Talk:Sea Peoples

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Contradiction in Article[edit]

The article claims Maspero coined the term sea peoples but later claims that Merenptah called them peoples of the sea. This needs correction. John D. Croft (talk) 21:52, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Cambridge Ancient History on Sea Peoples[edit]

The Cambridge Ancient History has a link on the Sea Peoples to the Story of Mopsus ("the calf"), whose story seems linked to Cilicia, to the Libyans and to Ashkelon. This has connections to the Adana/Denyen/Danaan connection too.John D. Croft (talk) 13:24, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Alternative Theories on the Sea People[edit]

Given the many alternative theories shown here, perhaps we need a new Wikipedia Article on these topics. John D. Croft (talk) 13:26, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Varangians, Vikings. Miklagård was Istanbul. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Connection to the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer - Radical Suggestion[edit]

The Sea Peoples were, in my humble opinion, the people that Odysseus met in Scheria who helped him return to Ithaca. It is said that some Greek goddess, after the Phaeacians of Scheria gave Odysseus a passage home to Ithaca, turned their ship into stone and it sank. I interpret this as a metaphor for the ship having failed to return to Scheria. I make a tentative guess that the Phaeacians saw the cause of the disappearance of their ship as an attack by either the people of Ithaca or a neighboring civilization. In the last book of the Odyssey, Homer mentions that the (what I believe is metaphorical) transfiguration of their ship into stone made the Phaeacians regretful for their hospitality. As hospitality was viewed as very important by the people of the day, including the Phaeacians themselves, as it is today, such a disappearance of their ship could, especially since their ship was very seaworthy and unlikely to be destroyed by the forces of nature, be interpreted rather rashly as an act of war.

I think it makes sense because of the timing, especially. The Trojan War took place at around 1190 BC, and the invasion of the Sea Peoples took place at just around that time. I also believe it is noteworthy that the Phaeacians, somehow or another, knew about the outcome of the Trojan War and even of the Trojan horse stratagem of Odysseus, and in fact performed it on stage to entertain Odysseus (of course, King Alcinous, upon seeing Odysseus weeping, realized that the person who had washed ashore was in fact Odysseus himself!).

This implies that the civilization wasn't as secluded as they may have implied, as when Nausicaa, the King's daughter, said that "we are the farthest of all mortals." As I believe Scheria was in fact Bermuda, as there were olive trees growing on its shore, and the Olivewood is endemic to Bermuda, in addition to Scheria having been placed extremely far away from Ithaca in the "River Oceanus," which I believe is nothing other than the Gulf Stream, I hypothesize that the fact that the Scherians knew of the exploits of Odysseus merely ten years after the story of the Trojan horse forces us to conclude that the Scherians were conducting secret reconnaissance of the Mediterranean region in some way or another.

It is clear that they could not have known about the Trojan war and the horse stratagem unless they were somehow a seafaring civilization which could sail to and from the Western Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and far beyond perhaps, and the fact that others were not aware of them during that time implies that they were actively concealing themselves rather than peacefully conducting trade with local civilizations or otherwise making themselves known. It is also possible that they were collecting intelligence through a spy network of some sort.

In any case, I believe that the Phaeacians, whose hospitality must not be taken to be necessarily peace-loving, either to gain glory in defeating the Mycenaeans who had triumphed over Troy, or in believing that their hospitality was offended and their ship besieged and sunk, gathered their fellow island civilizations, and designed to attack and conquer the Mediterranean civilizations and colonize their land. I find the disappearance of the ship to be a plausible cause for war, especially given the way people in that age had a high sense of honor and sought vengeance for actions that might seem rather petty and inconsequential today; i.e. a ten year war fought for one abducted woman. It is also known that cultures that are known for their hospitability to strangers are, somewhat counterintuitively, the most warlike (i.e. the antebellum South, the Mycenaean Greeks, and I daresay, the Phaeacians).

