about in the reign of Ramesses III when they attacked in both the fifth and eighth year of his reign. Drews describes Chabas’ theory of 1872: that Peleset were Pelasgians in the Aegean Sea region and after migrating for a long time, they were pushed back from Egypt and were settled in the Levant to become known as the Philistines.172 Strange thinks that they were most likely settled in the Levantine city-states as Egyptian garrisons keeping down any Palestinian uprising.173 Then, as I have said before, the Egyptian power waned in the Levant. Nibbi accepts them as the ancient Peleset (PRST or PLST) living in Ascalon.174 Woudhuizen calls them new settlers to the Levant. They started a pentapolis consisting of the towns or confederation of city-states being Ekron, Askelon, Gaza, Asdod, and Gath (at the time of the upheavals of the Sea Peoples).175 Strange places their territory between Gaza in the south to Ekron and Ashdod in the north while the eastern boarder was Gath.176 The Old Testament states that the Philistines came from Caphtor (Amos 9:7).177 The path is followed when “as for the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, The Caphtorim [Philistines, Peleset], who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and settled in their stead (Deuteronomy 2:23).178 The Papyrus Harris tells of the Peleset settled by Ramesses III as vassals. After being settled in Palestine, the Philistines were in a position of power holding military superiority over the Canaanites which was owed to their hold on resources and iron production in the Levant the bible informs us (I Samuel 13, 19- 3).179 The Old Testament continues (Jeremiah 47:2-5) to describe “the day that is coming to destroy all the Philistines” and talks of what we would call a tsunami: “Behold, waters are rising out of the north and shall become an overflowing torrent; they shall overflow the land and all that fills it, the city and those who dwell in it” (Jeremiah 47:2).180 The Old Testament describes “for the LORD is destroying the Philistines, the remnant of the coastland of Caphtor; baldness has come upon Gaza, Ash’kelon has perished” (Jeremiah 47:4-5).181 This puts the onus of the Philistines demise at the hands of the LORD. In fact some Philistines must have escaped to continue their people on the coast, told of in the oracles of prophets during the 7th and 6th century BC. 182

The Danuna, Denye(n) or Danaoi are different spellings of another tribe thought to be the Sea Peoples. Yadin tells us the Tribe of Dan had been nomadic, though some make a camp at Mahaneh Dan. The tribes migrate with their women and children like the Libyans, armed for protection. An enemy, the Amorites, forced the children towards the hill country and out of the valley (Judges I, 34-35). Camps were made in Zorah and Eshtaol and the Danites wished to settle, they scouted a safe looking place known as Laish so they took it and named it Dan.183 The tribe of Dan is known in the bible extensively. Woudhuizen thinks the Denye(n) hail from Tel Qasile and have Mycenaean forefathers.184 Woudhuizen further specifies their territory as Joppa thus placing them between Asdod in the south and Dor in the north. They then conquered Zora and Eshtaol continuing onto Laish.185

This confederation of tribes did settle separately in the Levant. The Peleset thought of as Philistines settled Askelon, Asdod, Gaza, Ekron, and Gath, their pentapolis. The Tjeker thought to be Teukroi settling and ruling Dor. The Sherden maybe Sardinians, found in Akko. The Denye(n) or Dan inherit Joppa and take over Laish. In Hamath, we find the culture of European Urnfielders some identify with the Weshesh or Oscans. Ekwesh also connected to Akhaians settle in the Cilician plain.186 While trying to find the first stirrings of interest in other lands for the Sea Peoples Nibbi relates that people called Asiatics, low born and domesticated were placed in Egypt from 2050-1786 BC. Their livelihood was animal husbandry, and shepherding, they imported the animals from Syria and Palestine. Craftsmanship in bronze and lapis lazuli is brought to Egypt during this period.187 “During the eighteenth dynasty, the number of workers and slaves from the northern countries” multiplied exponentially.188

Asiatic artisans brought their skill of metalwork and stone working to Egypt, and, during the eighteenth dynasty an influx of people began to migrate to Egypt for work and a better life. Word probably spread back to a homeland that was lacking in some way. Hayes tells us in the Cambridge Ancient History vol. II, that Egypt’s “exploitation of such natural resources as the mines of Nubia and the eastern desert made Egypt in gold alone the richest nation on earth”.189 Nibbi further explains that a large annual tribute was indebted to Egypt by pharaoh’s vassals.190 As we follow this spread of power the fact that tribute was being demanded and threatened is significant, resentment must have abound. 191 Nibbi reminds us that we have records of Libyan people paying tribute starting at the first dynasty.192 This display of wealth by the Egyptians and the unfolding picture of opportunity that is being seen by the different Sea Peoples (as mercenaries or artesans) is of a better life. Nibbi reminds us that Asiatic Bedouins have been shepherding their flocks with permission in the Eastern Delta for a while. 193

In the Amarna Letter Rib-addi, governor of Byblos writes to Egypt of his enemies uniting with the Gaz people, known to be refugees and outlaws. He talks of an enemy leader named Abdi-Ashirta who “all lands unite with the Sa. Gaz people”…and his sons whom the “whole land belongs… have now entered Amurra”.194 This is where we start to see rebellion and the uniting of different people. Again the Amarna Letters are the first source to speak of the uniting of Egypt’s enemies geographically to the north. It is a starting point of action based on the coveting of Egyptian wealth and Egypt’s diminishing power in the Levant. Nibbi observes that many city-states such as Ascalon, Lachish and Gezer had allied with the Sa. Gaz refugees and outlaws. These people controlled the metal resources and they were all up in arms rebelling against Egyptian dominion.195 She further classifies the Sea People in that one group of them the Tyrrhenians are a conglomeration of tribes who sailed together with the purpose of survival and dominance.196

Here we see metal resources taken by outlaws. Its importance known by all and its value given to whoever dominates. We are reminded that Egypt received copper from the mines of the Sinai Peninsula. During ancient times Asiatics worked as slaves in these mines.197 Nibbi lets us know that artesans were taught to manipulate copper and iron within Hittite territory.198 She continues to tell us that there were ancient copper and bronze centers in the Levant and that “copper production in Egypt by the time of Ramesses III (1198-1166 BC) reached enormous proportions” due to the reference in the Papyrus Harris of “large quantities of copper work”.199 From the Old Testament we get a clear view that the Philistines, a tribe in the confederation of Sea Peoples, were expert metal smiths and guarded their secrets to deter the enemy from amassing more weapons than themselves. Peter Machinist explains that they “controlled the metallurgical expertise…[and] hint[s] at special weaponry on the Philistine side”.200 This would explain why the Sherden were welcomed into the Egyptian army and fought for Egypt as mercinaries for a period of time. Strange adds to this “summing up, the Philistine cities were all solidly fortified [and] there is also some evidence that the Philistines initially enjoyed superior knowledge of metal-working, which would have given them a military advantage.”201 This explains their gravitation towards the areas of the known world with metal resource deposits. This conglomeration of different ethnic groups combined their manpower to be stronger in attaining their goal of dominance in the coveted lands.



