Unveiling Philistine Rituals


Bar-Ilan archaeologists have made new discoveries at the site of Goliath’s Biblical home, offering a new outlook on Philistine culture.

The discovery of plants in two temples unearthed at the site have provided a rare insight into Philistine rituals and beliefs – their temple food ingredients, timing of ceremonies, and plants for temple decoration. Dr. Suembikya Frumin, manager of the Archaeobotany Laboratory at Bar-Ilan and the study’s lead researcher, said:

“One of the most significant findings is the identification of earliest known ritual uses of several Mediterranean plants, such as the lilac chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus), crown daisy (Glebionis coronaria), and silvery scabious (Lomelosia argentea). These widespread Mediterranean plants connect Philistines with cultic rituals, mythology and paraphernalia related to early Greek deities, such as Hera, Artemis, Demeter, and Asclepios. In addition, plants with psychoactive and medicinal properties in the Philistine temples reveal their use for cultic activities. The study revealed that the Philistine religion relied on the magic and power of nature, such as running water and seasonality, aspects that influence human health and life.”

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