Human remains from an ancient cemetery in southern Israel have yielded precious bits of DNA that a new study says help prove the European origin of the Philistines — the enigmatic nemeses of the biblical Israelites.
The Philistines mostly resided in five cities along the southern coast of what is today Israel and the Gaza Strip during the early Iron Age, around 3,000 years ago. In the Bible, David fought the Philistine giant Goliath in a duel, and Samson slew a thousand of their warriors with the jawbone of an ass.
Many archaeologists have proposed they migrated to the coast of the ancient Near East during a period of upheaval at the end of the Late Bronze Age, around 1200 B.C.
DNA evidence indicates the Philistines migrated to the Levant from southern Europe — anywhere from Cyprus to Sardinia — but further study of ancient remains is needed to narrow down the search.