1 A. Leahy, “Sea Peoples”, in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, ed. Donald Redford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 257.
2 Leahy, Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 257.
3 James F.K. Hewitt, The Ruling Races of Prehistoric Times in India, South Western Asia, and Southern
Europe, vol.1 (Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company, 1894), x.
4 Leahy, Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 259.
5 Leahy, Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 259.
6 Leahy, Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 260.
7 Tristan Barako, “One if by Sea…Two if by Land: How Did the Philistines Get to Canaan? Part One: by Sea,” BAR:29:02 (Mar/April 2003), under “Sea Peoples,” ... bPrintPage (accessed October 13, 2008).
8 R. Cohen and R. Westbrook, Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations (Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 6-8.
9 Cohen and Westbrook, Amarna Diplomacy, 6-8.
10 Cohen and Westbrook, Amarna Diplomacy, 6-8.
11 Cohen and Westbrook, Amarna Diplomacy, 6-8.
12 Cohen and Westbrook, Amarna Diplomacy, 6-8.
13 W. Moran, The Amarna Letters (Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), xxxix.
14 Lorenz,”The Amarna Letters”,under “Sea Peoples on the web,” (accessed September 14, 2008)
15 Lorenz,”The Amarna Letters”, under “Sea Peoples on the web,” (accessed September 14, 2008)
16 Moran, The Amarna Letters, EA 81, 150-151.
17 F.C. Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples’ ” (PhD diss. Erasmus University. Rotterdam, 2006), 35. .
18 Lorenz,”The Amarna Letters”, (accessed September 14, 2008)
19 Moran, The Amarna Letters, EA 151, 238-239.
20 Moran, The Amarna Letters, EA 151, 238-239.
21 Moran, The Amarna Letters, EA 151, 238-239.
22 Lorenz,”The Amarna Letters”, (accessed September 14, 2008)
23 Moran, The Amarna Letters, 111.
24 Lorenz,”The Amarna Letters”, (accessed September 14, 2008)
25 Lorenz,”The Amarna Letters”, (accessed September 14, 2008)
26 James H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt: The Nineteenth Dynasty, vol.3 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1906, 2001), 240-252.
27 Leahy, Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 259.
28 Leahy, Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 259.
29 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (574) 241.
30 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (579) 243.
31 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (580) 243.
32 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (577) 242.
33 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (580) 244.
34 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (587), 247.
35 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol.3, (587-589) 247-251.
36 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol.3, (572) 240.
37 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (572) 238.
38 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (570-571) 239-240.
39 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (593) 252-253.
40 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (593) 253.
41 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (595), 253.
42 E.H. Cline, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’” in Mysterious Lands, eds. D. O’Connor and S. Quirke, (London: UCL Press, 2003), 135.
43 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (596), 253.
44 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (596), 253.
45 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (598), 254.
46 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (600), 255.
47 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (588,601) 255,249.
48 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (602), 256-264.
49 James Bennet Pritchard, ed. The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, trans. W. F. Albright (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 376.
50 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (603) 257.
51 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (603) 257.
52 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (604) 258.
53 Refers to Ramses III’s eighth year against Sea-Peoples (IV, 66,1. 23).
54 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (604) 258.
55 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (608) 260.
56 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (608) 260.
57 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 3, (610-611) 260-261.
58 R.D. Barnett, “The Sea Peoples”, in The Cambridge Ancient History vol. II, part 2, eds. I.E.S. Edwards, C.J. Gadd, N.J.L Hammond, E. Sollberger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 359-363.
59 Barnett, “The Sea Peoples”, CAH, vol.2, part 2: 360.
60 Barnett, “The Sea Peoples”, CAH, vol.2, part 2:360-361.
61 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 136.
62 Cline and O’Connor , “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 136.
63 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 137.
64 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 137.
65 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 137.
66 Cline and O’Connor , “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 137.
67 N.K. Sandars, The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean 1250-1150 BC (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1978), 133.
68 Sandars, The Sea Peoples, 133.
69 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 138.
70 Leahy, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 259.
71 William K. Simpson, “Onomastica”, in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, ed. Donald Redford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 605.
72 Simpson, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 605.
73 Cline and O’Connor , “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 138.
74 F.C. Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples” (PhD diss. Erasmus University. Rotterdam, 2006), 54.;http:// ... 339136379/ (accessed September 2008)
75 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 138.
76 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’” Mysterious Lands, 138.
77 Cline and O’Connor , “The mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, Mysterious Lands, 138.
78 D.B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 246.
79 Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, 246.
80 Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, 246.
81 Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, 246.
82 Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, 246.
83 John Strange, “The Palestinian City-States of the Bronze Age,” in A Comparative Study of Thirty City- State Cultures, ed. Mogens Herman Hansen (Copenhagen: Det kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabo, 2000), 67-76.
84 John Strange, “The Palestinian City-States of the Bronze Age,” in A Comparative Study of Thirty City- State Cultures, ed. Mogens Herman Hansen (Copenhagen: Det kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabo, 2000), 67-76.
85 Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, 246.
86 Tristan Barako, “One if by Sea…Two if by Land: How Did the Philistines Get to Canaan? Part One: by Sea,” BAR:29:02 (Mar/April 2003), under “Sea Peoples,” ... bPrintPage (accessed October 13, 2008).
87 F.C. Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”(PhD diss. Erasmus University. Rotterdam, 2006), 36.;http:// ... 339136379/ (accessed September 2008).
88 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
89 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
90 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
91 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
92 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 37.
93 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 37.
94 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
95 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
96 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
97 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
98 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
99 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
100 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 37.
101 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 37.
102 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 37.
103 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 37.
104 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 38.
105 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 38.
106 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 38.
107 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 38.
108 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 38.
109 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 38.
110 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 38.
111 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 38.
112 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 39.
113 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 39.
114 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 39.
115 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
116 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
117 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
118 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
119 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
120 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
121 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
122 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
123 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 40.
124 John Strange, “The Philistine City-states,” in A Comparative Study of Thirty City State Cultures, ed. Mogens Herman Hansen (Copenhagen: Det Kongelige Danske Vindens Dabernes Selskab, 2000), 129-140.
125 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol.3, 249,255.
126 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111.
127 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111; citing Breasted, vol. 3, 241.
128 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111; citing Edgerton and Wilson, 53.
129 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111; citing Edgerton and Wilson, 41.
130 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111; citing Edgerton and Wilson, 42.
131 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111; citing Breasted, vol.4, 201.
132 Birney, “Sea People or Syrian Peddlers?” (PhD diss. Harvard University, 2007), 422.
133 Birney, “Sea People or Syrian peddlers?” (PhD diss. Harvard University, 2007), 53.
134 Birney, “Sea People or Syrian peddlers?” (PhD diss. Harvard University, 2007), 439.
135 Birney, “Sea People or Syrian peddlers?” (PhD diss. Harvard University, 2007), 439.
136 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111; citing Moran, 201-202.
137 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111; citing Breasted vol.4, 201; Sandars, 133.
138 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 111; citing Sandars, 133.
139 Birney, “Sea People or Syrian Peddlers?” (PhD diss. Harvard University, 2007), 425.
140 Leahy, “Sea Peoples”, in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 259.
141 Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, 49.
142 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 113.
143 Cline and O’Connor , “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 113.
144 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 113.
145Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 113; citing Sandars, 112-113.
146 G. Maspero, The Struggle of the Nations, ed. A.H. Sayce and Trans from the French by M.L. McClure (New York: D. Appleton and Co, 1897), 432, note 2.
147 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples,” 38.
148 Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, 49.
149 Ephraim Stern, “The Many Masters of Dor, Part 1: When Canaanites Became Phoenician Sailors, “BAR 19:01 (Jan/Feb 1993), under “Sea Peoples” ... A&Volume... (accessed October 9, 2008).
150 Ephraim Stern, “The Many Masters of Dor, Part 1: When Canaanites Became Phoenician Sailors, “BAR 19:01 (Jan/Feb 1993), under “Sea Peoples” ... A&Volume... (accessed October 9, 2008).
151 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 26.
152 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 24.
153 Shelley Wachsmann, “To the Sea of the Philistines”, in The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment, ed. Eliezer D. Oren (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2000), 122.
154 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 119.
155 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 4, 201.
156 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 4, 201.
157 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 113.
158 Sandars, The Sea Peoples, 112.
159 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 113.
160 Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, 49.
161Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 113
162 Cline and O’Connor, “The Mystery of the ‘Sea Peoples’”, 113
163 Trevor R. Bryce, “Lukka revisited” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 51, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), under “JSTOR” (accessed September 23, 2008).
164 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 57.
165 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 58.
166 Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, 49.
167 Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, 50.
168 Sandars, The Sea Peoples, 203.
169 Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, 57.
170 Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, 52.
171 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 35.
172 Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, 55.
173 Strange, “The Philistine City-states,” 136.
174 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 26.
175 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 95.
176 Strange, “The Philistine City-states,” 130.
177 9 Amos 7(Revised Standard Version).
178 2 Deuteronomy 23, (NSV).
179 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 96.
180 47 Jeremiah 2 (NSV).
181 47 Jeremiah 4-5 (NSV).
182 Strange, “The Philistine City-states,” 130.
183 Yigael Yadin, “And Dan, Why Did He Remain In Ships,” Australian Journal of Biblical Archaeology Vol. 1 (1968): 11-12.
184 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 74.
185 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples”, 78.
186 Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples,” 119.
187 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 3.
188 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 3.
189 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 4; citing: C.A.H., W.C. Hayes, Vol. II, IX, Part I, Section VI.
190 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 4.
191 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 4.
192 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 9.
193 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 9.
194 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 5.
195 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 6.
196 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 21.
197 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 7.
198 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 7.
199 Nibbi, The Tyrrhenians, 7-8.
200 Peter Machinist, “Biblical Traditions: The Philistines and Israelite History,” in The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment, ed. Eliezer D. Oren (Philadelphia: University Museum Publications, 2000), 58.
201 Strange, “The Philistine City-states”, 135.
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CHAPTER 4: Migration Routes As Seen Through Pottery and Archeology

As proof of this the Philistines introduced the krater to the Levant.202

Archaeological literature often dates objects and layers in excavated sites by archaeological period instead of giving a chronological age in years. The name of each archaeological period derives from the predominant technology or culture of the time, so that technological or political revolutions in the archaeological record are accompanied by a change in period name. The progression of archaeological periods in an area is determined by correlating excavation layers within one site and among sites within the region, until a relatively complete coverage is obtained back through time. Rather than establishing an absolute calendar date for an object or event, an archaeologist determines a relative date, bracketing the object in time between other objects or events already catalogued.203

