Tel Lachish

Archeologists shed light on how ancient Assyrians conquered Lachish

Researchers suggest powerful army quarried and transported millions of stones in less than a month to build a ramp for battering rams to breach the hilltop Judean stronghold in 701 BCE

i24NEWS |
Published: 11.09.21, 14:32
In 701 BCE, the Assyrian King Sennacherib conquered the Judean city of Lachish. Now, new archeological findings are shedding light on one of the most documented battles of ancient history.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • The findings, published in the Oxford Journal of Archeology, combined analysis of biblical and historical sources with the study of archaeological remains and the landscape in order to figure out exactly how conquering troops built the ramp that allowed them to capture the city.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    צילום אוויר כללי של האתר
    צילום אוויר כללי של האתר
    Tel Lachish
    (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)
    At the time of the siege, Assyria was a veritable Near East superpower, controlling a landmass that stretched from today's Iran to Egypt.
    The Kingdom of Judah, on the other hand, was a relatively small vassal state that attempted to break free of Assyria's influence by allying with Egypt.
    The Jewish kingdom managed to drive back the Assyrians, but the war was devastating for it to fully recover, eventually leading to its fall at the hand of the Babylonians in 586 BCE, who conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the First Temple and sent many into exile.
    “The questions we wanted to answer were, how did they build this massive ramp? Where did they get the materials? How much time and how many people did they need?” says Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeologist from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem who led the study, Haaretz reported.
    “In order to build the ramp, the Assyrians could have used either sediment or stones,” Garfinkel said, according to The Jerusalem Post.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    קטע מתבליט סנחריב המתאר חיילים אשוריים נושאי חניתות ומגינים מתקיפים את העיר לכיש
    קטע מתבליט סנחריב המתאר חיילים אשוריים נושאי חניתות ומגינים מתקיפים את העיר לכיש
    A scene from the Sennacherib Lachish reliefs showing Assyrian soldiers attacking the Judean city
    (Photo: Prof. Yosef Garfinkel)
    “However, containers are needed in order to move sediment, which was not very practical, while a stone can be passed from a man to another very quickly.”
    A quarry was found at the side of the cliff, and researchers believe that prisoners of war passed some 160,000 stones per day in a human chain from the quarry to build the ramp.
    “I believe that at least 1,000 men worked for the project,” Garfinkel said, noting that the project could have take roughly 25 days.
    After the ramp was built, the Assyrian army breached the city walls with battery rams, and conquered the city.
    Talkbacks for this article 0