The lack of distinct information may be, in part, due to the fact that the Sea Peoples were active mostly away from the Aegean, and in lands where Greek colonization did not occur centuries later, and hence were cut off from the Aegean world. The memory of the Sea Peoples was best preserved by the native peoples who experienced their presence (such as the Old Testament Hebrews in the case of the Philistines).
From the paper:
By contrasting historical-archaeological and radiocarbon-based data sets, the best candidate for the destruction date of the harbour town is the Sea People invasion. Their presence immediately after the destruction of Gibala is indicated by the material culture of the new settlements on the Tell namely the appearance of Aegean-type architecture, locally-made Mycenaean IIIC Early pottery, hand-made burnished pottery, and Aegean-type loam-weights. These materials, also known from Philistine settlements , are cultural markers of foreign settlers, most probably the Sea Peoples.The half millennium between the eruption of Thera in 1,613BC (probably the cause of the Flood tradition of Greek mythology) and the return of the Heraclids to the Peloponnese in 1,104BC (according to Eratosthenes) must have been a remarkable period of change. It truly deserved the special place accorded to it by Hesiod, interjected between the Bronze and Iron Ages. Hopefully, we will have more ancient DNA from this period, from sites around the Eastern Mediterranean, to help better piece together the tumultuous events that so inspired later generations.
PLoS ONE 6(6): e20232. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020232
The Sea Peoples, from Cuneiform Tablets to Carbon Dating
David Kaniewski et al.
The 13th century BC witnessed the zenith of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean civilizations which declined at the end of the Bronze Age, ~3200 years ago. Weakening of this ancient flourishing Mediterranean world shifted the political and economic centres of gravity away from the Levant towards Classical Greece and Rome, and led, in the long term, to the emergence of the modern western civilizations. Textual evidence from cuneiform tablets and Egyptian reliefs from the New Kingdom relate that seafaring tribes, the Sea Peoples, were the final catalyst that put the fall of cities and states in motion. However, the lack of a stratified radiocarbon-based archaeology for the Sea People event has led to a floating historical chronology derived from a variety of sources spanning dispersed areas. Here, we report a stratified radiocarbon-based archaeology with anchor points in ancient epigraphic-literary sources, Hittite-Levantine-Egyptian kings and astronomical observations to precisely date the Sea People event. By confronting historical and science-based archaeology, we establish an absolute age range of 1192–1190 BC for terminal destructions and cultural collapse in the northern Levant. This radiocarbon-based archaeology has far-reaching implications for the wider Mediterranean, where an elaborate network of international relations and commercial activities are intertwined with the history of civilizations.