We have been focusing on the Late Bronze Age LB II- 1400 to 1200 BC continuing on to Iron I-1200 to 1000 BC. Birney addresses the difficulties of this type of archaeological argument in her statement one of the limits in conducting a study of the Iron Age is the inconsistent use of terminology applied to describe the locally produced Mycenaean pottery in the various sites of the Levant and Cyprus.204

The definition of the Sea Peoples pottery Myc III: 1 and Myc IIIC:1b came from Furumark’s work at classifying LHIIIC pieces from sites in Greece. Furmark divided LHIIIC into two phases, an early phase (Mycenaean IIIC: 1), and a later phase which was Sub-Mycenaean. Further subdivisions Myc IIIC: 1a, b and c were started, each corresponding to specific levels at Mycenae.205 The specific origin of Myc IIIC:1b was shards of pottery found in the IX-X layer at Mycenae.206 Elsewhere in Cyprus, the same term Myc IIIC:1b was given to pottery found in LCIIA/LCIIIA post destruction strata at Sinda and Enkomi connected with Mycenaean culture.207 Further away in the Levant, Myc IIIC:1b characterized local pottery made of clay and copy imports. Birney specifies that Myc IIIC:1b in the Levant carries chronological and stylistic significance as well as the specific implication of the ethnic identity of the potters.208

This classification is also used by Dothan and Bunimowitz in describing early Philistine pottery from Ashdod, Tel-Miqne, and Ekron.209 It needs to be pointed out that most scholars agree that the LHIIIC wares are either made by craftsmen from Cyprus or locally produced in Cilicia.210 A specific pot, the FS284 deep bowl was found a lot in LHIIIB and IIIC layers across the Levant. It was locally imitated quite early in that period at Akko and Ugarit.211 This pot style seems to be a token of the Sea Peoples settlement.

Barako generalizes this movement as connoting a series of settlements characterized by the same, intrusive culture which forms a distinctive path or trail.212 In this discussion we will try to follow that trail, tracked by Barako, with its remains dug up by archaeologists. The Mycenaean-style IIIb-c pottery that we assign to Sea Peoples can be found in Cilicia and Syria as well as in the Levant in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age. Here pots are found with pieces of Aegean and Anatolian domestic items that can be shown as evidence for the arrival of immigrants.213 Through the trail of pottery found and through various destruction levels we can follow this intrusive Aegean culture with its cooking pots and weaving evidenced as Aegean style cooking jugs, band-handled cooking pots, and spool weights used by women, objects which define the household.214 Birney states that the evidence indicates that they were culturally influenced by the Aegean and Anatolia. Therefore, pointing out the significance of Mycenaean IIIC pottery as their indicator.215 Barako helpfully outlines:

Before the first systematic archaeological excavations in Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century, scholars generally agreed upon the following:

1. The Philistines and other Sea Peoples (among them the less famous Sikils, Shardana and Danoi) left their homelands en masse somewhere in the Aegean region.

2. They laid waste to most of the eastern Mediterranean region before they were defeated by Ramesses III at the Egyptian border.

3. They were garrisoned in Canaan either as prisoners of war or mercenaries.

4. After having grown sufficiently strong and numerous, they were able to extricate themselves from Egyptian authority and establish themselves in the southern coastal plain of Canaan.216

We can pick up their migration route in the ancient region Kode, known to us as Cilicia. From the inscription of Ramesses III we are told-- and the archaeology backs up this story--that “No land could stand before their arms, from Hatti, Kode, Carchemish, Arzawa, and Alashiya on; …In Amor [,] they desolated its people, and its land was like that which has never come into being”.217 According to archaeological remains Carchemish carried on inhabited. We are told an enemy of Ugarit was stationed in nearby Mukish, which was known as the Amuq region in the south before the destruction of Ugarit in 1185 B.C.218 The next city-state listed by Ramesses III is Arzawa. This is thought to be in Asia Minor. Alashiya, as we have said earlier, is identified with Cyprus.

The territory of Amor is known as Amurru, on the southern Syrian coast. Birney identifies it with the Tell Kazel, which was destroyed.219 The city of Hama is the only other Levantine city known to archaeologists to have been damaged during the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age.220 Archaeology tells us that Tarsus, in Cilicia was a settlement and branching-out point for the Sea Peoples.221 As a Hittite city it would have been targeted. Birney also marks Mersin and Kazanli as places where the Sea Peoples settled.222 Archaeological evidence shows that the Mycenaean-style pottery appeared across the Cilician plain and also at several sites on the coast located to the southwest of Tarsus named Tomuk Huyuk, Hudude Huyuk, and Soli.223 Birney sums up that the probable point of entry for this foreign population in Cilicia would appear to be by sea, either by the ‘beachheads’ established along the south eastern coast of Tarhuntassa and the southwestern coast of Kizzuwatna being Tomuk, Hudude Huyuk, Huyuk, or through Tarsus to the Cilician plain.224 In the Iron Age Mycenaean-style pottery is found here and shows that populations spread inland.225 It has been confirmed that the Cilician occupation predates Syrian settlement.226 This supports the theory that the Sea Peoples originated from Cilicia and Asia Minor.

As we trace the Sea Peoples to Syria we arrive at Ras Shamra, then Ras Ibn Hani, as well as Tell Kazel.227 Ras Shamra was the capital of Ugarit and this site has been excavated. Ras Ibn Hani has a Late Bronze Age palace that was destroyed and then occupied where nearby places had been abandoned.228 In Syria, the three major Amuq sites of Chatal Huyuk, Tell Ta’yinat, and Tell Judeideh all appear to be filled with an intrusive immigrant population. They exhibit markers typical of Aegean households. Such as Aegean style cooking pots, Mycenaean-style pottery, and weaving loomweights, as well as some elite markers categorized as psi figurines.229 These are things that would have been carried by the women and children who are shown in the pictorial inscription (at Medinet Habu) traveling in ox carts.

According to Birney Ain Dara and Tell Afis held Aegean settlers.230 The continuing spread of Mycenaean influence is from Amuqian spreading outwards into the Iron II levels.231 Birney sets the boundaries of Aegean influence in Tille Huyuk, with settlements to its south and west edges.232 Philistine pottery categorized as Mycenaean IIIC:1b has been found in abundance in the Philistine Pentapolis including Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron (known as Tel Miqne). Barako states it has clear precidence in the Aegean world.233 To give some background, Mycenaean IIIC:1b pottery dates c. 1175 BC in the Early Iron Age and imitates what are called fine wares from the Aegean region produced during the Late Bronze Age (c.1400-1200 BC).234 This generic type of pottery is known in Canaan only after the Philistines arrived.235 The Philistines would have had to transport those items necessary for the establishment of the settlements that they founded immediately upon their arrival as well as their families on the journey.236 This would explain the archaeological remains of loom weights, and cooking pots as well as wine containers that are used everyday domestically.

Ramesses III sets the scene with his description “they were coming forward toward Egypt, while the flame was prepared before them”.237 We were wondering about this remarkable flame. Was it the army of pyromaniacs that made the victims remember the flame? Or could it be what Irad Malkin brings out in Religion and Colonization in Ancient Greece (cited in Barako’s article) when he notes a religious policy that “in order to remain connected with Homer, (ancient Greek) colonizing parties brought with them a flame from the common hearth located inside the assembly hall of the mother city; this sacred flame was used to light the central hearth of the newly established colony.” For Barako there could have been a fire-bearer among early Mycenaean culture settlers.238

In mainland Greece also seen in Mycenae and Pylos, the hearth is a monumental circular feature, built in the center of the throne room and surrounded by four columns.239 Copying this, wealthier homes surrounding the palatial centers in Greece were also constructed with single large freestanding hearths in the center main room of the house, each surrounded by two or four circular or rectangular columns, found at LHsIII Argos, Lorakou and Midea.240 In other areas thought to have been tranversed by the Sea Peoples such as Cyprus, free standing hearths appeared in the LCIIIA layer at sites such as Maa- Palaekastro and Enkomi. These are found in places used for large gatherings in buildings and in public assembly halls.241 These hearths are accepted as a trail of the Sea Peoples on Cyprus.242 Following them to their land named Philistia, monumental hearths were recognized in cultic settings at Tell Qasile, Ashdod and at Tel-Miqne. 243

We can follow a trail of broken pots left by the remnants of the Sea People and see where they settled even if only for a short time. More long-term evidence has been found with their hearths discovered in homes and public gathering halls. Let us move on to another assessment of the roads and paths they may have taken out of Asia Minor and into Syria and the Levant.
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Chapter 5: How Did They Travel?

