We need not imagine, as some scholars once did, that non-Mycenaean motifs of Philistine bichrome ware were acquired during the peregrinations of the Philistines around the eastern Mediterranean (e.g., Cyprus and Egypt) before landing in Canaan. All of these sources of inspiration were right at hand in Canaan itself. Even bichrome decoration itself was known in Phoenicia during the 13th century B.C. and has been found at Ashkelon (this LB IIB bichrome should not be confused with the earlier LB I bichrome, which originated in Cyprus).

In her most recent assessment, Trude Dothan (“The Arrival of the Sea Peoples”) has made a fine typological distinction between the Mycenaean IIIC:1 decoration, which she characterizes as Simple Style, and the Philistine bichrome decoration, which she associates with the Elaborate Style known in other parts of the eastern Mediterranean. With this distinction she implies in a more subtle way than before two “waves” of Sea Peoples: The pre-Philistine group makes and uses Simple Style, they are then either augmented or replaced by the later group, the Philistines, who produce Elaborate Style pottery.

It would be an extraordinary development, indeed, if a pre-Philistine group of Sea Peoples preceded in establishing new and impressive cities and then were displaced at each of the Pentapolis sites by the Philistines a decade or two later. It seems much more likely that the relatively minor developments in style from monochrome simple to bichrome elaborate represent changes within the potting tradition of the same people and culture as the second generation of Philistine potters assimilate some of the local Canaanite and other traditions. In other words, Philistine bichrome pottery represents a regional style that developed in south Canaan. It seems likely that other immigrant groups of Sea Peoples settling in the northern coastal Levant, in Cyprus and in the central Mediterranean—for example, Sardinia, Sicily and Italy—might develop distinctive regional styles as they come in contact with different indigenous cultures.