Ancient DNA Study Showed That Philistines Were of European Descent

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A new ancient DNA study argues that the Philistines, which are mentioned several times in the Bible, wasn’t a part of the local populations of what is now contemporary Israel.

A team of international researchers analyzed the DNA of 10 individuals buried in a Philistine archeological site and concluded that they descend from the population of ancient Iberia (known today as Spain and Portugal), Greece and Sardinia. It is believed that they may have traveled across the Mediterranean during the end of the Bronze Age or the early days of the Iron Age, approximately 3,000 years ago.

The European legacy was quite short as the migrants interacted with the locals after they reached the southern Levant. In less than two centuries intermarriages rendered the genetic footprint impossible to detect as it appears to have been weakened by a nearby Levantine-heavy gene pool.

Philistines Were of European Descent, As Showed By An Ancient DNA Study

Researchers and historians have strived to solve the mystery of the Philistine origins for a long while. They are mentioned heavily in the Hebrew Bible (including the famous story of Samson and Delilah) while also appearing in select texts recovered from Egypt.

Archeological explorations uncovered a radical shift in culture which took place in the middle period between the end of the Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Architecture and pottery feature traits which were present in archaeological sites that date back to the Bronze Age Greece, according to a statement offered by one of the researchers who were involved in the study. These clues paved the way towards a theory which inferred that the Philistine culture which is observed during the Iron Age arrived from Greece. Opponents of the theory argued that the locals might have copied the design, or migrants came from other parts of Europe.

More than 100 specimens were sampled, but the researchers obtained viable ancient DNA from a relatively low number of 11 specimens which were recovered from ten individuals. The results were well-received by the scientific community, and the study was published in a scientific journal.

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