It has been debated by Barako and Yasur-Landau whether the Philistines got to Canaan by sea or by land. Their articles appeared in Biblical Archaeological Review in March/April of 2003. Then Barako went on to write a thesis entitled The Seaborne Migration of the Philistines, going into detail weighing the possibilities of both a sea and land migration route. The Egyptians show both modes of attacks in their Medinet Habu reliefs. The invaders’ name alone implies traversing water, as well as various groups of them being known as pirates to the Hittites, and of course, living on ships. Two Bronze Age ships have been found by underwater archaeologists in recent years containing ox ingots of the metals useful to these people. The modern findings of the Uluburun and Cape Gelidonya shipwrecks are physical proof of Bronze Age shipping traffic.

Instead, the pictorial representations of women and children in ox drawn carts, can point towards a land migration. It is thought that the Philistines were a mix of peoples from various areas and their migration occurred in waves, rolling through many regions.244 A route later known to the Roman world as the Via Maris had seen a lot of traffic in the ancient world. It was the coastal road thru the Levant.245

Asia Minor’s western coast has been proposed by many scholars as the homeland for the Sea peoples. These Lukka and Arzawa Lands have a coastline that is serpentine and mountainous, making overland travel hazardous and difficult according to Barako.246 He tells us that throughout antiquity:

There were no major land routes along the coast between Miletus and Antalya. In order to travel eastward from the area of Miletus, it is necessary to follow an inland route along the Meander River Valley until linking up with the great eastwest road across the Anatolian Plateau. This route passed through Pisidia in the area of the Lake District, then went past the southern end of the central Salt La ke (=Tuz Golu), and, finally, turned south following the Calycadnos Valley into the Cilician Plain. The route roughly corresponds to the later Persian Royal Road; however, it was undoubtedly used in earlier times. The journey from Miletus to Tarsus along this route is approximately 820km in length and covers mostly mountainous terrain.247

While crossing the Cilician Plain, east-west overland travel in antiquity went inland because of the swampy terrain near the coast created by the merging of the Tarsus Cay, Seyhan, and Ceyhan Rivers into the Mediterranean Sea.248 In Adana the main road crosses the Seyhan River to Osmaniye and Mycenaean pottery was found in many sites.249 Following the trail, “the main route then turned southward and ran along the coast until Alexandretta (=Iskenderun), where at the Beilan Pass it goes into the ‘Amuq plain”.250 Barako continues to explain that this inland route goes around the Amanus massif, where cliffs drop off at the sea stopping anymore overland travel along the coast.251 In describing the Beilan Pass: It crosses an extension of the Amanus mountain Range known today as Kizil Dag and opens into the ‘Amuq Plain, a fertile valley that parallels the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In the Late Bronze Age, Alalakh now known as Tell Achtana, was the capital of the province of Mukhish, dominating the ‘Amuq Plain. Ancient Alalakh is found at the southern end of the plain, beside the opening of the Orontes River and 100 km south of the Beilan Pass. Although the best north–south route from the Beilan Pass is through the southern’Amuq Plain, it would have gone around Alalakh to the west. Therefore with trade in mind it seems that the main road used in antiquity circled around what we call the Lake of Antioch, thereby passing directly through Alalakh.252

Alalakh was supposedly destroyed by the Sea Peoples, but was in decline prior to that destruction.253 Birney mentions many of these sites as having archaeological remains in form of Tell’s (see my chapter 6). Traveling south from the Amuq Plain they had a choice of two routes:

1. Follows the Orontes River in a southwesterly direction back towards the coast.

2. Continues inland heading due south also along the Orontes. [This route] avoid[s] the Cassius Massif (=Jebel al-Aqra’ and LB Hazzi/Sapuna), which presents [an] obstacle…254

Barako continues to outline the route: 40 km south of Alalakh, the Nahr al-Kabir which was ancient Rahbanu there is a pass between the Jebel al-Aqra and the Jebel Ansariyyah. Further ahead lay the coast and the kingdom of Ugarit.255 These geographical explanations of the land routes from Asia Minor to Syria and the Levant are important in showing the obstacles the Sea Peoples would have encountered in traveling by land.

Upon reaching the diminishing kingdom of Ugarit, we can look back to the Ugarit letters shown in my chapter 1 as being epigraphical proof of the presence of the ships of the Sea Peoples. Ugarit was losing power and the Sea People had rushed into the power vacuum that opened and are reputed to have attacked Ugarit. The king of Ugarit, Hammurabi tells another king, “They have been setting fire to my [Ugaritic] cities and have done harm to the land.”256 This may suggest a two-pronged attack as many scholars have concluded. At the northern outpost of Ugarit lies Ras el-Bassit that is thought to be the Late Bronze Age Simuru, or Himulli, or classical period city-state Poseideion.257 Paul Courbin, the archaeologist, tells us the site was evacuated and abandoned then set on fire before arrival of the Sea Peoples.258 This pattern of events appears repeatedly and has been blamed on the invading Sea Peoples.

At Ras Shamra we can see a clear destruction level examined. It has been dated between 1195-1185 BC.259 The Early Iron Age layer found Mycenaean IIIC: 1b pottery generally carried by the Sea Peoples. Continuing their trail, between the kingdoms of Ugarit and Siyannu is Tell Sukas now called Suksu which ended in partial destruction; this destruction is blamed on the Sea Peoples.260 Barako concludes the probable overland route taken by migrating Sea Peoples through Syria would follow along the coast.261 Of those sites already excavated, almost all have layers of destruction dated to around 1200BC. This was the proposed time of the wave of the Sea Peoples migration.262

The origin of this material culture of these invaders is to be found in the Aegean/Mycenaean world.263 For any group to travel from Greece or any islands in the Mediterranean they must have used ships to traverse the water. Barako thinks it is quicker and more logical to travel by sea.264 In this Settlement pattern pointed out by Barako only Tarsus, Ras Ibn Hani, Akko, Dor, Qasile, Ashdod, Tel Miqne, and Ashlelon have shown significant evidence for a Sea Peoples domestic presence.265 The farthest away from the sea, is Tarsus at 16 km away, on the Cydnus River. Ras Ibn Hani has bays on both its left and right. Akko is only 700m off the sea near the Na’aman River and has a couple of bays. Dor has a quay as well as lagoons and bays. Quasile is only 2km in and 200m from the Yarkon River. Ashdod is 4km inland from the sea. Ashkelon is on the sea. Therefore Barako concludes all sites can be accessible by sea, and most can harbor safe anchorages, except Tel Miqne which isn’t accessible to water.266 The “Naval Battle” carvings at Medinet Habu show that these invaders arrived in Egypt inside boats or ships. Larger ships were used frequently for eastern Mediterranean trade and transport. For Barako, it is possible to suggest that the oxen and carts of the Philistines carved at Medinet Habu and discussed immensely by scholars were carried as cargo on their ships.267 There is enough room in these ships to hold the carts or even the wood from which they were made in raw material form. Barako thinks that the Philistines could have built those carts once they arrived in Canaan and proceeded overland from there to invade the eastern Delta of Egypt268 The Ulubrun shipwreck, recently found, had as much as 15 tons of preserved cargo.269 These ships could have carried a migrating population. Ships could have used the summer sailing wind from the Aegean mainland, or Asia Minor to sail to the Levant or Egypt.270 To sail from Egypt or the Levant back, they would have had to use the southerly land breezes along the coast from Egypt to Asia Minor and then island-hopped around the Aegean.271 One of the raids on Egypt was dated to April, which would have been at the beginning of the sailing season. Barako concludes that “5,000 people (100 ships x 50 passengers) and their supplies” could have been taken across the Mediterranean in a sailing season; this migration came in waves and was an ongoing process for years.272

To conclude it is feasible that these ancient emigrants could have traveled by land or by sea and arrived in the Levant or Egypt. Barako has argued that both were possible. Both modes of travel are found in the Egyptian evidence. Ships are depicted as well as ox carts carrying their household and supplies. What we are interested in now is why any of these tribes would have wanted to leave an established homeland.
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Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:13 am

Chapter 6: Why Did They Leave Their Homeland?

“An incontrovertible fact about the Mediterranean region today [is that] from Egypt to Israel, and from Turkey to Greece to Italy, ruined cities and shattered buildings litter the Mediterranean countryside,” according to Nur and Burgess.273 They continue to question “why are so many of the ancient buildings and monuments in ruins?” Why were they left desolate and abandoned? What toppled the Cyclopean masonry? The scattered ruins of the ancient world may be blamed on the intensity of previous earthquakes.274 So what defines the intensity of an earthquake? The definition of intensity, according to Nur and Burgess is the catalogued amount of damaged the jolting causes to structures and topography, as well as how much people’s normal lives are disrupted.275 Lives were catastrophically disrupted by drought, famine, and earthquakes in this particular time period. Starting at the end of the thirteenth century, we see evidence of the termination of the Bronze Age when every city-state and palace region in the eastern Mediterranean world was destroyed.276 Again we must question what was the catalyst of this rubble? Strange reminds us that in the past, around 3500BC, a climatic change ended the Chalcolithic Age. Then in the Early Bronze I period c.3000 BC there was rapid depopulation, abandonment and many migrations.277 Again around 2300- 000 BC cities were abandoned again and the people became migrating nomads.278 What was the cause for movement? A pattern is emerging although it is prior to our focus of 50 years of migration c.1250-1150BC; it states clearly there are repeated climatic woes in this area of the Mediterranean.

