The Israeli government has announced the approval of an $8.8 million budget to develop an archaeological park at Samaria (Sebastia), located a few kilometers northwest of the city of Nablus. Samaria became the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel when it was built by King Omri in the ninth century BC. First Kings 16:24 says that Omri “bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver, and he fortified the hill and called the name of the city that he built Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill” (ESV). Until now, the site has lain largely undeveloped. The new funds will be used to establish a tourist center, build new roads, map unexcavated areas, and prevent illegal activity at the site.
Bonus Article—Bryan Windle's Archaeological Biography of King Omri:
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