Gilad Itach

The Assyrian Interests in the Western Part of the Province of Samaria

A Case Study from Khallat es-Siḥrij and its Vicinity

Volume 11 () / Issue 5, pp. 83-112 (30)
Published 11.08.2022

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The Neo-Assyrian Empire conquered large territories of the Levant in the second half of the eighth century BCE, submitting nearly all kingdoms in the region to Assyrian rule. Among the Assyrian provinces founded in the region at that time was the province of Samaria, located in the southern part of the former territory of the kingdom of Israel. In the southwestern part of the province, just south of Aphek pass, dozens of rural sites were founded, while adjacent regions seem to have remained largely depopulated at that time. This remarkable array of newly founded rural settlements appears to have served the logistical needs of the Empire in its southwesternmost frontier, although the precise nature of these settlements and their pattern of distribution have not been fully considered. The recently excavated site of Khallat es-Siḥrij is identified as one of these Assyrian-founded rural sites. While most finds from the excavation belonged to local traditions, some demonstrated a relationship to Neo-Assyrian administrative activity. In this study, I analyze the finds from Khallat es-Siḥrij and reconsider the settlement pattern of Neo-Assyrian rural sites in its vicinity. In light of this new information, I discuss the strategic significance of the region for the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Gilad Itach No current data available.