Possibly the first Philistine cemetery has been discovered at Ashkelon, Israel. They have been excavating this known Philistine city for decades, but have just recently uncovered a burial site which could answer many questions concerning the origins and life of the Philistines, the biblical archenemy of the Israelites. Ashkelon, was a major Philistine city in the ancient world dating from the 12th to the 7th centuries B. C. Over 200 individuals have been discovered in this cemetery. They began digging is Ashkelon in 1985 and this discovery is a nice end cap to the several decade long expedition.
Here is a quick video on the discovery:
Some articles on the discovery:
“Discovery of Philistine Cemetery May Solve Biblical Mystery,” National Geographic | July 10, 2016
Possibly the first discovery of its times National Geographic reports:
An unrivaled discovery on the southern coast of Israel may enable archaeologists to finally unravel the origins of one of the most notorious and enigmatic peoples of the Hebrew Bible: the Philistines.
The discovery of a large cemetery outside the walls of ancient Ashkelon, a major city of the Philistines between the 12th and 7th centuries B.C., is the first of its kind in the history of archaeological investigation in the region.
“First-Ever Philistine Cemetery Unearthed at Ashkelon,” Bible History Daily | July 10, 2016
Five known Philistine cities have been discovered, revealing artifacts, but this discovery reveals the Philistines themselves:
Now Ashkelon has yielded the Philistines themselves.
Directed by Lawrence E. Stager, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel, Emeritus, at Harvard University, and Daniel M. Master, Professor of Archaeology at Wheaton College, the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon discovered the Iron Age cemetery in 2013 and began excavating it extensively in 2014. Three seasons of significant investigation have revealed previously unknown details of the Philistines in death—and life. First of all, the cemetery provides a window into Philistine burial practices.
“Story of Philistines Could be Reshaped by Ancient Cemetery,” The New York Times | July 10, 2015
This site has seemingly been undisturbed for several millennia according the the NYT:
After more than 30 years of excavating the remains of a Philistine city, a team of archaeologists says it believes it has found a cemetery belonging to the ancient people on the outskirts of Ashkelon in Israel.
The team has unearthed skeletons and artifacts that it suspects had rested for more than 3,000 years in the cemetery, potentially offering clues to the Philistines’ lifestyle and perhaps providing some answers to the mysteries of where the Philistines came from. Much has remained unknown about their origins.
“When we found this cemetery right next to a Philistine city, we knew we had it,” said Daniel Master, an archaeologist from Wheaton College in Illinois. “We have the first Philistine cemetery that’s ever been discovered.”
Any great discovery is not without its criticism. Questions about it being the first discovery is under discussion. Live Science reports:
[E]xperts not affiliated with the excavations are not yet convinced of the claim, saying that the identity of the people buried at the Ashkelon cemetery is not clear-cut and the finding itself has not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Further muddying the waters, other burials found in known Philistine cities, though never confirmed, also have dibs on the title of “first-discovered Philistine cemetery.”
“First Ever? Discovery of Philistine Cemetery Draws Criticism” Live Science | July 14, 2016
Another quick video on the discovery from CNN:
Here are other posts I have reported on concerning biblical archaeology: