First ever Philistine graveyard found in Ashkelon

The discovery of a large 3,000-year old Philistine 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 more than a century of archaeological investigation of the five Philistine cities

As one excited archeologist put it: “We found plenty of pots, but never before met a Philistine face to face.”

The rich find of 160 bodies dated from the 11th to 8th centuries BCE on the southern coast of Israel will finally throw light on the origins of the mysterious people recorded in Biblical lore as producing Goliath, whom David downed with a slingshot, and Delilah, the siren who seduced Samson into having his hair cut

An adult burial in the Ashkelon cemetery features a small juglet which most likely once held perfume and was placed near the nose of the deceased at the time of interment.

The Ashkelon Expedition was led from 1985 by Lawrence Sager, Harvard emeritus professor and Assaf Yasur-Landau of Haifa University. "The search [for a cemetery] became so desperate that archaeologists …began to joke that they were buried at sea like the Vikings," Yasur-Landau explained.

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