SIEGE RAMPS AND BREACHED WALLS: ANCIENT WARFARE AND THE ASSYRIAN CONQUEST OF LACHISH

 

Back in the day, the Assyrians were one of the Near East’s superpowers, controlling a land mass that stretched from Iran to Egypt. They accomplished this feat with military technologies that helped them win any open-air battle or penetrate any fortified city.  While today, airpower and bunker busters help win the war, back in the ninth to the seventh centuries BCE, it was all about the siege ramp, an elevated structure that hauled battering ramps up to the enemy’s city walls and let the Neo-Assyrians soldiers wreak havoc on their enemies.

 

Constructed in Israel, the Assyrian siege ramp at Lachish is the only surviving physical example of their military prowess in the entire Near East.  Now, for the first time, a team of archaeologists has reconstructed how the Assyrian army may have built the ramp and used it to conquer the city of Lachish. The team, led by Professor Yosef Garfinkel and Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU), and Professors Jon W. Carroll and Michael Pytlik of Oakland University, USA, drew on a rich number of sources about this historical event to provide this complete picture.  The outstanding amount of data includes biblical texts (2 Kings 18:9–19:37; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36–37), iconography (stone reliefs depicting Assyrian battle scenes) and Akkadian inscriptions, archeological excavations, and 21st century drone photographs.  They published their findings in Oxford Journal of Archaeology.