Philistine Qubur al-Walaydah Bowl (1140 BCE)

(August 10, 2022) The Philistine letter style at this time was was becoming more cursive indicating it was mostly being scratched or inked on pottery shards and pieces of wood.  

For translation methodology see: How to Translate Alphabetic Akkadian Texts

Philistine ritual bowl from Qubur al-Walaydah which is identified by its text style and theme.
This is a Philistine ritual bowl from Qubur al-Walaydah which is identified by its text style and theme. This bowl dates to the early Iron Age 1A period (Lehmann and all, 2010) which puts it at 1160 BCE soon after the Philistines settled the coast of the Levant.


Lehmann, G. Rosen, S.A. Berlejung, A, Neumeier, B.A. Niemann, H.M. (2010) Excavations at Qubur al-Walaydah, 2007–2009. In Die Welt des Orients, 40. Jahrgang, S. 137–159, ISSN 0043-2547 Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht GmbH and Co. KG, Göttingen. Online at:
Olmsted, D.D. (August 2020-2) Three Religiously Themed Philistine Texts in Alphabetic Akkadian (1160-960 BCE). Humanities Commons Permanent URL: Online at:

Qubur al-Walaydah Bowl on Philistine Coast Mentions Drought And Indicates Aegean Islanders Were Literate- 1160 BCE 

(May 31, 2022) This text indicates the Aegean islanders were using writing for some time because the letter styles were getting more cursive for fast writing in  ink.

Translation in Akkadian (Levant Text 4.1 )

(read right to left. Capital letters on object. Small letters are inferred Inner vowels. Verbs in italic bold)
  1. ṢaMGâ’u  Bu |
  2. A  Pu  ABu |
  3. ṢaDu ...

In English

  1. Dehydration is breaking-out the nourishments (for the divine-powers) |
  2. Those are being opened by the life priests (fathers) |
  3. Feeding

This bowl was found during a 1977 rescue dig by Rudolf Cohen at a small 2 hectare (80 meters in diameter) settlement at the head of Nahal Besor (Wadi Gaza) as shown in the image at the top of this page. This location suggests that it was originally a military outpost and trading center between the Philistines and the Israelites.

This bowl dates to the Iron Age 1A period (Lehmann and all, 2010) which ranges from 1190 - 1140 BCE. This was the period of the 50 year great drought which ended the Bronze Age. While the archaeological remains at the beginning of this period are qualitatively poor like this bowl by the end of this period  prosperity had returned such that the Philistines were able to import overseas trade goods and create more colorful pottery (the bichrome ware).

This small settlement had a central building which was a fortress-like mud-brick building  having outer walls of 1.5 to 2 meters and standing two stories tall. (Lehmann and all, 2010). The floors were cobble and earth. Yet sometime after the Sea People took over the area an earthquake occurred causing the walls to fall inward. This debris preserved the artifacts then in the building. Besides various types of bowls a flint scythe was found with a shiny gloss on the blade indicating it had been used in nearby agriculture production. This shows that agriculture was returning and explains the focus of the text. After the earthquake a poor squatter’s settlement was built on top of the ruins.

Maps showing location of found Philistine Texts
Early Philistine sites are shown in red.

Philistine DNA Sites

(August 10, 2022)  Genetic studies show the Philistines were mostly European/Aegean in origin. A recent study compared 10 Bronze and Iron Age individuals from the Philistine city of Ashkelon. They found that the early Iron Age population of this city was genetically distinct from the Bronze Age people yet this genetic difference was no longer detectible in the later Iron Age population. 


Feldman, M; Master, D.M; Bianco, R.A.; Burri, M.; Stockhammer, P.W.; Mittnik, A.; Aja, A.J.; Jeong, C..; and Krause, J. (July 2019) Ancient DNA sheds light on the genetic origins of early Iron Age Philistines. Science Advances 03 Jul 2019: Vol. 5, no. 7, eaax0061. DOI: 0.1126/sciadv.aax0061. Online at:
Lake bottom Core sample data from the Sea of Galilee showing the droughts
Lake bottom Core sample data from the Sea of Galilee. In historical times it shows two major droughts. The 50 year long Great Drought of 1180 to 1140 BCE (Iron Age 1 period) which ended the Bronze Age (called the "Late Bronze Climate Crisis" in the chart) and the 10-year long Elijah drought of 850 BCE. The yellow gives the tree pollen level while the green gives the non-tree pollen level. Minor droughts are indicated anytime the curves turn downward. (Langut and Finkelsein 2013)

Droughts Defined the Archaeological Periods in the Levant

(August 9, 2022) Like most regions of the earth, correlating the archaeology of the southern levant with carbon 14 dating and absolute dating has been undergoing some debate. The best correlation with linguistics is the chronology proposed by Amihai Mazar in 2014. This chronology is reproduced below: 


Langut, D. Finkelsein, I, Litt, T. (2013) Climate and the Late Bronze Collapse: New Evidence from the Levant. Tel Aviv 40:149-175. Online at
Mazar, Amihai (2005) The Debate over the Chronology of the Iron Age in the Southern Levant: its History, the Current Situation and a Suggested Resolution. pp. 15-30 in: T. Levy and T. Higham (editors), The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating - Archaeology, Text and Science. London. Online at: