Tayinat: The Capital of the “Land of Palastin”

Tayinat Citadel

TAP excavations on the Tayinat Citadel.
(Photograph by Tim Harrison)


Science Daily is reporting that an archaeological team from the University of Toronto has discovered a temple in Turkey that sheds light on the transition between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. According to the report, the temple was built in the 10th/9th-centuries B.C., the same time Solomon was ruling in Jerusalem.

According to the report, the discovery by the Tayinat Archaeological Project (TAP) “casts doubt upon the traditional view that the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive.” The following is an excerpt from the article published by Science Daily:

Ancient sources — such as the Homeric epics and the Hebrew Bible — depict an era of widespread famine, ethnic conflict and population movement, most famously including the migrations of the Sea Peoples (or biblical Philistines) and the Israelites. This is thought to have precipitated a prolonged Dark Age marked by cultural decline and ethnic strife during the early centuries of the Iron Age. But recent discoveries — including the Tayinat excavations — have revealed that some ruling dynasties survived the collapse of the great Bronze Age powers.

“Our ongoing excavations have not only begun to uncover extensive remains from this Dark Age, but the emerging archaeological picture suggests that during this period Tayinat was the capital of a powerful kingdom, the ‘Land of Palastin’,” says Timothy Harrison, professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Toronto and the director of the project. “Intriguingly, the early Iron Age settlement at Tayinat shows evidence of strong cultural connections, if not the direct presence of foreign settlers, from the Aegean world, the traditional homeland of the Sea Peoples.”

The statement, “that during this period Tayinat was the capital of a powerful kingdom, the ‘Land of Palastin,’” is very intriguing because it confirms the presence of the Sea Peoples, especially the Philistines, in Asia Minor a few centuries after they entered the land of Canaan.

The report also says that the archaeological team from the University of Toronto will focus their excavation in 2009 (which begins on July 1) on the temple’s inner sanctuary, “the ‘holy of holies.”

It is hoped that this year’s excavation will shed light on Tayinat and the presence of the “Palastin” in that region.

HT: Jim West and Duane Smith

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

This entry was posted in Archaeology, Philistines and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Tayinat: The Capital of the “Land of Palastin”

  1. Anonymous says:

    >Dear Dr. Marriottini,I have been finding your blog interesting, informative, and enjoyable in recent weeks. I am not a professional scholar or archaeologist but as a layperson I have had a deep interest in archaeology and ancient history since the early 1990’s.Regarding Tayinat I will say this: The kingdom’s name Palastin might not have anything significantly to do with the biblical Philistines. The so-called Anatolian dark age of roughly 1200-750 or 1100-800 BCE appears to a scholarly error resulting from serious errors in the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt. It appears that many of the pharaohs have been dated three to eight centuries too far back in time; there is a great body of evidence in dynasty after dynasty, century after century that this is the case. I suggest that the appearance of the Anatolian “dark age” has resulted from artifacts in Anatolia being dated some four or five hundred years too early due to links to Egyptian materials that have been misdated. This has given the appearance of various aspects of human culture (pottery styles, writing styles, art styles etc) having stopped cold around 1200 BC, disappeared for gaps of some four or five hundred years, and then resumed again after the gaps in the same styles or stages of development as they were in just before the gaps. The dark age concept should have been considered highly unlikely, or even ridiculous, but the concept of ‘dark ages’ in Anatolia and Greece has nevertheless been accepted by generations of archaeologists and has led to many difficult problems in archaeology. At various sites, strata from the 13th/12th century BC have appeared to be directly under 8th/7th century BC strata, giving the appearance of a four or five or six hundred year time gap of no culture. This has led to the assumption that there was a dark age in which Anatolia became virtually depopulated and that various aspects of human culture came to a standstill or virtual standstill. A more sensible explanation is that some materials have been misdated to the 13th/12th centuries BC, thereby giving the illusion of a dark age.Velikovsky argued (I believe correctly) in ‘Peoples of the Sea’ that the Pereset or Peleset in the reliefs of Ramses III at Medinet Habu were Persian soldiers of the fourth century BC, not Philistines of the 12th century BC. Thus Ramses III should be identified with the fourth century BC king Nectanebo I (referred to as Nectanebis by Diodorus of Sicily) who defended Egypt against a sea-and-land invasion by Persian soldiers and Greek mercenaries in approximately 374-373 BC. By the way, in records of Ramses III, the more likely Egyptian pronunciation of Pereset vs. Peleset would have been Pereset rather than Peleset. Many modern scholars have chosen to read the ‘r’ as an ‘l’ because of their assumption that these warriors were the biblical Philistines. Research regarding Tayinat may suggest that the dark age wasn’t so dark after all. This would be a welcome conclusion but scholars could have come to it decades earlier if they had listened to Velikovsky. The notion of a mass migration of peoples-of-the-sea or “sea peoples” in the 12th century BC, sweeping with great destruction from the Aegean around the eastern Mediterranean until being resisted by Ramses III, appears to be based on an erroneous interpretation of the reliefs and records of Ramses III. Philistines and other enemies of Ramses III have been partially blamed for bringing on the Anatolian dark age, but I would say that the “dark age” is a fiction based on erroneous chronology and that the reliefs of Medinet Habu are about Persians, not Philistines.I recommend reading ‘Ages in Chaos’, ‘Ramses II and His Time’, and ‘Peoples of the Sea’ by Immanuel Velikovsky. A number of other authors have furthered the pioneering research into revising Egyptian chronology that Velikovsky began. A quick internet search on ‘ancient history revisions’ can help you to access an excellent internet paper by P John Crowe giving an overview regarding various authors (e.g., Donovan Courville, Eddie Schorr, Peter James, and others) who have argued that the that the conventional chronology of Egypt needs serious revisions. The internet paper at the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies website also discusses the so-called dark ages. Please know that I have written the above in an earnest attempt to be helpful to you and other scholars and interested laypersons.Adam


