Philistine Bichrome ware
Philistine Bichrome ware is believed to have derived from a mixture of imported Mycenaean pottery from Cyprus, and local Canaanite monochrome ware. It is found widely in the Philistine coastal areas of Israel/Palestine, Lebanon and as far as Syria.
Philistine Bichrome ware is believed to be the direct descendant of imported MYCIIIC:1b pottery (MYC = Mycenaean), which was manufactured in Cyprus and imported to ancient Canaan, and locally made MYCIIIC:1b or monochrome ware, which was manufactured at settlements in Canaan.
MYCIIIC:1b or monochrome ware was found in high-distribution during the Iron IA period (1200 - 1140/30 BCE) at the Philistine settlements of Ashdod (Stratum XIIIb: Area G; in general, Stratum XIII: Area H) and Ekron (Tel Miqne: Stratum VII). MYCIIIC:1b was also found in smaller quantities at Acre, Beit She'an, and along the coast of Lebanon and Syria.
Neutron analysis of Philistine Bichrome ware has found that it may have been made in the same workshop, locally in Canaan, as its predecessor, MYCIIIC:1b. It first appears in the mid-12th Century BCE, during Iron IB (1140/30 - 1000/980 BCE) at sites such as Ashdod (Stratum XII), Megiddo (Stratum VIB). It was mainly confined to the Philistine settlements with some distribution throughout ancient Canaan.
Stylistic features include the use of decoration with red and black paints (thus, bichrome) on a white slip with common Mycenaean motifs of birds, fish, and sailing vessels. While the shape of the pottery retains its Mycenaean roots, Cypriot influence is seen by the use of tall and narrow necks. Stylistic representations of birds in the Mycenaean style which are found on Bichrome ware were considered to be sacred and are also featured on the Philistine ships in the reliefs from Ramesses III (20th Dynasty) mortuary temple at Medinet Habu in Thebes (modern Luxor), Egypt, which depicts his battle with the Sea Peoples in the eighth year of his reign known as the Battle of the Delta ca. 1175 BCE (the traditional date; alternative date of 1178 BCE).
This form of pottery lasted until ca. 1000 BCE.
Philistine Bichrome ware is related to Cypriot Bichrome ware. 'Bichrome Red ware' from Cyprus is also relevant.
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- E. Oren (ed). The Sea People and Their World: A Reassessment. University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, 2000.
- A. Mazar. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000 - 586 BCE. Doubleday: New York, 1992.
- T. Levy (ed). The Archaeology of Society in the Holy Land. Facts on File: New York, 1995.
- See Amihai Mazar, "The Emergence of Philistine Material Culture," IEJ 1985 35:95-107; and Israel Finkelstein, "The Philistine Settlement: When, Where and How Many," Pp. 159-180 in E, Oren, (ed). The Sea People and Their World: A Reassessment. University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, 2000; Israel Finkelstein, "A Low Chronology Update: Archaeology, history and bible," Pp. 31-42 in: T. Levy and T. Higham (eds.), The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating – Archaeology, Text and Science. Equinox: London, 2005. Available online:  [Accessed: April 5, 2008]; and Amihai Mazar’s discussion of the same: "The Debate over the Chronology of the Iron Age in the Southern Levant: Its history, the current situation and a suggested resolution". Pages 15-30 in: T. Levy and T. Higham (eds.), The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating – Archaeology, Text and Science. Equinox: London, 2005. Available online:  [Accessed: April 5, 2008].
- A. Mazar. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000 - 586 BCE, Doubleday: New York, 1992, p. 307.
- Philistine Bichrome Ware [Accessed: April 7, 2008]
- A. Mazar, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000 - 586 BCE. Doubleday: New York, 1992, pp. 313-317.