Disentangling entangled objects: Iron Age inscriptions from Philistia as a reflection of cultural processes

Brent Davis, Aren M. Maeir, Louise A. Hitchcock

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14 Scopus citations


In recent years, the need has arisen for more complex interpretive frameworks for understanding the character of ancient intercultural connections. In many cases, such interconnections cannot be explained through simplistic notions such as 'migration', 'colonization', 'internal development', or 'acculturation'. The transformation of Philistine culture during the Iron Age is such a case: previous, all-too simplistic, explanations have insufficiently elucidated the complex nature of the cultural processes evident in the archaeological and historical record. Recently, two of the present authors have argued for the use of a transcultural 'entangled' perspective, whereby a complex process of multivalent negotiations and interactions between groups of different origins, as well as an appropriation of foreign, local and hybridized objects within these groups, progressively changes this culture of the southern Coastal Plain of Israel. Such processes are evident in the inscriptions from Iron Age Philistia, which occur in a variety of media, scripts and contexts. In this paper, we scrutinize how these different factors inform the function and symbolic significance of this (still rather limited) corpus of inscriptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-166
Number of pages27
JournalIsrael Exploration Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


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