Reconstructing Samaria/Sebaste

The upper city (better, platform) of Samaria is well known. It is a sizeable platform built in the 8th century BC by either Joash or Jeroboam, as argued by Norma Franklin. However, its lower city, being unexcavated, provoked little analysis. Recently, Israel Finkelstein proposed that this lower city was bounded by the earthworks (which look like roads from Google Earth). Considering these earthworks’ size, Samaria was rather small and surprisingly compact, being hard to take by siege. Using the maps here and here, we can reconstruct the upper and lower city of Samaria as thus:

As we can see, as at Lachish (whose hill is shaped quite a bit differently), a vast “palace-fort” dominated over the modest “city proper”. However, at Lachish, no vast fill was made to make the palace-fort dominant. It seems as though Samaria was equally city and administrative center.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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