Samaria Ostracon

Samaria Ostraca no 4

George Andrew Reisner, Samaria ostracon number 4, 1908-1910. Ink on pottery, Harvard Excavations at Samaria, 1908–1910. 2 vols. Harvard Semitic Series. Cambridge: Harvard University. Press, 1924.

George Andrew Reisner (1867–1942) was an American-born archaeologist who worked extensively in Nubia, Egypt, and Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. In his excavations at Samaria, Reisner discovered the royal palace built by the kings Omri and Ahab during the Israelite period (circa 930–720 B.C.E.). Excavations at Samaria also revealed a significant cache of ostraca (pottery fragments bearing writing), including the example shown here. The Samaria ostraca date to the eighth century B.C.E. and contain mostly economic accounts of shipments of wine and oil. They are significant not only for understanding Israelite administration but also for what they reveal about the Hebrew language in this period.