  2. >Dear Adam,Thank you for your thoughtful and interesting comment. From your comment it is clear that you have done a lot of reading on this subject. Very few lay people take an interest in archaeological studies and thus they miss a great opportunity to enlarge their field of knowledge.I am not an expert on Anatolian archaeology, even though I have a great deal of admiration for the Hittites who lived in Anatolia and established a great empire there.There is archaeological evidence for a dark age during the Middle Bronze and the end of the Late Bronze Age in Canaan. The reason for this dark age is debated among archaeologists, but the evidence is there. It is possible that the same events or situations that caused this cultural decline at the end of the Bronze age in Canaan also contributed to this period of decline in Anatolia.I know there are discrepancies in the chronology of Egypt, but I do not believe that it is up to eight centuries. I believe the archaeological evidence tends to negate your statement.Velikovsky’s theories have been highly debated and in part rejected by scholars. To say that the Peleset in the reliefs of Ramses III is a reference to Persian soldiers is an stretch of the imagination that no Palestinian or Egyptian archaeologist would accept.I will take some time to read some of the material you mentioned. Unless the evidence is very convincing, I doubt that I will change my mind. I am not convinced by theories but I am convinced by facts and evidence.Thank you for visiting my blog and for your insightful comment.Claude Mariottini


  3. Anonymous says:

    >Dear Dr. Marriotini,Thank you very much for your reply. And thank you for being willing to read some of the material I mentioned. I suggest that one of the most important works you can read on archaeology and ancient history is Velikovsky’s ‘Peoples of the Sea’. Here are a few points that may be of interest:The headgear of the Pereset in the reliefs of Medinet Habu of Ramses III resembles that of Persian guards in ancient Persian art.Remember those Pereset oxcarts in the reliefs of Medinet Habu, thought to represent the Philistines as a people on the move? Well, Herodotus mentioned that Persians brought carts with them on military expeditions, in which their concubines traveled.The Medinet Habu temple of Ramses III actually looks like several other Persian-era or Ptolemaic – era Egyptian temples; a child can see the resemblance. I suggest that the reason for the obvious resemblance is that the Ramses III’s temple was from very roughly around the same time as those other temples; it is not from way back in the 12th century BC. Medinet Habu is known to be one of the best preserved temples of Pharaonic Egypt and this too seems to me to be because it is younger than many others, i.e., it seems to be from the fourth century BC, not the 12th. Velikovsky’s ‘Peoples of the Sea’ discusses Pereset and Persian headgear, carts, and the Medinet Habu temple in more detail than I have here. But there is much more to the book than this.An excellent one-volume treatment or overview of Egyptian chronology is in ‘Unwrapping the Pharaohs’ co-authored by David Down. David Down is an archaeologist. He is editor of the Australian archaeology magazine ‘Archaeological Diggings’. A few pages in ‘Unwrapping the Pharaohs’ contain what I would consider “Creationist” material on geologic history, and that is not what I am recommending; however, the bulk of the book is about Egyptology and ancient history and is worth reading. The book is presented well with beautiful photographs. ‘Unwrapping the Pharaohs’ supports some of the most convincing ideas of Velikovsky, including the idea that the Pereset in the reliefs of Ramses III at Medinet Habu were Persians, not Philistines. Velikovsky’s ‘Peoples of Sea’ goes into much more depth and detailed documentation in many respects than the above book, and reading my comments is not a worthy substitute for actually reading a book of the depth and brilliance of ‘Peoples of the Sea’.I look forward to continuing to read at your blog and hopefully chiming in with comments from time to time. Adam


