Did an invasion of the Sea Peoples cause the collapse of the Late Bronze Age palace-based economies of the Levant, as well as of the Hittite Empire? Renewed excavations at Tell Tayinat in southeast Turkey are shedding new light on the critical transitional phase of the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age (ca. 1200–1000 B.C.), a period that in the Northern Levant has until recently been considered a “Dark Age,” due in large part to the few extant textual sources relating to its history. However, recently discovered epigraphic data from both the site and the surrounding region suggest the formation of an Early Iron Age kingdom that fused Hieroglyphic Luwian monumental script with a strong component of Aegeanizing cultural elements. The capital of this putative/erstwhile kingdom appears to have been located at Tell Tayinat in the Amuq Valley.
More specifically, this formal stylistic analysis examines a distinctive painted pottery known as Late Helladic IIIC found at the site of Tayinat during several seasons of excavation. The assemblage includes examples of Aegean-style bowls, kraters, and amphorae bearing an array of distinctive decorative features. A key objective of the study distinguishes Aegean stylistic characteristics both in form and in painted motifs from those inspired by the indigenous culture.
Drawing on a wide range of parallels from Philistia through the Levant, Anatolia, the Aegean Sea, the Greek Mainland, and Cyprus, this research begins to fill a longstanding lacuna in the Amuq Valley and attempts to correlate with major historical and cultural trends in the Northern Levant and beyond.
This volume presents the outcomes of the European Science Foundation workshop “Sea Peoples” Up-to-Date. New Research on Transformations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th–11th Centuries BCE, which took place in November 2014 at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. It offers up-to-date research on the Sea Peoples phenomenon during the so called “crisis years” at the end of the Bronze Age. This period encompasses dramatic changes in the political and cultural landscape of mainly the Eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BCE and most of the 12th century BCE. In geographical terms, these changes are noticeable in a vast area stretching from the Italian peninsula over the Balkans, the Aegean, Anatolia and Cyprus, to the Levant and Egypt. The term “Sea Peoples phenomenon” should be considered as an encompassing term, which – in addition to the written records on hostile activities of various ethnic groups in the Eastern Mediterranean – is synonymous with the effect of this turbulent period as reflected in the material remains. As a consequence, these events ended the Late Bronze Age, the first period of “internationalism” in human history. The papers are presented in five sections: “Overviews: From Italy to the Levant”; “Climate and Radiocarbon”; “Theoretical Approaches on Destruction, Migration and Transformation of Cultures”; “Case Studies: Cyprus, Cilicia and the Northern and Southern Levant”; and “Material Studies”. The reader of this volume gains insights into very complex changes during this period. It will become clear that these changes manifest themselves over decades and not years, and include numerous underlying factors: One single wave of migration, one general military campaign and other simple explanations should be dismissed. The breakdown of Late Bronze Age societies and the transformative processes that followed in its wake occurred in a vast area but they are mirrored in differing ways at local levels.