Lachish falls

Posted: June 20, 2014 in Ancient Near Eastern History, History
Tags: ,

We left Sennacherib camped outside the walls of the city. We are fortunate in the fact that we have both documentary and archaeological evidence for the nature of the siege. In order to access the city, the Assyrian army had to overcome the double city wall. To do this they attacked the south-western corner, the most vulnerable part of the city as the distance from the ground to the top of the inner wall was smallest here. To overcome the walls, they built a ramp, the remains of which still exist today -the only such siege structure that has been discovered to date. There has been a lot of debate about how this ramp was actually used. Was it to enable siege weapons or battering rams to reach the inner fortification walls or was it to enable foot soldiers to breach the top of the outer city wall. One confounding point is that the defenders build a counter ramp on the opposite side of the wall. This was probably erected to prevent the weight of the Assyrian siege ramp pushing in the wall and thus creating a breach.

Despite the best efforts of the defenders, Lachish’s walls were eventually breached and the city was captured. Archaeologically there is evidence for widespread destruction within the city, including the destruction of the defensive wall. David Ussishkin, the director of the most extensive excavations at the site summed this up as ‘sacked, burnt, raised to the ground and left in ruins’. In effect, Sennacherib wiped the city from the face of the earth.

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