This argument, I concede, is hard to substantiate, as it is based on literary interpretation. I am by no means an expert on Homer's works, but I have somewhat of a sixth sense on matters like these. =) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:30, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

  • There is a link to Eberhard Zangger's article at Saudi Aramco. Make sense
    • How come they missed that? Because of the last sentence?

"Labu: This tribe from which the land of Libya takes its name is sometimes called the Labu, Libu, or Rebu, and appears in many Egyptian texts, such as the inscriptions on the temple at Medinet Habu. The earliest of these texts is the Papyrus Anastasi II in Dynasty XVIII and appear in texts, if only rarely, up until Dynasty XXI. It is unclear for certain where the Labu originated, but they may have originated from west of the region of Libya. It is clear, however, that along with other tribes such as the Meshwesh they replaced the pervious inhabitants of Libya at some time during the New Kingdom. If the Labu are from the west of Libya, then it seems strange to associate them so closely with the Sea Peoples, even if the Labu do fight alongside the Sea Peoples against the Egyptians. Another theory, though, is that the Libu originated in the Balkans and were driven to migration by the Illyrians, with the Libu finally settling in Libya. The other Sea Peoples are generally thought to have originated in the Aegean, in the case of the Peleset, or in Anatolia, in the case of many of the other Sea Peoples tribes. The Labu are characterized by a number of features when they are depicted in Egyptian reliefs, such as fair skin, red hair, and blue eyes. They also wore ornamental cloaks, had one lock of hair, and were tattooed on their arms and legs."

Conclusion. DNA proved that 18-19th dynasty were "R" DNA, probably come as Hyksos. There is also proof that there is more red hair and blue eyes in royal dynasty- on Mitani side. Also that Akhenaton was influenced by Vedas by his Mitani wife Nefertiti. Labu could be expeled-refugees from Hittite-Mitani-Egypt business and they could spark this war, probably dynastic fight for the thrones, what could actualy be wars between Hittites,Mitanis and Egypt as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lapsoo (talkcontribs) 13:16, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

I love Salimbeti's 'Holodeck' page[1], but he's hardly a source to take seriously on Wikipedia. And your sources go downhill from there. Please read WP:VERIFY and WP:RS. We should be using academic sources here, not fringe or amateur sources. The Libu article is certainly right in suggesting a relationship to Berbers, an ethnically mixed group. The article should probably mention that the Libu occasionally allied with the Hyksos. Zangger fails WP:RS even as fringe - no serious discussion I can find in mainstream sources. Dougweller (talk) 15:09, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

"Generally accepted outline of the Sea People’s incursions leaves many of its most significant questions unanswered. We still do not know either the origins or the motives of the Sea People. It is also hard to understand why they did not attempt to permanently subdue the countries they overwhelmed. Finally, virtually nothing is known about the fate of the Sea People themselves following these crisis years.Now that there is a wealth of highly specific information in hand from numerous excavations and text sources relevant to those years, scholars have become more and more inclined to think that the time has come to begin solving some of these riddles. Although a search for a unifying explanation began some time ago, and academic conferences abound on the crisis years, the Sea People, and the Trojan War, there has still been little progress toward a plausible explanation for this watershed in history. Some archeologists suggested that the Sea People may have been invaders from central Europe. Others saw them as scattered soldiers who turned to piracy, or who had become refugees. For a long time, researchers sought to explain the transformations around 1200 BC by invoking natural disasters such as earthquakes or climatic shifts, but earthquakes on such a broad geographic scale are unheard of, and no field evidence has indicated significant climatic change. Currently, very few—if any—archeologists would consider the Sea People to have been identified. I stumbled on these problems, mostly by accident, in an unlikely place. In the spring of 1990, I was writing up the conclusions of my dissertation research, which had involved several years of investigation in the Mycenaean heartland, searching out clues to determine what the landscape of the Bronze Age had been. The work had little to do with the Sea People." Fringe or amateur sources are ussualy colections of academic sources under "connect the dots" rule. I added 2 academic sources. First to Akhenaten's connection to Vedas and above with his own quote to prove that it is academic.

