"Museo dei dolmen" (Dolmen Museum) is a virtual museum of Mediterranean and Western Europe prehistory and early history, set up and directed by Federico Bardanzellu.


Dolmen Museum     


Prehistory and Early History of the Mediterranean and Western Europe


Museo dei Dolmen


Movements of peoples in Mediterranean Sea between Bronze and Iron Age

1. Sea Peoples, who were they?  > Read more  

2. Iconography of the warriors > Read more

3. Bronze Age collapse > Read more


4. Origin area of the Sea Peoples      

guerrieri Meshwesh

Meshwesh warriors




Shekelesh warrior




Pelasgian warriors




Pelasgian prisoners at M.Habu



Mycenaean vase founded at Ras-Shamra



As shown above, it is possible to identify four basins of origin of the Sea Peoples. There seems to be no doubt that Lubu and Meshwesh, taking into account their hairstyle, originated from Africa; we can identify the first with the Libyans and the latter with the populations of the inland oasis, perhaps Nubians.

The provenance of Lukka, even described in some detail  in the Hittite archives, it seems quite certain  ancient Lycia (Arzawa); they, however, had access to the sea, otherwise Hammurapi III of Ugarit could not send them an armed fleet.

Lukka were, therefore, the ancestors of Lycians of the classical world. Also Weshesh (by: Asya = Asia Minor) should be native in southwestern Asia Minor (Caria?).




More difficulties arise for the identification of other ethnic groups.

  Anatolian area immediately east of Lycia, also dependent by the Hittite empire but in contact with the Semitic peoples, should be the homeland of the circumcised warriors Ekwesh, Shekelesh and Shardanas. In the final Bronze Age a place with such requirements can be identified with Cilicia and the nearby Pamphylia.

  In the Archaic period, the capital of this region  was the city of Sagalassos, that some studiouses have identified, by assonance, as the site of origin of Shekelesh.

  Teresh seem to originate from a neighboring area being of thr same cultural extraction of Shekelesh and wearing in an apparently very similar, although not circumcised.

  Many scholars have pointed out that, in Cilicia, very close to the city of Adana, where you can locate Denyen, it is situated the city of Tarsus (Semitic: Tarsish), whose inhabitants may have been Teresh.

  Until the Final Bronze Age, the area was under the control of the Hurites, a population ruled by a dynasty speaking an Indo-Aryan language, related to the ancient Hindi.

  It is possible that the language of Teresh,  Shekelesh and Shardanas belonged to the Indo-Aryan strain.

  We defer to carry out a thorough investigation on Ekwesh, given the absence of citations of this people in the reliefs of Medinhet Abu.



Finally, Pheleset, Tjeker and Denyen, who wear the same feathered headdress, would seem to have come from an Aegean area, extended to the south-western Anatolian coast and Cyprus.

  The overall characteristics of the army of the Sea Peoples, in fact, appear to be conform to the Greek-Mycenaean army  as reported in the Homeric poems: it appears as the expression of autonomous community-based staff, with its own territory, its complex ethnic structure, its own internal hierarchy.

  It 's interesting to note that in the Homeric poems one of the names by which it is indicated the greek army is Danaans. It's a minority designation  inside the corpus of the occurrences (only 159, compared with 723  of the  Achaeans  227 and of the Argives), but it would seem to indicate an ethnic group in its own right, the etymology of which fits quite well with that of Denyen of  Medinhet Abu. It's an ethnos also quite attached to Mycenaean eastern area. Mycenaean groups, in fact, began to settle in Anatolia and the Near East as early as the fifteenth century BC.




  In the age of the appearance of the Sea Peoples at the Egypt's borders, ceramics type Mycenaean IIIB was spread all over the eastern Mediterranean.

  Just in Cyprus, in that time, it has  concluded also a process of Mycenaeanisation of the island, that would form a dialect related to the Arcadian, a script similar to Linear B and the ethnos Da-du-na - as reported in Assyrian records - whose terminology is adapted to that of the Homeric Danaans. As mentioned, the sovereigns of the Danaans , (in the Akkadian form: Da-nu-na) are mentioned in a letter of Abimilki of Tyre, found in the archive of Ugarit. James Mellaart locates their kingdom near Adana (Cilicia, Turkey), from where the Danaans would sail to regain Cyprus, after the brief Hittite interlude in 1200 BC.

  It is not excluded that other related to Danaans populations from Cilicia are settled in Cyprus at the same time.



In the Homeric poems another ethnic group linked to the East Mycenaean can be identified among the allies of the Achaeans: the Teucers. This name is well suited to Tjekker, which Mellaart proposes to derive from Pamphylia (south western coast of Turkey) .

  The third people depicted with feathered headdress in Egyptian inscriptions, the Pheleset , is mirrored in the etymological Aegean. The Pheleset , in fact, can be identified with the Pelasgians, a populations living in remote areas of Greece (Arcadia, Thessaly, part of Crete, some of the Cyclades, not excluding the Aegean coast of Anatolia), and in that time, already fully Mycenaean.

  Most scholars believe that the sea people of Pheleset came from the island of Crete, called Keftiu, by the Egyptians. This is clear from the identification of Keftiu  with the Biblic name Caphtor, indicating the originary land of the Philistines, who - as you will - would not be other than the Pelasgians, settled in Palestine after the defeat of Djahy .

  These populations, although not all from Greece, were part of the Greek-Mycenaean Commonwealth, at least to share the same type of ceramics. This constitutes a substantial archaeological evidence to identify the expansion of the Sea Peoples around the Mediterranean costs, particularly when the findings of Mycenaean III C pottery at neutron analysis, it reveals not imported but produced on site.

  While Teucers and Danaans were definitely speaking a Greek language, it is still unclear what was the language spoken by the Pelasgians in the late thirteenth century BC .





5. Sea Peoples in the Syro-Palestinian Levant > Read more

6. Doric invasion in Greece > Read more

7. Sea Peoples in Sardinia and Corsica > Read more

8. Sea Peoples in Sicily and the Italian peninsula > Read more

9. The Iron Age > Read more

10. Phoenicians beyond Melqart Pillars > Read more

Credits - Text by  Federico Bardanzellu  2013      facebook