TAANACH (Heb. תַּצֲנָךְ ,תַּעְנַךְ), Canaanite city-state, identified with Tell Ti ʿ innik, about 5 mi. (8 km.) S.E. of Megiddo. The earliest city flourished during the 27th–25th centuries b.c.e. (end of early Bronze Age ii to the first half of Early Bronze Age iii). Relations with Egypt may have been established at an early date, as is evidenced by a possible imitation of Egyptian tomb construction of the third dynasty. The city was abandoned in about 2500 b.c.e. and was only reoccupied in the second millennium (Middle Bronze Age ii). In the Late Bronze Age, Taanach came under Egyptian domination. A palace, rebuilt several times in this period, attests the continuing prosperity of the city. Taanach appears in the list of cities subject to Thutmosis iii (no. 42) and on a contemporary papyrus listing the envoys of the Canaanite kings (Ermitage papyrus 1115/6). Twelve cuneiform tablets, dating to the 15th–14th century b.c.e., were uncovered in the excavations. In them an Egyptian governor named Amenhotep (the pharaoh?) orders the king of Taanach to supply men and materials to Megiddo and Gaza. The city appears again in connection with Megiddo in the *El-Amarna letter no. 248 (as Tahnuka).
The king of Taanach is listed among the Canaanite kings defeated by Joshua (Josh. 12:21). While the city appears among those supposedly held by Manasseh in the territory of Issachar (Josh. 17:11; i Chron. 7:29), it follows from Judges 1:27 that the Israelites did not capture the city at the time of the conquest. The city played an important role in the war of Deborah. From the description in Judges 5:19 – "Taanach by the waters of Megiddo" – Albright has concluded that during an eclipse of the latter city, Taanach was predominant in the Jezreel Valley. Others doubt this interpretation, especially as the latest excavations indicate that the city was destroyed in about 1125 b.c.e. and lay in ruins for most of the 11th century. The city revived in the period of the United Monarchy, when David established it as one of the levitical cities (Josh. 21:25), which served as administrative centers. Solomon included it in his fifth district, administered by Baana the son of Ahilud (i Kings 4:12). To this period possibly belongs the pillared building similar to those found at Megiddo and Hazor, which some have regarded as a stable. Taanach was conquered by Shishak and it appears in his list of conquered cities between Shunem and Megiddo (no. 14).
The city's existence in later times is attested by Eusebius, who variously locates it 3 and 4 mi. (5 and 6 km.) from Legio (Onom. 98:12; 100:7ff.). In the crusader period, it was a casal (village) known as Tannoc, which was dependent on Legio and was a subject of dispute between the bishop and abbey of Nazareth. The present-day village of Ti ʿ innik is located near the ancient site.
Tell Ti ʿ innik was excavated by E. Sellin on behalf of the Vienna Academy (1902–04) and by an American expedition under the direction of P.W. Lapp (1963–68). Among the finds of the recent excavations are a cuneiform tablet in Ugaritic script and an early Israelite high place.
In Modern Israel
Although the village Ti ʿ innik and the ancient site remained 1.3 mi. (2 km.) beyond the Jordanian border after the 1949 Armistice Agreement, the larger part of the southern Jezreel Valley came into Israel, and a comprehensive development project of the area was carried out from 1955 under the name Taanach Bloc. After the model of the *Lachish region, three clusters of moshavim, each with three villages grouped around a rural center, were established: in the west are Gadish, Mele'ah, and Nir Yafeh around Omen; in the center Addirim, Barak, and Devorah around Ḥever; in the east Avital, Meirav, and Perazon around Ya'el. The town of Afulah functioned as the urban center of the bloc. Farming in the region was based on intensive, mostly irrigated, field and garden crops (e.g., cotton, sugar beets, groundnuts, wheat, fodder plants, tomatoes, flowers, etc.), dairy cattle, poultry, and, in some of the moshavim, deciduous fruit orchards. In 1968 the moshavim of the Taanach Bloc had a combined population of about 3,200. The Arab village Ti ʿ innik, which came under Israeli administration after the Six-Day War (1967), numbered 294 inhabitants in the autumn 1967 census. At the end of 2002 the populations of Taanach's moshavim were as followed: Gadish 280, Mele'ah 333, Nir Yafeh 316, Addirim 239, Barak 249, Devorah 216, Avital 423, Meirav 312, and Perazon 318.
[Efraim Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]
E. Sellin, Tell Ta'annek (Ger., 1904); idem, Eine Nachlese auf dem Tell Ta'annek in Palaestina (1905); Albright, in: jpos, 4 (1924), 140; idem, in: basor, 94 (1944), 12–27; idem, in: jnes, 5 (1946), 9; Mazar, in: Sefer Klausner (1937), 44ff.; Lapp, in: ba, 30 (1967), 1ff.; idem, in: basor, 173 (1964), 45–50; 185 (1967), 2–39; Aharoni, Land, index.