"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 Sea Peoples  > Read more


5. Sea Peoples in Syro-Palestinian Levant                                     


  Instruction of Amenemope


            Philistine Canopus


       Ruins of Dor (Israel)


Ugaritic deity of lightning with

horned and stretched headdress


      In Papyrus Harris, Ramses III prides itself on being gone to fight Danaans in their islands (and this confirms their presence in Cyprus), have taken prisoners Libyans and Shardanas and destroyed Pelasgians and Teucers. In fact, after the victories, in Djahy and Delta, Ramses should have allowed his opponents to settle in the land of Canaan , as vassals.

  Two papers, anyway, that attest the presence of the Sea Peoples in Palestine, in the twelfth century, contradict the tone of propaganda of Papyrus Harris .

In the Egyptian work the "Istruction of Amenemope", written circa 1100 BC, there is a geographical description  of the towns of Syria and Palestine, with an indication of the people that live there. The text mentions the city of Askhelon, Ashdod and Gaza, as the seat of the Pelasgians and other locations further north, the name of which - unfortunately - is incomplete, inhabited by Teucers and Shardanas, according to a geographical order.

  Askhelon, Ashdod and Gaza are three cities that the Bible mentions as inhabited by the Philistines. Even on the basis of these indications , in fact, it is commonly accepted that, after the defeat against the Egyptians of Ramses III, Pheleset would be stabilized in the land still called Palestine, from their biblical name of Philistines.

  What was the main city of the Teucers can be seen in another Egyptian text, the novel "The Journey of Wenamun" approx in 1080 BC.: in it the city of Dor, on the coast of Palestine, is defined as "the city of Teucers".

  The Shardanas should therefore have established further north, roughly in current Galilee. In the the archaeological excavations in the region, we note that Mycenaean III B ceramic  suddenly everywhere disappears, circa 1200. In addition, on the levels that reveal a violent destruction, it reappears next type Mycenaean III C 1 b ceramics  (monochromatic pottery 1175-1125). This type of pottery, according to most archaeologists , is due to the Sea Peoples.


The distribution of the population sees a large territory in southern Palestine, since before Gaza until Tell Qasile, as well as Jaffa and off until the early foothills of the interior, in the hands of the Philistines, and to the north, an entity with the coastal port of Dor and center Megiddo, within a radius of territory that includes the foothills of Phoenicia, Galilee and other areas to the south, inhabited by the Teucers, by Danaans and the Shardanas.

  Missing, for the twelfth century, the archaeological evidence attesting the presence of Sea Peoples in central Palestine and in the south-east hills, which are presumed to be inhabited by the Israelites.

  The Bible considers the area around Megiddo inhabited by Israelite tribes of Asher, Issachar and Zebulun; beyond the Jordan, around the Golan Heights, there was the territory of the tribe of Dan.

  Etymological correspondences and other passages of the Bible allow us to state that these tribes were not composed by Israelite or Jewish populations but by Sea Peoples. In particular, we can attribute the tribe of Dan to Danaans, the tribe of Issachar to Teucers, and that of Zebulun  to Shardanas. The tribe of Asher, still deriving from the Sea Peoples , was perhaps composed of mixed population. Dor was probably a "free port" or a common outlet to the sea.

  Further north, there were only ruins of Ugarit , while in Cilicia, on the eastern shores of the ancient territory of Arzawa and the area around Carchemish, had disappeared the use of cuneiform writing.

  The few documents that remain are written in hieroglyphic Luwian and in the language of Lukka. For this reason, these  Iron Age cultures were denominated "Neo-Luwians" or "Eastern-Luwians" by the archaeologist. Anyway, they are  composite cultures, resulting by a mixture of populations, among which, in addition to Lukka, it could not miss the descendants of Teresh, Shekelesh and other Shardanas.

  One part of these peoples, moreover, as a result of the upheavals occurred around 1200 BC, may have refugees in Cyprus, where probably lived other Danaans, or in the Syrian coast, near the ancient Ugarit destroyed by Shekelesh.


Most scholars believe that Pheleset came from the island of Crete, called Keftiu by the Egyptians. This would be deduced from the identification of the toponym Keftiu with Bible Caphtor, the land of origin of the Philistines, who - as we will see - would be no more than the Pelasgians who settled in Palestine after the defeat of Djahy.
  These populations, although not all originating from Greece, were part of the Greek-Mycenaean Commonwealth, at least to share the type of ceramics. This constitutes a consistent archaeological clue, to identify the expansion of the sea Peoples in the Mediterranean basin, in particular when the findings of the Mycenaean III C type ceramics in particular when the latter, to neutron analysis, turns out not to be imported but locally produced.
  While Teucers and Danaans were certainly Greek language speakers, it is not yet clear which language was spoken by Pelasgians at the end of 13th century. B.C..


In Palestine, the appearance of two-tone type Mycenaean III C 1 c ceramic (1125 BC) shows the expansion of the Sea Peoples, but mainly of the Philistines, on the all land of Canaan.

   The latter, in fact, seem to have made vassal the Jewish tribes and reunited the north territories of the Teucers due to the mastery of the technique of smelting iron to make more effective weapons.

   After some struggles, moreover, seem to have assimilated or made ​​vassals also their former allies (the biblical Samson, great opponent and a prisoner of the Philistine people came from the tribe of Dan, and therefore belonged to the people of Danaans), although now also equipped with iron weapons.

What had happened? To understand this you need to go back to investigate the contemporary situation of ancient Greece. 


 6. The Doric invasion of 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