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Jewry: Fake and truth in the Old Testament (OT) according to documents and excavations

New identity by new Jewish history by help of chronology and archaeological research

25. Acropolis buildings of the Omrids

Samaria: Acropolis,
Samaria: Acropolis, ruins

by Michael Palomino (2006 / 2010)



from: Israel Finkelstein / Neil A. Silberman: The Bible unearthed. Archeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts; The Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2001; German edition has got the title "No trombones before Jericho" (orig. German: "Keine Posaunen vor Jericho"): edition C.H.Beck oHG, Munich 2002;

Here in this analysis is used the German version "Keine Posaunen vor Jericho" of DTV, Munich 2004, second edition of 2005. All page indications refer to the German version. I hope the page numbers are not very different.

about 880 B.C.
Reconstruction of Samaria as an acropolis in the Omri period

[Further names for Samaria are Sebaste, Sebastia, Sebastiya, Sebastiyeh, Sebastos, Sebustiyeh, Shamir, Shomeron, or Shomron].

Omri lets destroy and flatten the village respectively the little town of Samaria and lets build his palaces. Around the hill a big circular wall is constructed, in "casemate technique" (casemate chambers filled with earth mitigating the pressure of the filling). The inner space around the hill is filled with earth (p.199).

According to archeology the central building of the palace had alone about 2000 m2,
-- with architectonic ornaments
-- with similar to Aeolian stony capitals ("proto Aeolian") (p.199)
-- with monumental city gates (p.201).

There is coming out an acropolis. The houses of Samaria ware along the slopes outside of the acropolis (p.201).

[There is the question where the acropolis technique comes from, and what copy the acropolis of Athens is e.g.].

Samaria: Acropolis, ruins
Samaria: Acropolis, ruins

from 880 B.C. on appr.

The Omrid reconstruction of the town of Megiddo as an acropolis
Also the town of Megiddo is reconstructed as an acropolis
-- with palaces in the North and in the South like in Samaria (p.201, 208)
-- the palaces are built in a stony block technique, but without casemate installations (p.207,208)
-- both palaces are in a North Syrian style of bit-hilani (p.207), the southern palace has got capitals similar to Aeolian style ("proto Aeolian") (p.208)

Map with the acropolis
                        towns reconstructed under the Omrids: Megiddo,
                        Gezer, Hazor, Dan and Jezreel. There are no
                        findings for Jerusalem in these times.
Map with the acropolis towns reconstructed under the Omrids: Megiddo, Gezer, Hazor, Dan and Jezreel. There are no findings for Jerusalem in these times.

-- the layout of the town is similar to the one of Samaria, with a huge town wall with a four chamber gate (p.202)
-- Megiddo has got a deep spring of fresh water in a cave, and the cave's entrance is locked by a wall and concealed (p.204).

The palaces in Samaria and Megiddo have the same seal of stonemason (p.208).

The Omrid reconstruction of the town of Hazor as an acropolis
-- Hazor is built as a huge fortress (p.202), as an acropolis with casemate wall, with a large ditch U(p.207)
-- on the platform of the acropolis was installed a three pointed building complex in stony block technique, really Omrid style (p.207)
-- Hazor had a great water system torn through the rocks and was prepared against any siege (p.202): The rocky chamber is as deep so the groundwater is coming out (p.204).

The Omrid reconstruction of the town of Dan as an acropolis
-- with a huge fortress
-- with a great and elaborated city gate
-- with a holy place of the Omrid period on a platform
-- with further monumental buildings of the Omrid period
-- with a great water system torn through the rocks being prepared against any siege (p.203).

The Omrid construction of the town of Jezreel as an acropolis - this is a good example
Jezreel is only excavated in the 1990s. The basic walls of the ruins have got the layout as in Samaria with an enormous casemate wall, with a filled territory with a palace on it, with large ditches (p.206) and with one single great city gate (p.206-207). But according to archeology the town of Jezreel is inhabited only for a short time, and after the Omrid period is soon destroyed (p.206).

For archeology Jezreel is a lucky chance because this town precisely existed only during the Omrid period. By this, the style is exactly datable and is a criterion for other towns. Ceramics are quasi identical with the ceramics of the palace of Megiddo. In this way there are comparisons and it's proven that the town of Jezreel is from the Omrids (p.207).

The palace of Jezreel is kept as a little town for some time. The definite destruction could have been in connection - according to Finkelstein / Silberman - with the rebellion of Jehu or with the later Syrian invasion under Hazael (p.222).

The Omrid reconstruction of the town of Geser as a "half" acropolis
-- has got an an artificial terrace on the slope with a filling
-- has got a palace with a six chamber gate, in stony block technique, in connection with a casemate wall (p.208)
-- the palace had capitals similar to Aeolian style ("proto Aeolian") (p.209).

Omrid buildings outside of the origin city state of Shechem

For a complete overview of the buildings of the Omrid Reich one has to investigate also remnants of the Omrids outside the core Reich. Mesha stele of Moab reports for example that king Omri had two towns built in Moab, Ataroth and Jahaz. According to Finkelstein / Silberman these frontier fortifications in today's Jordan (p.209).

The Omrid buildings in the East Bank are hardly excavated until today. Ataroth is said to be Tell Chirbet-Atarus in the South West of Madeba in Jordan, Jahaz has not been found yet. Eventually it is the ruin of Chirbet el-Mudeyine (p.210).

In Jordan many fortresses are yet in the sand which could be outposts of the Omrids, eventually more distant as admitted until today (p.210).

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Photo sources

-- Samaria: acropolis, ruins: http://www.bibleplaces.com/samaria.htm