Several generations after they migrated to Canaan from the Aegean, the Philistines began to manufacture a distinctive painted pottery, known to scholars as “Philistine Bichrome” ware. Using red and black paint (hence the term “bichrome”), the Philistines decorated their Mycenaean inspired jars, jugs and bowls with elaborate motifs, including birds, fish, lotus flowers, and different geometric shapes and patterns. The black and red decoration was applied to a white slip or background that covered the entire vessel, thus producing a visually striking tri-color combination.
But for all of the pottery’s aesthetic appeal, its precise dating remains a serious bone of contention among archaeologists. While most have argued that Philistine Bichrome ware was in vogue from about 1150 to 1050 B.C., supporters of Israel Finkelstein’s “low chronology” think that the ware actually flourished over a century later, from the late 11th to the early 10th centuries B.C.