Genetic analysis pointed to the southern European origin of the mysterious people from the Bible

The biblical opponents of the Jewish people – the Philistines – appeared on ships and kept the name of “peoples of the sea.” The Old Testament relates their origins to Ham, but there is still no consensus among scholars on this subject. 

The new work done by Michal Feldman and her colleagues from the Max Planck Society for Human History Institute (MPI-SHH) can solve the ancient mystery.

In an article published in the journal Science Advances, scientists report on the analysis of nuclear DNA from 10 remains found in a Philistine burial of the 12th century BC. in Ashkelon. The oldest skeletons aged 3500-3700 years old were not genetically different from the local population of the same time.

However, the remains of the age of 3400-3150 years, features characteristic of the inhabitants of southern Europe. From 25 to 70 percent of their DNA is inherited from the “newcomers” and resemble the inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula, Sardinia and Aegean mine. However, they quickly “dissolved”, mixing with local peoples.

Apparently, the Philistines fled from the collapse that experienced in that era European society in the transition from the late Bronze to the Early Iron Age. New studies should more accurately identify their original homeland, although the ceramic artifacts of the Philistines in the first period of their stay in Israel and Syria are similar to those found in the ancient Mycenaean civilization.

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