Humorous Image of the Day

-Har-dee-har-har! Obviously, this comes by way of the Safi/Gath blog, whose contributors are clearly overburdened with pictures of Philistine pottery they wish to get off their chest, especially after Netanyahu’s infamous bomb presentation. “LPDW” is “Late Philistine Decorated Ware” Monochrome is c. 1130-c. 1050 BC, Bichrome is c. 1070-c. 1020 BC, Debased Bichrome is Late Iron I and LPDW is Iron IIa.

The “Hemming In” Theory of Late Ramesside Policy

The “hemming in” theory of Late Ramesside policy is the name I have given to the hypothesis which states that, after a supposed Philistine invasion in the late 1180s or 70s BC, Ramesses III attempted to “hem in” the already-settled Philistines by constructing a series of forts/governor’s residencies around their territory. This hypothesis is supported by the fortification of such sites as Tell el-Hesi City IV, Tel Sera IX, Tell el-Farah S., Gezer XIV, and Tel Mor VI and V. However, if Ramesses III was strong enough to fortify the border with Philistia, he was certainly powerful enough to attack it. However, no Philistine site shows signs of destruction in the period immediately after the Philistine conquest of Philistia. Also, the “hemming in” model presumes that there was little to no trade between such cities as Lachish VI and Ashkelon. However, the archaeological data argues otherwise, as many marine fish bones were discovered at Lachish VI, while not a single sherd of Philistine Monochrome has been discovered there. This strongly argues that Lachish VI and Ashkelon Phase 20 were not contemporary, and that Lachish VI and Ashkelon Phase 21 were. Thus, it is probable that the line of Egyptian governor’s residencies built on the Via Maris was simply an extension of the earlier Egyptian “Way of Horus” fortification line, and that the decline of Egypt’s Levantine presence at the end of the 12th century was due to a second Philistine invasion. It is also probable Gath was an integral part of Egypt’s 12th century Via Maris fortification line, as made probable by the excavation results from there.

Perhaps the Izbet Sartah Inscription Does Date to the Early Iron IIa?

Article with tables comparing Early Iron Age Phoenician-Palestinian inscriptions here.

Edit (5/16/2013): As the above article has been deleted, I will direct you to this one and this one and this one. I might make my own chart.

The Gath inscription, reading ALWT | WLT or, possibly, ALYT | YLT (witness the Izbet Sartah ostracon’s Yodh) is an early alphabetic inscription inscribed in the Iron IIa. The ‘Izbet Sartah inscription provides a relatively close parallel to this inscription, and dates to either the Early Iron IIa (it was found in an Iron IIa context) or the Early Iron I (the script looked rather early, so it was dated to the earlier occupation phase). Apparently, the Gath, and, probably, Izbet Sartah inscriptions compared with the Zayit and Gezer inscriptions demonstrate two separate scribal traditions in 10th-9th C BC Western Palestine. The first, demonstrated by the Qeiyafa, Gath, and, probably, Izbet Sartah ostraca, is clearly not derived from the Phoenician cultural sphere from which came the Early Byblian inscriptions (note the G-shaped Lameds!). The second, demonstrated by Gezer and Zayit, clearly is. Perhaps, my guess the Gezer tablet is an Iron I inscription was wrong, and a non-Phoenician early alphabetic script was used in Iron Ages I and IIa, while the Phoenician script was only introduced c. 880 BC.


Libnah is mentioned in the Bible as a Shephelah town near the border of Gath, fortified in Hezekiah’s time, existing during the mid-9th, late 8th, and late 7th century BC.

Only Tel Erani, Tel Burna, and Tel Goded, may be viable candidates for this site, as far as I’m concerned. Of these, I have my doubts Tel ‘Erani was inhabited in the 9th century (Late Iron IIA), and, while there are Iron IIa remains at Goded, the Bliss excavation surprisingly did not find evidence of pre-Selucian fortification, though Goded is certainly of greater importance than Burna, though I doubt it could secede.

Tell el-Beidah is more likely Achzib (the lmlk pottery???), and, even though its name is suggestive of Libnah, it is as of yet untested archaeologically, though, if Azekah was Gittite (which will be confirmed or denied in the upcoming excavations), this certainly would be a plausible option.