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Forthcoming events

JOINT LECTURE WITH THE AIAS: New Light on the Palace of the Kings of Israel

Rupert Chapman, British Museum




4pm, 9th March , 2017, BP Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, British Museum.  To book, contact the British Museum Box Office:  020 7323 8181 or     and go to the 'What's On' option at the top of the BM homepage. Then choose the 'Events Calendar'  and scroll down the page to see events listed by date and time.

Lecture Poster March 9th.pdf

The Hill of Samarai, 1930sThe hill of Samaria in the 1930s, during the excavations directed by John Crowfoot. Photo: PEF Archives

The biblical account tells us that in the early ninth century B.C. Omri, King of Israel, bought land on which to found a new capital for his new kingdom.  Archaeology has revealed that this hill had previously been used for agriculture, including probably the growing of grapes and olives.  Two major excavations have been carried out on the site, involving the two most noted field archaeologists and stratigraphic analysts who have ever worked in the Levant, George Andrew Reisner, and Kathleen Mary Kenyon.  Their work has produced a wealth of evidence about what is, by any standards, one of the most important archaeological sites in the southern Levant, making it the most extensively excavated royal centre of any period in the region, and yet, it is in many respects still one of the least known sites.  This talk will introduce the site, beginning with the construction of the great royal compound, which included the palace itself and an enormous parade ground, and examine the expansion of the great platform on which the palace stood, which took place shortly after the initial construction, looking at why that expansion was necessary.  In this lecture, Dr. Chapman will then examine the palace itself, and show that it was a true ‘bit hilani’ in the North Syrian style, with the first attempted reconstruction of what it looked like. He will conclude by looking at the evidence for the life of the building, when it was finally destroyed, and why.

Dr. Rupert Chapman studied at the University of Mississippi and the Institute of Archaeology, University of London.  He has excavated in Mississippi, England, Wales, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Israel, and also in Oman and Saudi Arabia. He was Executive Secretary of the Palestine Exploration Fund for 22 years, before joining the Middle East Department of the British Museum in October, 2006, where he became Curator of Levantine Antiquities and Departmental Librarian.  He retired in 2016, old and full of years, and is now working on the final report of the British Museum’s excavations at Tell es-Sa’idiyeh, Jordan, and personal research on the archaeology of ancient Samaria.

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