It is well known that the Hittite Empire fell around this disruptive time, and all of the Mycenaean palaces were leveled between the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 12th century BC. It becomes apparent people from Asia Minor migrated to the Levant during the chaos prevailing the fall of the Hittite Empire. Assyrian records provide more evidence of 12th century migrations from Asia Minor into the Levant and northwestern Mesopotamia.279 According to Stiebing populations from Cilicia in Anatolia, migrated to the Levant during the chaos of the early 12th century BC and filled the vacuum left by the withdrawal of the waning Hittite Empire.280 We have previously established that Asia Minor was a departure point for the Sea Peoples before their going into Syria, the Levant, and Egypt. Ugarit, a Hittite city was weakened when it was hit with a tidal wave, earthquake and the resulting secondary fires after which the Sea Peoples saw their chance to invade.281 An earthquake hypothesis has been put forth in the past. It was thought impossible with the scientific evidence of the 1940’s. At this time we will reopen that earthquake hypothesis here in this paper with new published scientific evidence.

More ruins and damaged layers have been found dating to the Late Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean area. Therefore some archaeologists have concluded that earthquakes, another destructive force of nature, were involved. We are talking about evidence of layers of destruction found in over 50 digs. Stiebing postulates that Megiddo and other Levantine urban areas were toppled by a strong earthquake.282 Evidence can be found in the form of cracked walls, toppled columns that tell a story, and crushed skeletons that can show the weight an earthquake can drop.

Nur, whose specialty is Earth Science and Geophysics, explains that with the new science of archaeoseismology and geological findings we can infer that earthquake storms could have caused the ruins of the late Bronze Age. When an earthquake storm hits, one earthquake triggers another along a fault line putting pressure on the next fault resulting in hundreds of miles of tension and shaking over decades.283 Nur and Cline talk about strains on faults that put increasing pressure on the fault until it is released in a chain reaction of domino like earthquakes set off at different times following one another down the fault. They define earthquake sequences taking place in the ancient past as being called earthquake storms.284 An earthquake storm was believed to have had a duration of 50 years during the period of 1225 to 1175 BC; which could figure in the demise of the Late Bronze Age civilizations in the eastern Mediterranean.285 They continue to connect earthquake prone sites with devastated Late Bronze Age sites. For a visual examination refer to figure 11.

The first to think of earthquakes as being responsible for the destruction of the Bronze Age was:

in 1948 Claude Schaeffer, the French excavator of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra) on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, first suggested that an earthquake might have been responsible for the destruction not only of Ugarit but of later Bronze Age sites. This idea was initially rejected, in part because the destructions at the end of the Late Bronze Age were spread over a 50–year time span and could not have been the result of a single catastrophe. However, knowing today what Schaeffer could not have known in 1948, we suggest that one cause of this 50-year long cataclysm was a series of earthquakes-an earthquake storm. … A number of criteria suggest possible earthquake damage: collapsed, patched or reinforced walls; crushed skeletons, or bodies found lying under fallen debris; toppled columns lying parallel to one another; slipped keystones in archways and doorways’ and walls leaning at impossible angles or offset from their original position. … Archaeologists have found widespread evidence of earthquake damage like this dating to the crucial period, 1225-1175 BC. In the Aegean, earthquakes probably struck at Mycenae, Tiryns, Midea, Thebes, Pylos, Kynos, Lefkandi, the Menelaion, and Kastanas in Thessaly, Korakou, Profitis Elias and Gla. … In the eastern Mediterranean, earthquake damage is visible at Troy, Karaoglun, Hattusa, Ugarit, Alalakh, Megiddo, Ashdod and Akko, among other sites.286

This would easily explain all of the broken sherds of pottery found at archaeological sites as well as the ruined and abandoned cities of the Bronze Age. Earthquakes bring down walls crush people that are near heavy debris and they also break anything fragile that is in the way of something heavier. When the pillars of your community are toppled it could be perceived that the gods may be angry with you. If the gods of the land were not on your side it was time to move on. Ancient deities were absorbed by newcomers to the areas where they were predominant.

These marauding tribes were led to wander in search of new homes in their ox carts carrying what was left of their lives and families to more prosperous land. An effect of the earthquakes, drought and crop failure was the migration of Sea Peoples out of Asia Minor and into a failed attempt at Egypt then into Syria, and the Levant. Other archaeologists such as Kilian who excavated Tiryns, have been arguing for awhile that earthquakes were the downfall of this and many other sites like Mycenae c.1200 BC.287 A geoarchaeologist, Zangger, proposes a flash flood relating to Tiryns’ earthquake that buried the lower town 18 feet deep.288 The destruction of ancient Midea, in the Argolid, is also thought to be owed to an earthquake at the beginning of the 12th century BCE with the evidence being the way the walls were broken and found.289 We are told the experts excavating the layer of Troy VI between 1750-1250BC, wrote that they are confident in blaming this layer of disaster on a severe earthquake.290 Geoarchaeologist Rapp concluded that the foundation crumbled because of earthquake shaking “in the underlying unconsolidated materials” causing the destruction of Troy VI.291

Moving to the destruction in the eastern Mediterranean, on the Dead Sea Fault system, specifically Megiddo, Israel; during 1250-1200 BC a palace was leveled in stratum VIIA (c.1200 BC) and built on top of rather than the usual practice of removal and reuse. The University of Chicago team that excavated in 1925-1939 recalls parts of the palace were ‘filled with fallen stone to a height of about a meter and a half [about 5 feet]’, and the bricks from the fallen walls were charred from a fire. 292

Nur and Cline explain in contrast that, when a site is destroyed by warfare, which is Drews’ opinion on these destructions, rather than earthquakes, the evidence is different. One example is Aphek, Israel, where the debris showed arrowheads.293 Drews opposes the earthquake theory because of the lack of casualties at the time of his writing. Drews’ own theory refutes this climatic theory, and he has set out to disprove anything except the military explanation for the upheaval. Challenges faced by both the earthquake archaeology and Drews’ interpretation are “to determine whether the destruction of a site was caused by an earthquake, by human attack, or by some nonseismic natural cause”.294 Drews has pointed out 47 sites that were destroyed between 1225-1175 BC.295 This 50 year period is our focus although it may be necessary to go outside it occasionally in order to show a pattern.

Modern excavation has found proof, skeletons at: Mycenae, Tiryns, Midea, Troy, Thebes in Boeotia, Karaoglun in Anatolia, and the Menelaion in Sparta; which can refute Drews’ dismissal of earthquake.296 Such massive and wide-ranging range destruction must have set in motion the waves of Sea Peoples. “The final Bronze Age destruction levels occur over a span of 50 years (c. 1225-1175 BC),” as is pointed out by Nur and Cline, as well as Drews.297 It is also common knowledge, from literary evidence, as shown in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, that the Sea Peoples migration waves were over a 50-year period. These facts can be put together, and we can see the link. A cause consisting of proposed climatic disaster leaving rubble and food shortages resulted in an effect of migrations of many different people around the Mediterranean.

The most recent treatment is in Nur’s and Burgess’ book Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology, and the Wrath of God. The review featured in the American Journal of Archaeology by Barber calls it a “‘wake-up call’ and a ‘must read’ for any archaeologist who works in an earthquake zone”.298 Barber rings a wake-up bell that “if the archaeologists would only pay attention to the seismic evidence at their sites, it would help the geologists chart the very phenomena that continue to cause so much destruction in these densely populated areas”.299 Unfortunately up until now:

If your argument does not fit the current thought mold, no amount of evidence will convince the group to look seriously at what you say until the mold itself changes. When Claude Schaeffer suggested that simple shaking of the earth, rather than invading warriors, appeared to have caused the severe and remarkably widespread damage he was seeing at Ugarit and many other Near Eastern sites at the end of the Bronze Age, archaeologists responded by treating the suggestion as a pendulum to be pushed as far as possible the other way-by trashing Schaeffer’s reputation and dismissing earthquakes as an attributable cause for any destruction, anywhere, anytime. Fortunately, the scholarly tide is changing, as a current spate of books shows.300

Moreover, French tells us “in the immediate aftermath of Schaeffer’s great work (1948)” archaeologists were taught to avoid earthquakes as an explanation.301 The main point against Schaeffer was that there was not sufficient evidence at that time for megaearthquakes, or knowledge of “earthquake storms” and it would have taken an unbelievably large earthquake in that region to do that much damage. Now we are aware of the Northern Anatolian Fault Zone. It explains that the Turkish plate is pushed westward because of the northward movement of the Arabian Plate and the resistance by the Eurasian plate.302 Earthquake records of 1948 were lacking the fine-tuned detail and use of technology we have at our disposal today. With scientific detail we can be more conclusive today. Roth concludes that most earthquake storms of the western North Anatolian Fault Zone occur in areas of high right lateral shear stress.303 By living in an earthquake zone and studying seismic activity, both Nur and Barber have something solid to say about archaeoseismology. Archaeoseismology is a new cross disciplinary science studying how earthquakes affect archaeology. These new sciences have a lot to offer to the archaeologist in his quest to find out the truth about the past. Barber, as an archaeologist, argues about using cross-disciplines “to understand when to solicit those scientists for their expertise and how to receive intelligently the help they offer”.304 There is a recurring theme that many buildings were never lived in or rebuilt after their destruction, presumably by earthquakes in the Late Bronze Age.305 Nur and Burgess ask, as many of us have, why so many of the Bronze Age monuments and towns were left in ruins? 306 Unfortunately, the remains, either from unrecorded amateur archaeology or from collapsed arches; leave it difficult to go back and distinguish what is from earthquake damage and what is from violent human activity. Arrowheads were prime evidence that war was pervasive. As Nur emphatically states his main point is not to debate over the exact timing of each earthquake, “but to uncover evidence of important destruction by earthquakes in antiquity”, before it is passed by, and to try to estimate the seismic hazards of ancient Tells.307 Nur and Burgess point out that looking back to prehistory, the earthquake pattern is similar to what it is today.308 Nur and Burgess place their ground-motion map over Drew’s map of the 47 destroyed Bronze Age sites (see figure 11) and can conclude that sites are within the Northern Anatolian Fault Zone and the chances of being badly damaged by earthquakes are high.

Back in time, one of the first archaeologists, Evans believed Knossos was destroyed by an earthquake. In “his reconstruction of events, ca.1400 a moderate earthquake…happened to strike Knossos on a March day, when the south wind called the Notios was blowing; lamp fires were upset, other open fires were disrupted, and the Notios fanned them into a blaze that destroyed so much of the palace that the king and his court decided to abandon it and set up their administration on the Greek mainland, at Mycenae”.309 Nur and Burgess update us with the current information that Evans’ hypothesis was along the lines of thinking with the plate tectonics pattern. New evidence proves that Crete is at the top of the African plate and has been devastated because of this many times over. Crete is in a dangerous seismic zone. The nine dirt layers of the Minoan Age may show evidence of many mega- earthquakes.

Another famous early archaeologist, Blegen believed Troy VIh, the “royal city at Hissarlik” underneath the more famous Troy VIIa, to have been destroyed in a conflagration and seismic jolting ca.1275 BC.310 Podzuwit, using the ceramic evidence agrees that Troy VIh had a devastating earthquake.311 Mylonas places the cause as an earthquake for the so called “Catastrophe in the Peloponnese”, that is the Troy VI layer.312 Iakovides, in 1977 is convinced that the destruction at Mycenae [LH IIIB] was the result of many secondary earthquake fires.313 Iakovides, also concludes that new pieces of evidence link earthquake fires to the last quarter of the 13th century BC.314

Another excavator following the earthquake hypothesis was Kilian in 1980. In charge of the dig at Tiryns, he believed that the blame should go to an earthquake. Tiryns, Mycenae, and Midea were destroyed by a quake and the fires resulting from the chaos.315 Astrom, who was in charge of the dig at Midea, went back to the site in 1983 and worked toward the same conclusion that “it too had been ruined by a quake”.316 Astrom is backed up by Taylour, an earlier British excavator who admitted that “a minor fire or possibly an earthquake” was responsible.317 Astrom has proof that Midea was destroyed in a conflagration (ash deposits were found everywhere, with an ash layer 40 centimeters thick near the interior of the Cyclopean wall).318

All of these prominent scholars have now concluded, in favor of a significant role for earthquakes, although fully aware of the scorn previously directed at Schaeffer. To Summarize many historians and archaeologists now believe that earthquakes struck Ugarit, Midea, Myceane, Knossos, Troy and Tiryns.319 The most significant agnostic is Drews. Even he admits “that this is a zone of high seismicity and earthquake damage is almost certain”. He goes on to admit that earlier levels of Troy III, Troy IV, and Troy V were affected by quakes.320 Historians reconstruct that, after a quake, the survivors repaired any damage done and got on with their lives.

We do occasionally hear of cities being utterly destroyed by natural events. We know that Thera and Pompeii were destroyed by volcanic eruptions, another example of extreme conditions uprooting populations. Nur and Burgess take us to the faults along the Jordan River Plain where the violent movement during an earthquake can change water-saturated sand or silt, near the river into a fluid that rises up to the surface at this time, creating mud volcanoes and sand volcanoes.321 We are told this would be “unequivocal evidence of an earthquake, and the age of the layer where it reached the surface would provide a means of fixing the earliest possible date for the event”.322 By sampling mud or sand volcanoes at a site, one can determine if past earthquakes jolted the site. Another natural threat to the Mediterranean area is represented by undersea earthquakes that can cause tsunamis that can wreck havoc on coastal settlements. Tsunamis were a threat into the past as they are to the present and future, as we see in ancient written accounts. When lives are disrupted from the norm with extreme weather destroying their homes and food supply, it drives people to do things such as attack prosperous lands or migrate looking for a better life.

All of this academic discussion points to different climate changes and seismic changes affecting the Sea Peoples and pushing them to migrate away from disaster and towards the prosperous lands of wealth. What I have been trying to point out throughout this paper is that farm land that produces grain, ore deposits that produce raw materials for weapons, and access to trade routes were all coveted by the Sea Peoples, food being the most prominent necessity. This list is what brought them to Egypt, the Levant, and even, perhaps, other more distant lands. Nur and Burgess relate the challenge is to place the earthquake knowledge of today into the blanks of written history and the archaeological record.323

What are needed are more studies done in the science of paleoseismology at Bronze Age sites. This takes paleoseismic samples in the faults to document the number and rate of earthquakes during prehistoric times. Paleoseismology involves the checking of fault zones strata for ancient earthquakes signs.

To understand such waves of earthquakes, better we turn to the issue of tectonic earthquakes and their causes. The elastic rebound theory establishes that when the stress is more powerful than the friction holding both sides of the fault together then the plate boundary slips and an earthquake occurs. The more the ground moves, the greater damage incurred.

The Peloponnese of Greece, Cyprus, and Crete have reverse faults that are also denoted as thrust faults. Nur and Burgess explain that rocks on one side are pushed up and over the other side.324 In another category are the North Anatolian fault in Turkey, and the Dead Sea Transform in the Middle East which are categorized as strike-slip faults. These are defined as places where two plates slide horizontally beside each other. The Dead Sea area in the Levant is close to many of our Philistine towns that eventually harbored a part of the Sea Peoples. The Dead Sea is 411 meters below sea level so that it could have been susceptible to a tsunami. This makes it vulnerable to a variety of natural hazards.

We now know why there is different terrain from west to east in the Levant and south to north in the eastern Mediterranean. Geology and plate tectonics explain the formation of mountains, and valleys that are scientific explanations that the ancients did not have.

Looking for ancient earthquakes at an archaeological site requires unusual skills in locating faults and searching out damage such as repaired walls.325 Ancient walls that have been bisected by fault motion can sometimes be found.326 The scattered ruins of the ancient world may then at times be owed to the intensity of previous earthquakes. Intensity is the amount of damage the shaking causes to an area that has human activity.

Comparing modern damage to ancient-city sites, one may note our building structures in modern society are different from the buildings constructed in prehistoric Turkey. Without the knowledge and standards of today, there would be more ruins such as the damage shown in ancient cities given the same level earthquake. Modern science has proven that narrow ridges or small hills, can vibrate more than other areas when hit with seismic waves therefore increasing damage during and after an earthquake.

Nur and Burgess explain “even where topography is flat, areas composed of poorly consolidated materials, like loose, water deposited sediments or improperly compacted artificial fill” sustain damage in even small earthquakes.327 Most ancient settlements were founded close to a spring of fresh water for the necessities in life. These areas become desirable destinations for many people over time. These become what the Hebrews call tel and the Arabs call Tell. These piles of dirt and left over layers of previous settlements, debris and pottery become the archaeological history of an area and or people. When a city was destroyed by any means, the survivors, being the old or new residents took up residence on the destroyed site, clearing away the debris the best they could and building atop the layer of destroyed earth. This earth becomes the loose sediment and loosely consolidated materials which, when hit by another earthquake shift even more because it is not solid earth that was built upon. In the desert lands like Libya and Egypt, alluvial fans appear in the mountains and water erodes the rock which becomes soft ground that can be settled. Though it may seem pleasant to stay on, the nearby mountains have been built from active faults.328

Building codes became the norm with reinforced masonry after scientists did research on what types of construction would stand and what would fall. This progression of humanity has protected us from surprise earthquakes and minimized the damage. The horizontal stress portrayed in some earthquakes could decimate unreinforced public buildings of the past. Stone blocks do not sway with the earth therefore they broke under the strain of the horizontal stress. When the stones crumbled they became a death trap to anyone or anything in the vicinity. We have proof of this in the skeletons found at Dor in Israel. Even poorer dwellings such as mud brick is built heavily and therefore would “collapse” during an earthquake and would do harm.

