"We had to bite our tongues for a long time," Master said.In the past, the ultra-Orthodox have staged demonstrations at excavations where human remains are found, arguing that the remains could be Jewish and that disturbing them would violate a religious prohibition.The most famous Philistine was Goliath, the fearsome warrior who was slain by a young King David.
Now the team is performing DNA, radiocarbon and other tests on bone samples found at the cemetery, dating to the 11th to 8th centuries B. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov) A few human remains at Philistine sites had been discovered in past years, but they provided too small a sample to draw conclusions, he added.
The archaeologists kept the discovery a secret for three years until the end of their dig because of a unique hazard of archaeology in modern-day Israel: they did not want to attract ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters, Master said.
Master, professor of archaeology at Wheaton College and one of the leaders of the excavation.
"With this discovery we are close to unlocking the secrets of their origins." This Tuesday, June 28, 2016 photo shows archeologists excavating an ancient Phillstine cemetery near Ashkelon, Israel.
The archaeologists have not announced any conclusions, saying they are taking advantage of recent advances in DNA testing to get the most accurate results.
"After decades of studying what Philistines left behind, we have finally come face to face with the people themselves," said Daniel M.
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