In an amazing archaeological find, the first-ever Philistine Cemetery has been discovered in a dig by the southern coastal town of Ashkelon.
In the discovery, which has been covered widely by news sources such as the National Geographic, Independent and Daily Mail, not only were various pots and ceramics discovered, but also – crucially – human remains.
Prof. Daniel Master, co-Director of the Leon Levy Expedition, was quoted as saying:
“We’ve uncovered their houses, we’ve uncovered their trading networks, we’ve uncovered all aspects of their culture,” Master said. With the discovery of the cemetery, “we’re finally going to see the people themselves.”
“There have been other random finds of people caught in Philistine destruction on occasion,” he explained, “but nothing like this. No systematic example of what they thought about death and how they treated people in that process.”
Isolated graves containing Philistine style pottery were thought to be possible examples of their practices, but the few cases were not enough to convince most scholars.
“What we needed for a Philistine cemetery was to find a large one that was directly connected to one of the cities we know as a Philistine city,” Master said. “And Ashkelon is exactly that.”
The other co-Director, Prof. Lawrence Stager, was reported to have said:
“Ninety-nine percent of the chapters and articles written about Philistine burial customs should be revised or ignored now that we have the first and only Philistine cemetery found just outside the city walls of Tel Ashkelon, one of the five primary cities of the Philistines,” said Lawrence E. Stager, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel, Emeritus, at Harvard University.
You can see more about the discovery below: