Abstract: Sea Peoples and Neo-Hittites in the ‘Land of Palistin’: Recent Discoveries at Tell Tayinat on the Plain of Antioch


Recent archaeological discoveries have begun to challenge the prevailing view of the Early Iron Age (ca. 1200-900 BCE) as an era of cultural devolution and ethnic strife, or a ‘Dark Age’, in the eastern Mediterranean, as depicted in the Homeric epics and the Hebrew Bible. The University of Toronto excavations at Tell Tayinat, on the Plain of Antioch, have begun to uncover the remains of an extensive settlement from this period. The emerging archaeological picture points to the rise of a powerful regional kingdom associated with ‘the Land of Palistin’, comprised of an intriguing amalgam of Aegean, Anatolian (Luwian) and Bronze Age West Syrian cultural traditions. Palistin resurfaces in ninth century Neo-Assyrian sources as the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Patina, though within diminished political borders, and is eventually destroyed in 738 BCE by the Neo-Assyrian empire builder Tiglath-pileser III, who transforms Tayinat into a provincial capital. This lecture will review the results of the ongoing Tayinat Archaeological Project investigations, and the historical insights they have provided to date.


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