  4. Anonymous says:

    >Sorry, I forgot to mention that the oxcarts of the Pereset in the reliefs of Medinet Habu have women and children in them. Adam


  5. Anonymous says:

    >Dear Dr. Mariottini,I apologize for misspelling your last name in previous comments. I am writing to provide some additional information so that you and others can be aware of it. On September 29, 2008 I mailed a letter to Hershel Shanks, editor of ‘Biblical Archaeology Review’ (BAR), and later mailed a copy of the text of the letter to BAR Managing Editor Dorothy D. Resig. I have seen no reply from Hershel Shanks or other BAR staff. In part of the above letter to Hershel Shanks I stated the following (except that in the actual letter I used underlining instead of single quotation marks to indicate a book title): “In 2005 you wrote about the gap between archaeology and the Bible. Regardless of what one may think of ‘Worlds in Collision’, it appears that many scholars have not given adequate scholarly attention to ideas in Velikovsky’s later books, and to ideas of others who have criticized the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt. It appears to me that if mainstream archaeology had given Velikovsky’s later books adequate scholarly attention, the gap between the Bible and archaeology would not be so wide. In my view the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt probably, in effect, denigrates the heritage of Jews and Christians by misdating and thus obscuring evidence of events in the Hebrew Bible. Also it appears that the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt distorts the history of the ancient Near East.”In the above letter to Hershel Shanks I also raised an issue that I had raised in previous letters submitted to BAR which were not published. Referring to the former sister magazine of BAR, ‘Archaeology Odyssey’ (AO), I wrote that:“…articles that might have been published in AO were to be included in the new BAR (“Introducing the New BAR”, March/April 2006, p. 4). It seemed, from the editor’s note on page 50 of the November/December 2005 issue of AO, that there was more to come. So why has BAR not continued the series of articles on Velikovsky and challenges to the standard Egyptian chronology that AO started in 2005?”Page 50 of the November/December 2005 issue of AO included several letters regarding Velikovsky and/or Egyptian chronology, including an edited version of a letter from me (Adam Stuart). Page 50 also included the editor’s note which seemed to indicate that more about Velikovsky and Egyptian chronology was to come in AO. It has been more than three years since the suspension of AO in early 2006. Despite my letters to BAR staff, I have seen no reply from Hershel Shanks or other BAR staff to the above question. I suspect that some other readers would like an answer as well, as to why the “new BAR” has not continued the series of articles on Velikovsky and Egyptian chronology that was started in AO in 2005.Adam S.


  6. >Dear Adam,Don’t worry about misspelling my name, I lot of people do.You have to recognize that the reason Shanks did not publish your letter is because the views espoused by Velikovsky are very controversial and has been rejected by most credible historians, scientists, archaeologists, and biblical scholars.Velikovsky’s view is controversial because his conclusions go against the Bible, archaeology, and history. To be honest, no credible biblical scholars could accept Velikovsky’s view and be true to biblical history and the archeology of the Ancient Near East. Those who are interested in Velikovsky’s view can read the article on his theories published in the Wikipedia.Claude Mariottini


