Beth-Shemesh has attracted the interest of scholars and students of the ancient Near East since the beginning of modern exploration of the Holy Land. First, the name Beth-Shemesh, "the House of the Sun," implied a temple dedicated to the sun deity. Second, the biblical aspects of the place are appealing. Beth-Shemesh and its environs are related to Samson's name and his encounters with the Philistines in the Sorek Valley. In addition, and most intriguingly, the miraculous return of the Ark of Covenant from captivity in Philistia reached its climax in the fields of the Israelite border town of Beth-Shemesh. No wonder, then, that Rumeillah (or 'Ain Shems), the mound of ancient Beth-Shemesh, was one of the earliest sites to be excavated in Palestine. In fact, Tel Beth-Shemesh was excavated in the last century by three different expeditions, one British (1911-1912), one American (1928-1933), and currently (since 1990) an Israeli initiative that quickly expanded into an ongoing international collaboration.