Pictorial Archive, Richard Cleave

Tel Batash, seen from the air, appears as an island of green. Rising 40 feet above the surrounding fields, the flat-topped mound stands at a bend in the Sorek brook, lower left, and preserves at least 11 layers of ruined cities and villages. These superimposed occupation levels span more than a millennium, from the 18th century B.C. to the Persian period (sixth–fourth centuries B.C.). Eleven years of excavations, partly visible as the brown area in the lower left corner of the mound, have led the authors tentatively to identify the mound’s earliest Iron Age city (c. 1200 B.C.) as Philistine Timnah, the Biblical site of some of Samson’s most exciting exploits.