site located on the southwest flank of the Jezreel plain about 8 km (5 mi.) southeast of Megiddo. Although springs are common along the fault line, none flowed near the site; in about 1700 BCE, cisterns were commonly used at the site. Ta῾anach was first excavated by Ernst Sellin for the University of Vienna (1902–1904), who worked largely on the northern half of the tell. The later expedition, a joint venture of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, led by Paul W. Lapp (1963–1968), focused on its southwest quadrant. Lapp's work contributed to what is known about the site's fortification history and about the site in the Early Bronze period, both of which had eluded the earlier excavation. Of the seven biblical references to Ta῾anach, the best known is Judges 5:19, in which Deborah and Barak are said to have fought the Canaanites “at Ta῾anach, by the waters of Megiddo.” Though Ta῾anach was assigned to Manasseh (Jos. 17:12), that tribe was unable to conquer it (Jg. 1:27). In the tenth century the town was said to be in the fifth administrative district of Solomon (1 Kgs. 4:12). Additional biblical references are found in Joshua 12:21, 17:2, 21:25; Judges 1:28; and 1 Chronicles 7:29.
The archaeology of the site shows that it has been in existence since about 2700 BCE, although with significant gaps in its history. The heavily fortified EB town, which existed until about 2300 BCE, experienced a major rebuilding of its defenses on the southern slope. Modestly reoccupied in the eighteenth century BCE, Ta῾anach developed into an important service center. This is reflected in archaeological evidence for a metallurgical industry, which is also alluded to in an Akkadian cuneiform tablet found on the site (Glock, 1971, letter 2:8, 19). Ta῾anach may have suffered at the hands of Thutmosis III in 1468 BCE, but it seems to have survived into the fourteenth century. An eighteenth-dynasty Egyptian document refers to Ta῾anach as a source of maryanu (warriors) provided for the Egyptian court. The name lists of several tablets indicate that at that time the Ta῾anach community was polyethnic. The possible reference to Ta῾anach in Amarna tablet 248 remains a debated restoration. A small alphabetic cuneiform tablet, interpreted by Delbert L. Hillers (1964) as a receipt for grain, suggests that the site was reoccupied in the twelfth century. On the basis of the 8 percent of the site Lapp excavated, its Iron Age occupation was sparse but continued into the fifth century BCE. A substantial cult stand recovered from a tenth-century context reflects older Canaanite religious traditions. Ta῾anach is listed among the towns conquered by Shishak, founder of the twenty-second Egyptian dynasty, in 918 BCE. The interpretation of a structure as cultic that produced a cache of artifacts in situ, including a figurine mold, has been challenged but seems sound. Little of the Roman-Byzantine town has been excavated, but the site then is described as a “very large village” in the fourth-century CE Onomasticon of Eusebius. It appears that the mosque in the modern village rests on Byzantine foundations. Archaeological evidence documents limited occupation during the tenth and twelfth-thirteenth centuries CE. In the latter period, “Tannoch” was indentured to the Monastery of St. Mary in Jerusalem. Sellin excavated a twenty-five-room compound dating to this period on the tell. Ottoman tax records of the late sixteenth century reveal a small settlement that was recently (1985–1987) partially excavated by Albert E. Glock on the tell's northeast slope. The site was abandoned in the early eighteenth-century; the modern village was established in the mid-nineteenth century.
[See also the biographies of Lapp and Sellin.]
- Glock, Albert E. “A New Ta῾annek Tablet.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 204 (1971): 17–30.
- Hillers, Delbert R. “An Alphabetic Cuneiform Tablet from Ta῾anach (TT 433).” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 173 (1964): 45–50.
- Lapp, Paul. “The 1963 Excavations at Ta῾annek.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 173 (1964): 4–44.
- Lapp, Paul. “The 1966 Excavations at Ta῾annek.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 185 (1967): 2–39.
- Lapp, Paul. “The 1968 Excavations at Ta῾annek.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 195 (1969): 2–49.
- Rast, Walter E. Ta῾anach I: Studies in the Iron Age Pottery. Cambridge, Mass., 1978.
- Sellin, Ernst. Tell Ta῾annek. Vienna, 1904.
- Sellin, Ernst. Eine Nachlese auf dem Tell Ta῾annek in Palästina. 2 vols. Vienna, 1905.
Albert E. Glock