What academic sources? Kak's a computer scientist and that's self-published. What sources do you have that have gone through peer review, been published by an academic press, etc? Dougweller (talk) 15:46, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Confusing sentence in introductory paragraph needs rewrite[edit]

What on earth does this mean:

The problem with such statements is that between the gentilic nomenclature and the one of the hapiru last several centuries (Hapiru are renown since the II millenium B. C.), in between nobody could deny that there was no references to "Hebrews" as a nation, until properly the epoch of the Sea Peoples invasion; only in the times of Merneptha, in fact, we have the prime mention to a "seed of Israel". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikeblyth (talkcontribs) 14:46, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

The writing is so awful, it's hard to tell, so I removed it. I also removed the preceding bit, as it references both sides of the controversy over Habiru, but is a bit undue to bring all that into an article about Sea Peoples where it is only tangential. Readers can click on Habiru to find the various arguments about them one way or the other - not read a proxy debate about it here, where it is only tangential, and there are already enough controversies surrounding the actual topic, Sea Peoples. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 15:34, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Help needed: Relevance of Manuel Robbins[edit]

See talk page of Bronze Age collapse:

The relevance of a very popular author is in question.
Does anybody know Manuel Robbins? Is he relevant?
See the talk page. Thank you. --Thorwald C. Franke (talk) 21:44, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

B class?[edit]

This article was first rated as a B class in 2007 by someone using AWB. I cannot see how this can possible be a B class article. It is a jumble of single sentence paragraphs, hypotheses with seemingly WP:OR conclusions, and sections that appear out of nowhere.

I believe a large amount of work is necessary to get this to B standard, which is not warranted here at present. While there is a great deal of factual information from the Egyptian records, a lot of the rest of it is badly written and non-factual. I believe the page should be split to leave the Egyptian parts here, with the majority of the "hypotheses" sections removed to a separate article and a summary left behind in a single section.

The article states that the wars between Egypt and the Sea People were 1236-23 BC and during the 20th dynasty (most notably Ramses III) between 1198–66 BC. From the point of view of Cyprus, the main influx of peoples were the Mycaenean Greeks starting in 1400 BC, and greatly increasing in a second wave between 1100-1050 BC after the collapse of the MG. Personally, I would find it difficult to imagine anyone other than the MG being the sea peoples. These are the Ekwesh mentioned in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (used as one of the main sources)

To get to a B class, an article should show that:

  1. The article is suitably referenced, with inline citations where necessary. It has reliable sources, and any important or controversial material which is likely to be challenged is cited.
  2. The article reasonably covers the topic, and does not contain obvious omissions or inaccuracies. It contains a large proportion of the material necessary for an A-Class article, although some sections may need expansion, and some less important topics may be missing.
  3. The article has a defined structure. Content should be organized into groups of related material, including a lead section and all the sections that can reasonably be included in an article of its kind.
  4. The article is reasonably well-written. The prose contains no major grammatical errors and flows sensibly, but it certainly need not be "brilliant". The Manual of Style need not be followed rigorously.
  5. The article contains supporting materials where appropriate. Illustrations are encouraged, though not required. Diagrams and an infobox etc. should be included where they are relevant and useful to the content.
  6. The article presents its content in an appropriately understandable way. It is written with as broad an audience in mind as possible. Although Wikipedia is more than just a general encyclopedia, the article should not assume unnecessary technical background and technical terms should be explained or avoided where possible.

I believe that only 1 and 2 are met, with the greatest problems in 3, 4 and 6. I also believe there is little archaeological evidence, and that the references used have been somewhat misrepresented. For example the EB states "Tentative identifications". Identification of the Sea People is from Egyptian and Hittite sources, but the majority of the hypotheses sections refer to civilisations and people that are out of the time frame, or plainly wrong.

