The site was first settled in the Middle Bronze Age by creating an earthen rampart that enclosed the 10 acre / 40 hectare site. Excavations under the leadership of Amihai Mazar and George L. Kelm during the 1980s-1990s uncovered twelve strata of continuous settlement at the site through the Hellenistic period, with sparse settlement nearby during the Byzantine period.
Strategically located in the Sorek Valley that allows access from the Coastal Plain through the Shephelah and into the Central Hill Country of Judah, Timnah is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the Genesis story of Tamar. More important, the site is featured in the Book of Judges (Chapter 14) in the Samson saga. Samson marries a "girl of the Philistines" from Timnah.
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