David Harris/Israel Museum/Israel Antiquities Authority

Contrary to their reputation as barbarians, the Philistines produced sophisticated painted pottery at a time when their Israelite contemporaries were still generating undistinguished pots straight out of the Canaanite repertoire. The Philistines were one of the Sea Peoples, Aegean seafarers who settled along the Canaanite coast in about 1175 B.C. When they first settled in their new homeland, the Philistines produced pottery made of local clays but fashioned in Mycenaean style.

Known as monochrome pottery, this ceramic ware was decorated in either black or red. In the latter half of the 12th century B.C.E., the Philistines began producing the type of pottery shown here, called bichrome ware. As the name indicates, such pottery is decorated in two colors, red and black. The bowls and pitchers in the photo bear typical Philistine ornamentations, most notably the bird at far right.