Decoupling the Philistine settlement in the Levant from its Cretan connotations makes a check of the historical and archaeological record for evidence for earlier Cretan colonization, separate from the Sea People´s invasion, necessary. The paper identifies a sizable group of Cretan artifacts produced in a Levant setting beginning with the Middle Bronze Age. It can be explained only by the existence of at least one palatial centre of production (probably in the Pentapolis), which, given the region’s political situation, still eludes sufficient archaeological investigation. The evidence permits the new discussion of representations of Cretans in Theban graves, which, near the end of the reign of Thutmose III, turned away from the archetypical Aegean Cretan embassies and were replaced with figures of acculturated Levantine Cretans. The watershed moment leading to the abandonment of the prototypical Aegean image of the Cretans must be identified with the presentation of “gifts” by the Mycenean embassy recorded for Thutmose III’s 42nd year in his annals. The correlation of the modifications in the Theban tombs imagery and the annals of Thutmose III reiterates the traditional interpretation of the fashion change of the visiting Aegeans in these representations as illustrating regime change in Crete and also documents the acculturation of the outremer Aegeans within their Asian environment. .
(icon) = Open Access (icon) = Subscription AccessDownload Full Text