Louise A. Hitchcock is Professor in Archaeology, Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne and an expert on the Bronze Age and the Sea People. She knows  the Philistines, Babylonians, Hebrews and Phoenicians.

Of course, she’s a fangirl of the Bronze Age’s glamour set, the Minoans, who regardless of all that promise and style disappeared as a civilisation.  What happened the Minoans is still one of the great mysteries.

The Professor says that the search for copper, silver and other precious metals made the Mediterranean the civilisational marketplace it has remained since around 3000BCE.

“Greeks were the world’s first great spin doctors”
Professor Hitchcock

The Mesopotamian epic poem Gilgamesh was written sometime around Third Dynasty of Ur 2004 BCE about 1500yrs before the Greek blind bard Homer penned The Iliad and The Odyssey. Of course, Homer had a better marketing and communications campaign.

Greeks had no concept of east and west. Professor Hitchcock talks about the ‘west’ developed in the academies of 19th Century Britain, Germany, and France. While for ancient Minoans, Greeks and Romans the east and the west merged.

The Philistines were the most misunderstood Bronze Age people around. Yet they were sophisticated, advanced and great traders. Somebody put them out of the market.  Lots of gossip undermined them, gossip that has been imbedded in our historic psyche.

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Professor Hitchcock has worked in archaeological excavations across Israel, Egypt, Syria, Crete, and California. She worked in Greece as a Parsons Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and in Cyprus as a senior Fulbright Fellow at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute in Nicosia.

In Israel she dug, (that’s what we the in-crowd say), as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and was awarded three times. She was the Visiting Annual Professor at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem; and a visiting researcher at the Institute of Advanced Study at Hebrew University, Jerusalem,.

Professor Hitchcock loves pirates, doesn’t everyone? She has written 100 articles on piracy architecture, feasting, globalisation and populism and gender in the east Mediterranean.

Listen to the conversation in this episode of The Cave podcast.