The ancients’ normal construction was to build cities on top of old rubble in the prime settlement spots that were usually “on a base of alluvium (loose, water-deposited sediments)”.329 Significantly, these Tells or mounds are mostly abandoned now. These piles of ruined cities were unstable for future dwelling to be safe under more modern techniques of construction. In all archaeological sites we find layers of time and the traces of different inhabitants who were lost in some sort of destruction. The current problem is that most archaeologists are not alert to earthquake evidence or to the specific kinds of damage that are proof of earthquakes because they are not cross-trained in geophysics or earth sciences nor do they have an expert on hand in a known earthquake area.

One sign of earthquake damage is “displacement of the ground surface”.330 Earthquakes or fault motion can tilt walls that can be found askew in a dig. Horizontal markers can cut through “walls, streets, or aqueducts”.331 Ruins are the evidence left behind in an earthquake.

The best evidence for a past earthquake is fallen columns. Ancient ruined sites are rife with them. When searching for evidence, one must see whether the columns all fell in the same direction. These columns must encompass a whole building or all the buildings in the area.332 What has happened to leave these clues is that when the ground quakes the dirt under the columns moves rapidly one way.333 Then in the opposite direction is where one finds the columns toppled and sometimes lying in pieces.334 Evidence like this was found in Susita, Israel although the particular earthquake of 749 CE was not in our time period. 45 Km south is ancient Bet Shean, also destroyed by an earthquake of the same time. One may correlate the area of disturbance and its proof of seismic disturbances in our past. What was found were stone columns fallen from the main streets and left in ruins parallel to each other.335 Investigation has shown that Bet Shean was overtaken by a sesimic disturbance also.336 This is further proof that the area is seismically active. The Dead Sea Transform has often been studied by modern scientists.

We can trace earthquake damage through walls as well. Nur and Burgess explain these markers:

A single site in any given earthquake generally has one axis where the shaking is the strongest. Walls oriented perpendicular to this maximum-shaking axis are more likely to collapse in moderate earthquakes, leaving walls that are oriented parallel to the shaking axis intact or less badly damaged. When many similar oriented walls at a site have fallen in the same direction, particularly when they buried grain, gold, or other valuables in their fall, the action of an army is an unlikely cause. We find such damage in many different sites, including some layers at Troy, Jericho, and Mycenae.337

What we look for in these walls is the “repair record: patches of different block sizes, stone types, and workmanship”.338

Egypt too has suffered damage from earthquakes in the past. Karnak and Luxor show damage especially at the Ramesseum of Rameses II. Unfortunately, the best evidence is for the earthquake in 27 BC.339 That does not mean that this was the only one quake in this region; on the contrary it is a good indication that Egypt too is seismically quite active. Alexandria’s lighthouse was hit by many earthquakes before it fell into the sea. During August 8, 1303 AD a “massive seismic event in the Mediterranean was felt in a huge area, including Crete, Egypt, Rhodes, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Turkey, and Cyprus, and it was followed by a large tsunami” or seaquake.340 Although this was much later than our time period, geologic time is on a much grander scale and the time span is not as far off as we may surmise. The point of noting this example is that similar catastrophic activity could and did happen in our past. Nur and Burgess point to “long term seismic hazards of ancient sites”.341 Nature measures time in longer periods than generations.

Tsunamis or sea-quakes have flooded Greece many times. What written proof has survived to our time was written by Thucydides about an earthquake during the Peloponnesian War, c.426 BC (Thucydides III.89).342 His narrative is based on eyewitnesses: “numerous earthquakes occurring…About the same time that these earthquakes were so common, the sea at Orobiae, in Euboea, retiring from the then line of coast, returned in a huge wave and invaded a great part of the town, and retreated leaving some of it still under water; so that what was once land is now sea….”343 This can happen on a smaller scale where waves can be seen on lakes and inland seas created from an earthquake with an epicenter somewhere else.344 These are defined as seiches which could be seen on “the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee” when an earthquake was felt in antiquity.345 Archaeoseismology can use underwater landslides as evidence when using radiocarbon for dating earthquakes.346 These seismites, sometimes called mixed sea layers, have been used in confirming numerous historical accounts of earthquakes in the Middle East area.347

Earthquake is connected with conflagration. Fire spread out of control resulting in ash layers are found in many archaeological layers. It is clear that fires were a secondary threat to anyone near the aftermath of an earthquake. In one way they can help later generations understand the past is the preservation of “mud bricks and tablets”.348

Crushed skeletons found in layers of archaeology can be evidence of past earthquakes. Forensic anthropology is the study of these skeletons. The time an earthquake strikes can have an effect on who is harmed. If they are inside as opposed to being outside, can determine what they are near and what the dangers are of being caught under rubble. Real proof of earthquakes has recently been unearthed at both Dor and Mycenae in the form of crushed skeletal remains.

Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellaraki found an old Minoan temple in Anemospilia, Crete during 1979. Three skeletons were found crushed by what they think was an earthquake c. 1700 BC. One skeleton, presumed a priest had an iron and silver ring still on a finger bone. Had this been a raid the precious ring would have been looted. The excavators believe that earthquake stopped a human sacrifice was hypothesized by a medical anthropologist on account of the color of the bones of the victim. The temple had a fire, and there was ash and burned stones present.349 Some speculate that foreshocks that come before a big quake could have been the reason why this human sacrifice was being made. Such fear could have driven people away from their homes to settle in another safe place.

The city of Dor, a town of the Sikils or Tjekker, known by Wen-Amon, was thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake. The evidence for this conclusion is a skeleton found during Sterns’ dig in 1993. Rocks and broken potsherds were found under and protruding from a female skeleton. A rock wall had fallen on the body and pulverizing and forcing her into the earth foundation.350 These skeletons were found in a way that strongly suggests to experts that an earthquake was responsible for the way in which they were left.

We have just gone through many climatic reasons such as drought, or earthquakes, and seaquakes which should be considered when assessing why these tribes would have left a broken homeland. Where did they choose to go? Egypt was known as the richest land, and, as I have noted, was coveted by the Sea Peoples. It is known that they attacked Egypt on more than one occasion and were repelled with great slaughter.

The other land of promise and wealth was the Levant where at least three of these tribes settled. Strange tells us “the Philistine city- states must have supplemented their economy with trade, at least in the case of Gaza and Ashkelon, both lying on the coast”.351 He continues to exemplify the value of this land in which “Gaza was connected to the Arabian trade and one of the tribes constructed a harbor at Dor.352 This explains the cross-roads of trade that made this land worth more than other areas. To get a bigger picture “at the same time the Philistines controlled a part of the trunk road between Egypt and Assyria, which gave them a key position in the trade between Egypt and Mesopotamia”.353 These areas equaled power and money from trade. It is also known that there were metal deposits in the ancient Levant. The real lure was that, as Strange tells us, “there must have been an agricultural basis for the economy [since] the area is well suited for cereals and there is evidence of animal husbandry”.354 Strange reminds us that the Philistines introduced or brought with them the krater pottery into the Levant that helped with the trade of viticulture in Ashkelon.355 A people on the move for greener pastures leaving a broken homeland heard of lands with abundance through traders and set their sights on these coveted lands. It is logic and human nature that leads people to better our situation in any way possible be it a land route or sea route.
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Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:14 am

Chapter 7: Famine Causing Migrations

Ancient people, as nomads and shepherds migrate to sustain life for their families. Gathering food is the core of human life. Herbs and grain as well as meat kept humans alive. Their economy was based on agriculture.356 When that is taken away, it is human nature to seek it out. Whether it is from hunger or war, they are striving for a better life. Through trade networks they may glimpse and experience a better way of life. This may lead to plans of migration and the coveting of others' prosperity. If you cannot earn a living normally then becoming a pirate or outlaw became seductive. In this chapter we will discuss reasons why the confederation of tribes known as the Sea Peoples left their homeland and risked death for the entire families in making this move. It is a fact that they traverse the Mediterranean. They also crossed land in their journey to get where they wanted to be. Unfortunately they did not win the battle that ensued for the prize land of Egypt; they were repelled, and many were killed and those left settled as prisoners in this land of wealth. Their sharp skills as metal smiths and seasoned fighters won the Sherden respect from the Pharaohs and a place in the Egyptian army. This later gave them the opportunity to be stationed in garrisons in the Levant, a prosperous place, and to eventually carve a piece out of this landscape for themselves and their families.

