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Philistine Towns of the Ancient Levant

Abstract: The Levant have played an important role in the mankind history since the ancient times, because it connected as a continental bridge three continents Africa, Asia and Europe. On that account it was the place, where more than 1.5 million years ago the groups of emigrants from Africa were passing through and who were certainly gradually settling here. In spite of that the development of settlement and urban structures in the Levant is out of the mainstream of research, as the majority of researchers focus on the territory of the ancient Egypt and the territory of Mesopotamia. The main subject of the investigation in this territory are then the researches of the Israeli authorities, which predominantly concentrate on the investigation of the history of the Jewish tribes and besides the Christian biblical studies proving or disproving the historical facts of the Old and New Testament. At the same time in the period of the 1st millennium BC the Levant territory was occupied not only by Jews (and Arabs, as it is today), but by other two ethnic groups – the Phoenicians and the Philistines, who also left the comprehensive material culture here, including the own urban structures. On the basis of the study of archaeological material, pictorial, and literary sources together with the partial own terrain investigation and in the light of the new knowledge of historical sciences, the target is to bring the enlargement of the common theoretical urbanistic knowledge in the segment, which is from the urbanism point of view very interesting, but very little investigated. The aim of this article was, therefore, to chart the development of the main Philistine settlements approx. between the 12th and 7th centuries BCE. It results from the successfully collected data about the Philistine towns that it is necessary to correct the perceptiveness of so-called Sea Peoples as nobody´s (and nothing knowing) barbarians to the people of another cultural circle. Otherwise they would not have probably succeeded to renew in a flash the town structures in the newly occupied territories and built up the own relatively big towns founded according to the plan (with an area of several dozen-hectares and a few thousand of inhabitants), which were involved in the international business. It turns out that, apart from other things, the development of town constructions and the direction of the influence of the cultural progress led up to not only from east to west, as it was thought up to now, but it had also the opposite direction, i.e. some achievements of the town culture arose in the west, namely in the Aegean and in the Near East and they were secondarily brought to the Levant, such as, for example, bathrooms with tubs, megaron sanctuaries, and others.

ŠILHÁNKOVÁ, Vladimíra (2021). Pelištejská města starověké Levanty. In: Jiří Kugl, ed. Člověk, stavba a územní plánování 14. ČVUT v Praze, Fakulta stavební pp. 229-246. ISBN 978-80-01-06893-9. ISSN 2336-7695.