Tell Qasile Excavations

Philistine temple at Tell Qasile. The first Philistine temple ever discovered, this one room structure dates from the 12th century B.C. Later, during the 12th and 11th centuries, the temple was twice rebuilt and enlarged (see plans). Stratum XII, the earliest phase, is the one shown in the photograph where we see plastered benches and a beaten lime floor. The stone walls are from the two later temples (strata XI and X). The two round column bases—about six feet apart—were added in the last phase of the temple. Charred wood found at the bases of the columns was evidence that the stone bases originally held cedar columns which supported the roof. We can easily imagine Samson standing in such a Philistine temple, arms outstretched, straining to topple the columns and destroy the temple with his enemies and himself inside.