Archaeologists from Bar-Ilan University have uncovered new insights into the ancient Philistine rituals at the site of Tell es-Safi in Israel, believed to be the biblical city of Gath, home of Goliath. This recent study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, reveals how the Philistines used various plants in their religious practices. The findings highlight the earliest known ritual uses of Mediterranean plants, including the lilac chaste tree and crown daisy, which were possibly linked to early Greek deities like Hera and Artemis.

The study by Bar-Ilan University’s Archaeobotany Laboratory also suggests a significant cultural exchange between the Philistines and the Aegean region, evidenced by the discovery of loom weights similar to those found in Aegean cult sites. These findings not only deepen our understanding of Philistine cultic activities but also their connection to the natural world and broader Mediterranean traditions.

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