  7. Anonymous says:

    >Dr MariottiniVery much enjoy your site. Controversy.Interesting.When Einstein first came out with Relativity, it was said that only seven minds on the planet could understand it. It was against common sense – everyone knows that a straight line is always the shortest distance, time is the same everywhere, and people age the same whether they travel or not – to say otherwise was absurd – against science. Einstein was verified because in a time of war we needed the weapons his theory showed possible.Einstein’s letter to the president caused the Manhattan project, the bomb worked, and relativity was apparently verified for all to see. To say Einstein is ‘against science’ now would be absurd. Now that we understand his theories, Einstein IS science. Einstein and Velikovsky were best friends.Einstein spent many hours reviewing and analyzing Velikovsky’s work. Notes in the margins of Worlds in Collision in Einstein’s hand underscore the interest he took in the theories and the implications. Basically, their discussion came to a point, which was central – namely – does Jupiter emit radio waves or not? It was ‘known’ at the time by all credible astronomers – that Jupiter was a cold inert ball of hydrogen gas – too far from the sun – too cold and void of any activity that could cause cloud motionTherefore there could not possibly be lightning discharges or the accompanying radio static that we all hear on AM radio during thunderstorms. Absolutely not – Jupiter would not emit any sort of radio waves at all. No controversy there – no one ever even looked. Why would they? All the credible professionals agreed – except one. In 1950, only Velikovsky, publicly and in continued discussions with Einstein, maintained that Jupiter would be a hotbed of activity, its own source of heat, electrically and magnetically active, and – with its clouds in motion and lightning discharges occurring continuously all over the planet, the radio noise to be expected would be immense – unmistakable and easy to detect. InterestinglyShortly after their discussion had come to this point, the radio waves were accidentally discovered as a radio telescope turning from one star to the other crossed jupiter’s position in the sky. The NOISE blew their ears off! The discovery was phenomenal in its importance. Einstein understood its significance, and instructed his secretary, Helen Dukas, to draft his second letter to the president, recommending that further aspects of Velikovsky’s theories be investigated. Einstein was interviewed, and commented favorably on Worlds in Collision.He was found dead shortly thereafter, before he could sign that second letter.Worlds in Collision lay open on his desk.Einstein was not a credible scientist – he was far beyond that – he was incredible. He was willing to put the theory to physical test.Velikovsky has already been proven correct on many aspects of his theory that have now indeed become amenable to physical testing – magnetism on the moon, moonquakes, radioactivity in the rayed craters – all of these were specifically predicted by Velikovsky to be found on the moon while all credible astronomers expected no such things. To them, the moon had seen no activity for billions of years, and would be covered with 50 feet of light, flour-like space dust. The lunar lander was given round, pie-plate shaped feet, curved especially to even out the stresses so the lander would not sink into this extremely fine dust of the expected undisturbed eons. Velikovsky said there would be virtually no dust at all, and that the surface would be sand that was recently heated to the point it had melted to become glass! The New York Times printed his predictions in the morning edition the day of the moon landing. There was no dust. The glass was there -with only enough patina from cosmic rays to clock a few thousand years – not eons – the radioactivity, the subsurface thermal gradient – everything Velikovsky alone predicted was verified. All the credible astronomers were wrong on every single count. This is a matter of history. Velikovsky is not the first to recognize that ancient history was inflated with centuries that never were – it was the politics of the day to do so – so say some of the original contemporary historic sources! Isaac Newton himself had devoted many years to chronology and had already come to similar reductionist conclusions. Velikovsky added the insight of astronomical and physical climate change as a verifying factor. People, deciding only with their own perhaps well intentioned non-physical criteria for themselves or for others what is credible or not, can come to all the professional consenses they like – and perhaps content even themselves with that. However well accepted though, it is ultimately non-physical, and therefore entirely baseless.Physical tests have already been done where Velikovsky’s revised chronology is concerned. Bruce A. Mainwaring of the University of Pennsylvania carbon dated palm kernels and other items from King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1969 the year of the moon landing at Velikovsky’s request. The results verified Velikovsky’s reduced chronology. The results ruled out the conventional chronology as impossible. Just recently, a statue of the boy king’s mother was unearthed, just beneath the 700 BC layer, as one would expect from Velikovsky’s chronology. While Glasgow and others find reasons to question, others like Emmet Sweeny articulate reasons to investigate, and the vistas are productive and insightful. I look forward to the day when physical tests, not any other criteria, are used to date artifacts, and put our history in its proper order. The fact that tests such as these have already verified the reduced chronology that Velikovsky and now, even others are calling for, is astoundingly significant, yet, alas, still largely unknown. These results have not been published or become widely known at all – because the British Museum chose not to publish the results. [The full Mainwaring correspondence the so called ‘ASH correspondence’ can be seen at varchive.org]This dismissal of results, suppression of results, and refusals – for non-physical reasons – to perform new tests where there might be any doubt -this track record of inexcusable scholarly misconduct for more than forty years now is the reason why especially now, the controversy is so important. There really is controversy here. It runs deep. It is not going away. The tests NEED to be done. Again. Openly. Everywhere applicable. Period. And performed properly, and published. As physical tests become possible, allNon-physical bases for chronology are no longer acceptable as valid scholarship. In that regardTo bet against Velikovsky is not a risk that I would take, given the track record. It would be the height of hubris to argue for any reason against such tests – Let the centuries fall where they may – let the tests be done!How long shall we waver between two opinions?Is Velikovsky against the Bible – really ? People have been all over the place on this one – they have issues, I guess.Scientists say Velikovsky is against Science because he tries to Prove the Bible and bring back old time religion! Religious people say he is against the Bible because he tries to use Science to show that the miracles were understandable physical events.A religious person trying to do archaeology or science might argue with himself about Velikovsky!The way to really know what Velikovsky is for or against is to read his own words – all of them – I have – and the read is well worth it – and worthy of continuing investigation. Velikovsky actually said that the rabbis were right when they said stones fall from the sky. The rabbis even went on to say that the same stones from the sky that fell during the plague of hail in Egypt flew in the sky for the intervening fifty years and also fell on the battlefield of Joshua. For centuries it was considered absurd that stones should fall from the sky – they are too heavy to lift – how can they fly? Only peasants an other non-credible people would say such crazy things. At L’Aigle France, the academy of Science was the site of an immense and profuse meteor fall, and it was finally admitted in the modern scientific world that stones do indeed fall from the sky. Orbital debris collision families follow elliptical orbits – that intersect earth. From a recent collision it would be expected to experience this heavy concentrated area of the debris still only beginning its dispersion throughout the full orbital ellipse only a generation later. By now these ellipses of debris have thinned and evened out, yet are still experienced by earth every year. Napier and Clube pointed to these in their own work on the subject. Although they disagree with Velikovsky in some particulars, their work also makes an important contribution and is also worthwhile. I found the Wikipedia article you recommended to be surprisingly fair and accurate, and that it covered the scope of the controversy well – it was actually an excellent recommendation for beginners – except for the material that was not elaborated on there – which would and does cover volumes. Charles Ginenthal has authored volumes addressing in complete detail every aspect of the arguments raised for and against Velikovsky’s theories over the years, and are very worthwhile to read. Leroy Ellenberger has indeed raised every argument he can think of, as well, so the literature is indeed replete – with – interesting controversy. Reading each one alone you might think they were right – until you read the other one also… If someone were to take the word only of people who dismiss Velikovsky, they might never read further – nor ever become aware of even the things briefly discussed here. Most people – even professionals – are entirely unaware of Velikovsky’s extensive chronological work – they are aware only of the furor surrounding Worlds in Collision, and whatever people like Carl Sagan had to say. Carl Sagan’s involvement with Velikovsky’s theories has been the subject of many posts, yet few know that Ann Druyan believed in Velikovsky’s theories. I am sure their romance was spiced with interesting controversy. I believe most archaeologists now, though, are still not even aware of the implications and relevance of Velikovsly’s reduced chronology, let alone the testing that has already been done to verify it. Further tests need to be done, and not simply dismissed or left unpublished. To be honest, one must actually perform the physical tests, and acknowledge the results. Only that behavior honors the Bible, History, Astronomy, Science and every noble endeavor. Velikovsky has always advocated that these necessary physical tests be performed. Every time they have been, he was validated. It is for us – especially as professionals – to acknowlege the importance of the controversy itself, and perform the physical tests. The controversy is there – and it runs deep. Otherwise it would never have made the pages of Archaeological Odyssey. It is that important – to have made it there. Sadly, though, it seems you are indeed correct in this case – for political reasons that alas still run deep – pressures have apparently yet again been brought to bear.Archaeological Odyssey’s brave foray into the controversy has been shut down.I say they are heroes already for having the Guts to Try.Thank you for the space to commentWould you advocate physical tests? Johnny C GodowskiElectrical Engineer


