The Sea Peoples and the Late Bronze Age Collapse

2020, History  -  149 min Leave a Comment
Rating from 1 user
Report Documentary


2 min read

An impassioned and highly informed history lesson, this documentary explores one of the most consequential periods in Egyptian history and attempts to shed light on the enigmatic confederacy at its center.

The period marking the collapse of the Late Bronze Age occurred within a period of 50 years and culminated in 1200 BC. During this period, wide sprawls of cities along the Mediterranean were overtaken and decimated in a fury of blood and volcanic fire. Some of these territories remain barren to this day while others took many decades before they were reoccupied. What could have caused this level of total destruction?

It's a question that has obsessed researchers throughout time. They've debated the events which might have led to the extinction of entire peoples, as well as their cultural artifacts, histories and homelands. Whatever ultimately brought about their downfall, it was peculiar in its level of merciless and savage violence. Earthquakes, rampant drought, class struggles and political impotence all likely played a role.

One theory behind the collapse falls upon a mythical band of seafarers known as the Sea People. Little is certain about the origins of many of its members, but the film does an immaculate job of fleshing out their spotty history. We learn about their motivations, observe intricate details of their individual skirmishes, and gain insights into their unique battle tactics.

The confederacy of Sea People was divided into different factions, each of which is carefully detailed in the film. These factions include the Sherden, the Shekelesh, the Lukka, the Carcisa, the Ekwesh, the Teresh, the Peleset, the Tjekker, the Danuna and the Weshesh. Among other observations, we learn about each of their cultures and manners of dress.

The film provides evidence behind its assertions throughout, including archeological findings of pottery, arrowheads, and even genomic studies.

Over an ambitious 150 minute running time, the film presents this history in vivid detail by utilizing a a propulsive music score, a wealth of ancient maps, appealing footage of the battle terrains, and artistic renderings of the period. The narration is extremely thorough and well researched.

Directed by: Pete Kelly