  • The "Mycenaean warfare hypothesis" section states that "There would have been few or no external invaders and just a few excursions outside the Greek-speaking part of the Aegean civilization."
This is blatantly incorrect. The MG roamed far and wide, from the Wikipedia article on them: "Mycenaean pottery, for example, has been found in Sardinia,[27] Southern Italy and Sicily,[28] Asia Minor[29] (i.e. Milawatta or Miletus, Iasus and Ephesus[30][31][32] where high-quality Palace style and Mycenaean ceramics have been recovered[33]) Cyprus,[34] the Levant,[35] and Egypt (especially Tell el Amarna)" I have also included some of the history of Cyprus (see above) which shows that the MG had taken Cyprus as their own from 1400 BC to 1050 BC. Crete (MG's main southern island - inc. Knossos) and Cyprus lie to the north of Egypt, and are both only 250 miles from Egypt. More importantly, these two islands are the only land to the north of Egypt apart from western Turkey, which was then Greek with Greek culture dominating its west coast as far north as Troy.
  • Troy is quoted as being one of the possibilities, yet it would have had to send its ships out through the MG area, very unlikely to be them, and more importantly it was part of the "Aegean civilisation", and so basically part of the MG - so basically those two sections are talking about the same thing.
  • The "Philistine hypothesis" has nothing to do with this article. It merely states that the Philistines might have been the MG, not that the Philistines were the Sea People

On further reading, the reader finds out that most, if not all, of these "hypotheses" are talking about the MG, or the Aegean civilisation which was the MG territory. They are all talking about the same thing.

The "Notes" section mix notes ([NB]} and citations (<ref>), while the 24-book bibliography "Sources" contains a list of books with few citations from them, and it is difficult to identify those parts of the article that can be attributed to them other than single attribs. Similarly, the methods of citation are varied and extremely poor in several cases. Chaosdruid (talk) 06:47, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. I hadn't noticed the class. I've downgraded to C for all projects. Upgraded importance to Egyptology, downgraded it to ethnic groups because I can't understand why this old and somewhat mysterious group was mid. Just out of curiosity, is any of [2] part of the problem? Dougweller (talk) 10:24, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks for the quick response and action. I will check this later tonight as it is an extensive change, and I am about to sit down for Sunday lunch (damn those mobile emails lol!)
There are some strange areas, such as the "Serbian Bog" section, which seems like it is just stuck in for a laugh - I am sure it is relevant, but it is not really clear in what way.
I have a friend who is a published Egyptologist, noted for being one of the people who started the "alternative timeline of dynasties", who mentioned the Sea Peoples to me in passing a while ago. I thought I would follow it up for our next meet in a few weeks, as the Egyptian mentions correlated closely to the dates of two waves of Cyprus MG influx I learned about while doing articles on Cyprus pre-history. I wanted to do some research on them, first port of call was Wiki for refs to read up on, then total dismay, so thanks for the work so far! Chaosdruid (talk) 17:24, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Question about Doggerland[edit] (talk) 17:28, 14 July 2014 (UTC) As the Sea Peoples were known by this name over an extended period of time would that not imply they arrived over an extended period of time? Such as the time a land would sink? That they came by ship would indicate their strong sea faring ability. That they came again and again would indicate their travels were known to their group still in residence back home. The had a reluctance to divulge their origins. Additionally, and strongest, I think the weather of their submerged home--Doggerland-- was a determining factor in their decision to seek new homes south, finding the Med most favorable.

First mention of "Sea Peoples" - 1855 de Rouge, or Maspero in 1881?[edit]

Note 5 cites a couple of sources stating Maspero first coined the term.

But de Rouge, who was Maspero's mentor, definitely used it first (per footnote 3). But i can't see a secondary source stating the same.

Any ideas?

