Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity

An Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, and Early Israel 1300-1100 B.C.E.

Author: Ann Killebrew
Ancient Israel did not emerge within a vacuum but rather came to exist alongside various peoples, including Canaanites, Egyptians, and Philistines. Indeed, Israel’s very proximity to these groups has made it difficult—until now—to distinguish the archaeological traces of early Israel and other contemporary groups. Through an analysis of the results from recent excavations in light of relevant historical and later biblical texts, this book proposes that it is possible to identify these peoples and trace culturally or ethnically defined boundaries in the archaeological record. Features of late second-millennium B.C.E. culture are critically examined in their historical and biblical contexts in order to define the complex social boundaries of the early Iron Age and reconstruct the diverse material world of these four peoples. Of particular value to scholars, archaeologists, and historians, this volume will also be a standard reference and resource for students and other readers interested in the emergence of early Israel.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (
Ann E. Killebrew, Ph.D. in Biblical Archaeology (1999), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Jewish Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. She is a seasoned field archaeologist and co-editor of Jerusalem in Bible and Archaeology: The First Temple Period (Society of Biblical Literature, 2003).
' In conclusion, Killebrew’s study of archaeology and ethnicity is exceptionally timely, and because it succeeds on both the academic and the nonprofessional level, it deserves and will surely find a wide audience.' W. G. Dever, Review of Biblical Literature, 2006 ' ... a well-documented and fascinating study that focuses upon the concept of ethnicity in the early biblical period (late LBA and IA I), with special references to four key groups that appear time and again in the biblical narrative: Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, and the early Israelites.' Gerald Klingbeil, Review of Biblical Literature, 2006