There is an interesting inscription from an earlier time of the Egyptian 12th Dynasty (1991-1786 BC), with Achtoes III relating to his sons:

The wretched Asiatic, bad is the country where he lives, inconvenient in respect of water, impracticable because of many trees, its roads are bad on account of the mountains. He does not settle in one single place, for (lack of) food makes his legs take flight. Since the time of Horus he has been at war; he does not conquer, nor yet can he be conquered. He does not announce the day of fighting...357

This explains the desire to be nomads in this time period and for generations after. It points out the lack of food in their land and their war-like tendency trickling down into the 12th Century BC. Nibbi neatly tells us “The reason for the Libyan invasion of Egypt around this time is said to be hunger”.358 Hunger is a strong force and can motivate many. There were frequent food shortages. Egypt was known as the grain provider of the Mediterranean as well as the Levant that was under Egyptian control. These prosperous lands called out to those in need. Nibbi further factualizes that “On inscriptions the Pharaoh is made to declare that famine is the cause of the Libyan’s unauthorized entry into the country”.359 This clearly states that from an Egyptian perspective it was engraved for future generations that famine was a catalyst. Later historians Diodorus and Herodotus tell future generations of a “famine that forces people from Syme, Naxos, and Sardis to emigrate”.360 Once again the pattern emerges. Famine could lead to the consumption of rats in desperation causing disease. Bubonic plague is hinted at in more than one source. Redford points out “contemporary documents from Egypt and Ugarit speak of famine in Anatolia”.361 Again ancient sources from two distinct powers list famine in the region of the Sea Peoples departure.

Dagan is known as the primary deity of the Philistines, one of the tribes of the confederation, and it “is found in the Bible, but never clearly as a deity, rather as the common noun ‘grain’ ”.362 Is it possible that Dagan was worshipped for a steady food supply such as grain and fish? Ancient peoples turned to the gods when faced with any catastrophe while modern archaeologists blame the Bronze Age catastrophe on human causes such as war.

Babylonia offers more written evidence of drought, famine and unusually high temperatures, as recorded in their Erra Epic with “characters personifying the troubles besetting Babylonia prior to the ninth century BCE-‘scorched (earth)’ (Erra), ‘Fiery sun’ (Ishum), and ‘plague’ (the Sibitti demons).”363 We turn to the Assyrians for more climatic woes. Stiebing points out an Assyrian letter written around 1090 BC detailing the lack of rain that year and no harvests were picked. This extreme weather stood out enough so that officials left records for future generations. An Assyrian chronicle dating to 1082BC states that a famine so bad occurred that people ate one another’s flesh. This clearly shows desperation. Drought, famine and hunger are counted at minimum of 14 times in texts dating from the 11th and first part of the 10th centuries BCE.364 The pattern emerges. We are left records from all the major powers in the area about food shortages. Drought leads to crop failure and that leads to hunger which leads to desperation and/or death. In the turmoil there were many deaths. This is significant. Populations of Greece declined by as much as 75 percent, Sumerian populations declined by 25 percent, and in the Diyala region of Iraq by about 75 percent.365 There was recorded migration by those that survived. They left in search of sustenance. This drought hypothesis has justified the evidence. It has happened in the past, it happened during the 50-year period we have focused on for the migrations, and it happened later in Alexandria. This repeated erratic weather pattern hits the eastern Mediterranean every 500 years or so.

Herodotus tells of a time when:

There was great scarcity through the whole land of Lydia. For some time the Lydians bore the affliction patiently, but finding that it did not pass away…The plan adopted against the famine was to engage in games one day so entirely as not to feel any craving for food, and the next day to eat and abstain from games. In this way they passed eighteen years. Still the affliction continued and became more grievous. So the king determined to divide the nation in half, and to make the two portions draw lots, the one to stay, the other to leave the land. He would continue to reign over those whose lot it should be to remain behind; the emigrants should have his son Tyrrhenus for their leader. The lot was cast and they who had to emigrate went down to Smyrna, and built themselves ships, in which, after they had put on board all needful stores, they sailed away in search of new homes and better sustenance.366

Although there are mixed opinions of modern scholars on whether to believe Herodotus, and many do not, his peers and generations afterward did believe this in course of events.

Merneptah’s speech reminds us that the invading Sea Peoples “come to the land of Egypt, to seek the necessities of their mouths”.367 This manifest tells us that they were in search of food and if Egypt was a source of grain then that was where prosperity was to be found. It is important to reiterate here the part of the Israel stela that reveals the desolation of the Sea Peoples in:

the grain of his supplies was plundered, and he had no water in the skin to keep him alive. The face of his brothers was hostile to slay him, one fought another among his leaders. Their camp was burned and made a roast, all his possessions were food for the troops. … They have ceased to live in the pleasant fashion of walking in the field; their going about is stopped in a single day. The Tehenu are consumed in a single year. …their settlements are desolated… There is no work of carrying ---in these days… there is safety in the cavern.368

This piece of textual evidence reveals a clue that “their going about is stopped in a single day”, could this refer to an earthquake? Was their homeland left in broken ruins? This passage goes on to highlight “all his possessions were food for the troops”. With a scarcity of food this would be a prized possession and a necessity to sustain life. This collapse at the end of the Bronze Age and widespread movement must have had a catalyst. Records of Egypt from 1182-1127BC explain that the price of wheat had risen to 8-24 times its original price and stayed inflated for the remainder of the century.369 Food became more precious and harder to come by. Grain shortages occurred not only in Egypt, but in the Hittite area and Mesopotamia. Drews generalizes that “climatic explanations for the end of Bronze Age civilization have been prevalent in English language scholarship on both the Aegean and the Near East for the last twenty years: drought has been found responsible for the Catastrophe in the Levant and Hittite Asia Minor and even for the subsequent decline of Mesopotamia.”370 Even a hard-core skeptic admits that opinions for the last twenty years have leaned in the direction of the drought hypothesis.

In 1965 Carpenter came up with the thesis that “Bronze Age centers of Greece fell victim to an intense and prolonged drought and to the disorders occasioned by the drought”.371 Carpenter envisioned at the end of the thirteenth century BC the drought was so bad that people were pushed to migrate.372 This connects the inflation of wheat with a proposed drought and a result of migration. Strobel’s Seevolkersturm tells us that that a drought happened at this time.373 Strobel thinks that a severe drought in Asia Minor pushed the tribes there to move towards the south-eastern Mediterranean and then on to the western Mediterranean.374 Carpenter brings out their desperation and violent tendencies brought on by hunger. This is what led to the emergence of outlaws and pirates. Recent scholarship has been uncovering more and more evidence indicating that there most likely was a climatic change in the area we have been talking about between approximately 1300 and 950 BC.375 We should explore what evidence we have on any climatic changes during these millennia.

Stiebing lets us know that dendochronology records show in tree rings that changes were happening in the climate, especially in the northern hemisphere during the time periods 1300 and 1000BC. This is confirmed by levels of various lakes, movements of glaciers and changes in peat bogs.376 Proof comes from a tree found in Gordion, Asia Minor that showed evidence of extremely dry periods of time around 1200 BC.377 For Stiebing, other evidence showing that glaciers in the Himalayan and the Karakorum mountain ranges of Asia both began melting between 1200-1150 BC.378 Also, the annual monsoon rains that normally hit the Indus Valley were way below normal.379 All of these different clues point to drought and climate change from what was previously perceived as normal.

Kay and Johnson concluded that after 1250 BC, the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates fell rapidly, and reached its low point around 1150 BC and returning to normal after 950 BC.380 Archaeological sites in Israel tell us the vegetation changed from Mediterranean to Saharan; these data are brought to our attention by Stiebing. He further summarizes that this seemingly long-term drought was a catalyst to the ongoing wars, population decline, piracy, migrations, power vacuum, disruption of life and generally spreading destitution. This would have spiraled out of control into the sacking of cities and hoarding of food and what resources were left. Therefore when lives became disrupted, trade became harder. Hostilities were everywhere people were desperate and scared. Refugees were wandering and raiding became normal occurrences. The drought is believed to have stopped around 1150 BC and 1100 BC. Farming is thought to have resumed around this time.

This erratic weather and catastrophes affected all peoples of the Mediterranean region. I turn now to an earlier instance. Weiss in 1993 found evidence of a drought in Syria at Tell Leilan. He links it to the end of the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia during the span between the Early Bronze Age to the Middle Bronze Age. This research establishes a pattern of climatic catastrophe that pushed people to search for a better life in more self-sustaining areas such as Egypt. The grass literally becomes greener in the neighboring territory, and the sustenance and stability of wealth is luring and coveted by these Sea Peoples.
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