|1175 BC-722 BC|
|Common languages||Philistine language, Canaanite language, Hebrew language|
|Historical era||Iron Age|
o Assyrian conquest of the Levant
|Today part of||Egypt|
Philistia (Hebrew: ?, Pleshet) was a confederation of cities in the Southwest Levant. Its appearance follows the invasion of Egypt by the foreign sea People, of which Philistines or Peleset are part, and their alleged relocation to the southern abandoned coast of Canaan by Ramesses III following his victory over them. Philistia northern boundary was the Yarkon River with the Mediterranean Sea on the west, the Kingdom of Judah to the east and the Wadi El-Arish to the south. Philistia consisted of the Five Lords of the Philistines, described in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 13:3) and the Books of Samuel (1 Samuel 6:17), comprising Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza, in the south-western Levant.
The Five Lords of the Philistines are described in the Hebrew Bible as being in constant struggle and interaction with the neighbouring Israelites, Canaanites and Egyptians, being gradually absorbed into the Canaanite culture.
The Philistines were no longer mentioned following the conquest of the Levant by the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC). Genetic and archeological evidence suggest that the Philistines immigrated from Southern Europe to Canaan, and mixed with the native Canaanites during the first couple of centuries.
The area east of Gaza, particularly around Nahal Besor that reaches into the hills as far as Beersheva had a very substantial Philistine presence. This area is a part of the Negev desert. It also includes Nahal Gerar to the north that joins Nahal Besor before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea.
This was a heavily populated area during the early Iron Age. It includes archaeological sites such as Tell Beit Mirsim, Tel Haror, Tel Sera (Ziklag) along Nahal Gerar, and Tell Jemmeh and Tell el-Farah (South) along Nahal Besor. All these sites and others in the area had Philistine settlements.