The Daily Telegraph reports: Archaeologists have uncovered the first Philistine cemetery ever discovered, following 30 years of exploration and digging outside the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
But their quest to learn about an ancient people encountered a uniquely Israeli problem. The cemetery was actually located in 2013, but the archaeologists kept their discovery secret for three years until all excavation was complete for fear of their work being disrupted by ultra-Orthodox Jews.
The ultra-Orthodox are against disturbing ancient corpses in case any of the dead happen to be Jewish, in which case exhumation might jeopardise their chances of resurrection.
Now that all work is complete, the experts are confident enough to announce their find.
“After decades of studying what Philistines left behind, we have finally come face to face with the people themselves,” said Daniel Master, a professor of archaeology at Wheaton College and a leader of the excavation. “With this discovery we are close to unlocking the secrets of their origins.”
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