Assyrian Siege Ramp at Lachish

Assyrian Siege Ramp at Lachish. By Wilson44691 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Our expedition to Lachish is described in detail in the review/article “Destruction of Judean Fortress Portrayed in Dramatic Eighth-Century B.C. Pictures.” In this brief note I would like to describe for BAR readers the exciting results of our 1983 season, in which, for the first time, we extensively excavated the Assyrian siege ramp outside the city wall. We also extended inside the city wall the longitudinal trench cut through the Assyrian siege ramp. Once inside the city, we discovered, opposite the Assyrian siege ramp, an unsuspected Judean counter-ramp intended to bolster the city’s defenses against the Assyrian onslaught. With the discovery of this defensive Judean counter ramp, the battle of Lachish in 701 B.C. came alive in a startling new way.

The British excavations at Lachish led by J. L. Starkey in the 1930s had discovered and partially excavated the Assyrian siege ramp outside the city wall. In 1977 our own expedition to Lachish cut a small trench into the ramp to determine how it had been built. At that time, we also surveyed the area around the ramp, inside as well as outside the wall.

This effort to understand the Assyrian siege ramp and the implications to be drawn from it directed us to the location of the Assyrian siege camp.

Read the rest of News from the Field: Defensive Judean Counter-Ramp Found at Lachish in 1983 Season in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.