Middle Bronze Age 2200–1550 B.C.E.

c. 1700–1550 B.C.E. Flints, ceramics and a series of tombs provide the only evidence of the earliest city, as revealed by early 20th-century American excavations.

c. 1550 B.C.E. Egyptian campaign destroys the city, according to archaeologist George Ernest Wright.

Late Bronze Age 1550–1200 B.C.E.

c. 1500–1200 B.C.E. Rebuilt city prospers. Finds include a proto-Canaanite inscription, a cuneiform tablet, a spectacular jewelry hoard and a copper-smelting furnace.

Iron Age I 1200–1000 B.C.E.

c. 1200–1100 B.C.E. The variety of artifacts makes it difficult to tell exactly who dwells here as Israel begins to emerge in Canaan. Canaanite-style pottery and column bases appear among the ruins of the “Patrician House,” but the scarcity of pig bones parallels findings at contemporaneous “Israelite” sites in the hill country, such as Shiloh and Mt. Ebal.

c. 1100 B.C.E. Fire destroys village.

c. 1100–1000 B.C.E. The village is rebuilt. The orientation of the houses is altered, earthen floors replace thick plaster, and square monolithic columns (commonly associated with the Israelites) are used.

Iron Age II 1000–586 B.C.E.

c. 1000–931 B.C.E. During the period of the United Monarchy, Beth-Shemesh is reconstructed as an administrative center. Laid out on a careful plan, the city is protected by the “Strong Wall” and includes a storehouse, a spacious public building and a water reservoir.

c. 800–750 B.C.E. The city remains well fortified; a two-chambered gate is built, perhaps by the Judahite king Amaziah (798–769 B.C.E.) or Uzziah (769–733 B.C.E.).

c. 727–702 B.C.E. Prevalence of handles inscribed “LMLK” (“[Belonging] to the king”) indicates the important role of the fortified city in the Judahite military and administrative organization of King Hezekiah (727–698 B.C.E.). Olive-oil production thrives as a cottage industry.

701 B.C.E. Sennacherib destroys Beth-Shemesh.

c. 700–670 B.C.E. Surviving Judahites reoccupy city, settling around water reservoir.

c. 670 B.C.E. Philistines block water reservoir, thereby assuring the complete abandonment of the site.