By the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1550-1200 BCE), the ancient Near East (roughly today’s Middle East) could already boast of a long tradition of civilization and more than 1,500 years of writing. The world of the late Bronze Age was an era of internationalism, attested by commerce and international diplomacy.1 Major powers included Egypt, Assyria, Hatti (ancient Anatolia) and Mycenae (ancient Greece). This era of internationalism came to an abrupt end around 1200 BCE.2 The causes of the collapse are still disputed, but it is well known that it was accompanied by migrations of peoples and a birth of a number of new political entities in the area. Migrations include the Arameans, who spread across large areas of the ancient Near East and established a number of independent kingdoms across the area covered by northern Iraq and Syria today between ca. 1200-900 BCE.3 Another migration involved the so-called sea peoples, who migrated from Mycenea and Anatolia into the coastal areas of the western Levant. Many of these kingdoms were transitory, but one of the sea peoples, the Philistines, were established in the southwestern Levantine area.4 After the collapse of the Hittite kingdom, a number of so-called neo-Hittite kingdoms arose in parts of northern Syria and southeast Anatolia. Egypt and Assyria continued as unbroken entities through the period, even if Egypt entered its third intermediate period in the eleventh century BCE and Assyrian power receded towards the end of the Middle Assyrian period. In the southern Levant, a new entity called Israel arose during the Late Bronze-Early Iron Age transition.5 In the process, indigenous societies in the land were replaced by an Israelite polity that was initially tribal but was formed into a kingdom around 1000 BCE that divided into two soon after the initial unification. The divided kingdoms themselves were conquered and destroyed by the Assyrians and the Babylonians in the eighth and sixth centuries BCE.