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The Tjeker and Sherden battling the troops of Ramesses III during the Battle of Djahy

The Tjeker or Tjekker were one of the Sea Peoples.

Known mainly from the "Story of Wenamun", the Tjeker are also documented earlier, at Medinet Habu, as raiders defeated by Pharaoh Ramesses III of Egypt in years 5, 8, and 12 of his reign.[1] They are thought to be the people who developed the port of Dor in Canaan during the 12th century BCE from a small Bronze Age town to a large city.


As with other Sea Peoples, the origins of the Tjeker are uncertain. Their name is an Egyptian exonym, usually romanized as tkr, and expanded as Tjekru or Djekker. The Egyptian may also be romanized as skl, i.e. Sikil or Sical.[2] [3] As such there is no consensus on the original form or etymology of the name, or the origin of the people. They have sometimes been identified with the Sicels of Sicily, who are also linked to Shekelesh: another exonym attributed to a different group amongst the Sea Peoples. Another theory, put forward by Flinders Petrie, links the ethnonym to Zakros, in eastern Crete.[4] Some other scholars have accepted the association.[5] A possible identity has been suggested with the Teucri, a tribe described by ancient sources as inhabiting northwest Anatolia to the south of Troy.[6][7] However, this has been dismissed as "pure speculation" by Trevor Bryce.[8]

Settlement at Dor[edit]

The Tjeker may have conquered the city Dor, on the coast of Canaan near modern Haifa, and turned it into a large, well-fortified city (classified as "Dor XII", fl. c. 1150–1050), the center of a Tjeker kingdom that is confirmed archaeologically in the northern Sharon plain. The city was violently destroyed in the mid-11th century BCE, with the conflagration turning the mud bricks red and depositing a huge layer of ash and debris. Ephraim Stern[9] connects the destruction with the contemporary expansion of the Phoenicians, which was checked by the Philistines further south and the Israelites.

The Tjeker are perhaps one of the few Sea Peoples for whom a ruler's name is recorded — in the 11th-century papyrus account of Wenamun, an Egyptian priest, the ruler of Dor is given as "Beder".

According to Edward Lipinski,[10] the Sicals (Tjekker) of Dor were seamen or mercenaries, and b3-dỉ-r (Beder) was the title of the local governor, a deputy of the king of Tyre.

No mention of the Tjeker is made after the story of Wenamun.


  1. ^ The campaigns are covered under Sea Peoples and are not repeated here.
  2. ^ Grabbe, Lester L. Israel in Transition T.& T.Clark Ltd (1 Aug 2008) ISBN 978-0-567-02726-9 p97 [1]
  3. ^ Lipinski, p. 96
  4. ^ James Baikie mentioned it on pp. 166, 187 of his book The Sea-Kings of Crete, 2nd edition (Adam and Charles Black, London, 1913).
  5. ^ Redford, p. 252.
  6. ^ The identification of Tjeker and Greek Teukroi, Latinized to Teucri, was first made by Lauth in 1867, and was repeated by François Chabas in his Études sur l’Antiquité Historique d’après les sources égyptiennes et les monuments réputés préhistoriques of 1872, according to the Woudhuizen dissertation.
  7. ^ Sandars Page 170, "The Tjeker."
  8. ^ Bryce, Trevor R.The Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford University Press, 1998 & 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-924010-4 p.339 [2]
  9. ^ Page 31
  10. ^ Page 96