By commonly accepted convention, “tell” is the spelling of the Arabic word, and “tel” (as in Tel Aviv) is the spelling of the same Hebrew word, meaning mound, an artificial hill formed by successive occupation levels of an ancient settlement.


Harold Brodsky, “Bible Lands: The Shephelah—Guardian of Judea,” Bible Review, Winter 1987.


Timnah in the Shephelah should not be confused with the copper mines of Timna, north of Eilat. The former has an h at the end, the latter an ayin. The name Timna appears as a place name in Edom (Genesis 36:40) and in modern times was tentatively given to the valley north of Eilat on the basis of phonetic resemblance to the Arabic name of the valley (Meneieh).


This same Biblical passage notes that “the territory of the Danites slipped from their grasp.” So the Danites migrated to the north, captured Leshem (called Laish in Judges 18:7ff), and renamed it Dan (Joshua 19:47).


Trude Dothan, “What We Know About the Philistines,” BAR 08:04.


This of course is a subject for an article in itself. Regrettably scholars have still not found any clear evidence of the language the Philistines used, nor have they succeeded in deciphering the two or three extremely short inscriptions that have been tentatively identified as Philistine. See Robert R. Stieglitz, “Did the Philistines Write?” BAR 08:04.



The archaeological project at Tel Batash (Timnah) was sponsored from 1977 to 1979 by the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (with additional funding from Mississippi College and Louisiana College) and since 1981 by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at Fort Worth, Texas, both in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. George L. Kelm is expedition director and Amihai Mazar is archaeological field director. The permanent core staff included Osnat Misch-Brandl (1977–1979); Baruch Brandl (1982–1987), Thomas V. Brisco (1982–1984), Daniel Browning (1984–1986); Merilyn Copland (1983–1987), Moises Fleitman (1982–1987), Linda L. Kelm (recruitment and restoration) and Leen Ritmeyer (architect).

A permanent exhibit on the history and material culture of Timnah is housed in the Charles D. Tandy Archaeological Museum on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

For further reading, see: George L. Kelm and Amihai Mazar, “Three Seasons of Excavations at Tel Batash-Biblical Timnah,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) 237 (1982), pp. 1–36; Kelm and Mazar, “Tel Batash (Timnah) Excavations, Second Preliminary Report (1981–1983),” in BASOR Supplement 23 (1985), ed. Walter E. Rast, pp. 93–120.


David Ussishkin, “Answers at Lachish,” BAR 05:06.


For Tel Miqne (Ekron), see: Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin, “The Rise and Fall of Ekron of the Philistines,” Biblical Archaeologist 50 (1987), pp. 197–222.