  8. >Dear Johnny,Thank you for your comment. I welcome discussion and different views on issues because this is a good way of teaching and learning.I do not doubt that Velikovsky was a good scientist whose theories were controversial. This is what happens with most geniuses. In addition, I do not doubt that some of his scientific theories about celestial bodies and other phenomena in nature were important and true, anticipating the confirmation by other scientists by many years.This is possible because the laws of the universe are constant and reliable. Thus, by observing the laws of nature, Velikovsky could postulate lightning discharges and radio static on Jupiter, but issues dealing with archaeology and history are different.Archaeology produces a mute witness of the past; therefore, it requires interpretation. Scientific theories can be deduced from observation; archaeological conclusions must be derived from interpretation. The same thing happens with history. History is a selective collection of facts and events put together by the historian and any evaluation of historical events also depends on interpretation. Velikovsky may have been a great scientist but he probably was not a field archaeologist. He could look at the laws of nature and develop a scientific theory. However, since he was not a field archaeologist, he had to interpret the evidence and interpretations such as his are generally wrong.I am at a disadvantage in this dialogue because I have not read Worlds in Collision. So, this is what I will do: I will read the book this summer and by the end of the summer I will write a post on Velikovsky’s view. Until then, I will close comments on this post because I do not want to continue this dialogue since I have not read the book and am discussing the issues with a firm grasp of Velikovsky’s views.Thank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini


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