Oncenawhile (talk) 10:49, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

I have found one here, but it says de Rouge started using the term in 1867 not 1855. Oncenawhile (talk) 08:52, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Mistake since 2006[edit]

A number of edits from User:Flembles and User:Leoboudv in 2006 (e.g. [3] and [4]) led to this article including the misleading statement:

The Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah explicitly refers to them by the term "the foreign-countries (or 'peoples') of the sea" (Egyptian n3 ḫ3s.wt n<.t> p3 ym)

The implication of the statement directly contradicts Killebrew (see the sources and quotes I added), and the source used to justify this statement (see p.56) is actually using the text to refer to either just the Eqwesh, or all three of the Sherden, Shekelesh, and Eqwesh, but definitely not all nine.

Oncenawhile (talk) 19:53, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Crackpot Theories[edit]

The Atlantic Ocean hypothesis is nonsense. I'm sure there are other theories. Why don't we put them in the article too. Hey, I have a theory can I put it in the article?

I hope there's a good reason why that section is there otherwise I'm going to delete it. Dr. Morbius (talk) 04:42, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I'd cut it per WP:FRINGE. Chris Troutman (talk) 06:12, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Done. Oncenawhile (talk) 07:55, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Term used to describe[edit]

Hi Aeusoes1, please could you explain this edit from a couple of months ago?

The sources here are clear that the concept of the Sea Peoples is just a theory, and the term "Sea Peoples" is a modern term with a tenuous basis in any evidence. See e.g.:

  • Kilebrew 2013, p. 2: "First coined in 1881 by the French Egyptologist G. Maspero (1896), the somewhat misleading term "Sea Peoples" encompasses the ethnonyms Lukka, Sherden, Shekelesh, Teresh, Eqwesh, Denyen, Sikil / Tjekker, Weshesh, and Peleset (Philistines). [Footnote: The modern term "Sea Peoples" refers to peoples that appear in several New Kingdom Egyptian texts as originating from "islands" (tables 1-2; Adams and Cohen, this volume; see, e.g., Drews 1993, 57 for a summary). The use of quotation marks in association with the term "Sea Peoples" in our title is intended to draw attention to the problematic nature of this commonly used term. It is noteworthy that the designation "of the sea" appears only in relation to the Sherden, Shekelesh, and Eqwesh. Subsequently, this term was applied somewhat indiscriminately to several additional ethnonyms, including the Philistines, who are portrayed in their earliest appearance as invaders from the north during the reigns of Merenptah and Ramesses Ill (see, e.g., Sandars 1978; Redford 1992, 243, n. 14; for a recent review of the primary and secondary literature, see Woudhuizen 2006). Hencefore the term Sea Peoples will appear without quotation marks.]"
  • Drews, p48–61 Quote: "The thesis that a great "migration of the Sea Peoples" occurred ca. 1200 B.C. is supposedly based on Egyptian inscriptions, one from the reign of Merneptah and another from the reign of Ramesses III. Yet in the inscriptions themselves such a migration nowhere appears. After reviewing what the Egyptian texts have to say about 'the sea peoples', one Egyptologist (Wolfgang Helck) recently remarked that although some things are unclear, "eins ist aber sicher: Nach den agyptischen Texten haben wir es nicht mit einer 'Volkerwanderung' zu tun." Thus the migration hypothesis is based not on the inscriptions themselves but on their interpretation."

Oncenawhile (talk) 17:53, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

I was trying to avoid a presentation in the lede that this article is about a term, rather than a concept. If it is preferable that we emphasize their unproven status in the beginning, we could instead begin with saying explicitly that the Sea Peoples are a conjectured or theorized group of seafaring raiders, etc. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 19:11, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
OK, thanks - I agree with your proposal. I will implement. Oncenawhile (talk) 17:01, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

The Serbonian Bog needs to go[edit]

Hi all, I am actually really impressed by the state of this article and think everyone has done a fine job. That being said, ending with that Serbonian Bog section is a huge sour note for me. I have never heard the name associated with the /Sherden/ and find the linguistic connection implausible. I am, of course, happy to be wrong if anyone can provide me some evidence for the proposition! I'll check back in a while, and unless someone voices a strong opinion to the contrary, I'll be removing that section. Thanks! Dumuzid (talk) 17:59, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

