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Philistine Origins (DNA)

New research on Philistine DNA reveals that the Biblical enemies of the Israelites were newcomers to the region in the 12th century BC. Where did they come from? Their genes suggest Southern Europe.

An international team, led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the Leon Levy Expedition, retrieved and analyzed, for the first time, genome-wide data from people who lived during the Bronze and Iron Age (~3,600-2,800 years ago) in the ancient port city of Ashkelon, one of the core Philistine cities during the Iron Age.

The team found that a European derived ancestry was introduced in Ashkelon around the time of the Philistines' estimated arrival, suggesting that ancestors of the Philistines migrated across the Mediterranean, reaching Ashkelon by the early Iron Age. This European related genetic component was subsequently diluted by the local Levantine gene pool over the following centuries, suggesting intensive admixture between local and foreign populations. These genetic results, published in Science Advances , are a critical step toward understanding the long-disputed origins of the Philistines.

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