I couldn't source it either, and as there's been a citation request sitting there since April 2011, I removed it. Doug Weller (talk) 18:26, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Mr. Weller -- I was about to unilaterally remove it myself, but I wanted to be polite! Dumuzid (talk) 18:33, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

Nuragic Peoples of Sardinia[edit]

This article includes a lot of discussion of the Nuragic civilization of Sardinia with no citations whatsoever. I am in no way an expert, so perhaps this is a perfectly cromulent theory, but it strikes me as a bit of a reach. Can anyone substantiate this idea? Thank you! Dumuzid (talk) 18:20, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

I should say that I found this link [5] at the Nuragic civilization page, but it seems quite a slim reed on which to rest such a prominent part of this article. Dumuzid (talk) 18:22, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
DumuzidI don't like it very much, but it does state it's an interview with Giovanni Ugas, and barring someone reading one of his books, that and [6] are probably the best we are going to get. History of Sardinia has "It is known that the Sardinians had contact with the Myceneans, who traded with the western Mediterranean. Contact with powerful cities of Crete, such as Kydonia, is clear from pottery recovered in archaeological excavations in Sardinia.[1] The alleged connection with the Sherden, one of the sea peoples who invaded Egypt and other areas of eastern Mediterranean, has been supported by professor Giovanni Ugas from the University of Cagliari; this hypothesis has been however opposed by other archaeologists and historians.[2]" The Dyson and Rowland source says "The best-known if the most debated evidence for Sardinians in the eastern Mediterranean is the case of the Sherden who appear among the sea peoples invading Egypt during the 19th Dynasty (1349-1197 BC). Their depiction on New Kingdom Egyptian monuments has been cited to support a variety of historical reconstructions. At one time the Sherden were seen as a people who were repulsed from Egypt and then moved westward to establish the nuragic culture in Sardinia. That view has lost most supporters (Sandars 1978:161, 198-299; Drews 1993:69-72,152-55, 217-18). If there is a connection at all between Sardinia and the invaders of the Nile delta, it probably took the form of small numbers of nuragic seamen who joined a mixed group of invaders who attacked Egypt (Drews 1993:50, 54)."[7]
I'm also not happy with using a 50 year old source for the quote ""perhaps not operating from those great islands but moving toward them". There's been too much research since then I believe to use it to represent modern thought.
I don't think we should get into the details of the argument, eg pottery. Perhaps a combination of what History of Sardinia says and the quote from Dyson & Rowland? And change the section heading from "Sardinian, Sicilian and Tyrrhenian peoples hypotheses" to something like "Sardinian hypthesis" as none of the other stuff is sourced. Doug Weller (talk) 14:03, 29 July 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ C.M.Hogan, 2008
  2. ^ Stephen L. Dyson and Robert J. Rowland, Archaeology And History in Sardinia From The Stone Age to the Middle Ages: Shepherds, Sailors, & Conquerors (UPenn Museum of Archaeology, 2007: ISBN 1-934536-02-4), p. 101 (with refs).
Mr. Weller, I think that's a good solution. I certainly have no problem with the hypothesis (I personally buy it!), but it seemed to be given undue weight in the article as compared to the sources. And when it comes to our friends from the sea, I think hedging bets is a universally good idea. Thank you! Dumuzid (talk) 14:14, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Invader Hypothesis section[edit]

The whole thing is a bit of a hard read for me, and I have been trying to clean it up without making any substantive changes. But there is one sentence that simply baffles me: "If different times are allowed on the Danube, they are not in the Aegean: "all this destruction must be dated to the same period about 1200." Even in context, I can't make heads or tails of it. Does the source reference destruction over a long time period in the Danube region? I can't tell. I am sure it's my own thick head, but can someone help me understand what's going on here? It would be most appreciated. Thanks. Dumuzid (talk) 14:05, 9 September 2015 (UTC)