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Archaeologists who excavated at Azekah recently announced that they believe they have found evidence of an Assyrian siege ramp from their campaign of 701 BC.  The team searched the southeastern corner of the tell, which was the area that was most vulnerable to attack, and discovered that the old Bronze Age wall appeared to be cut back on a 45-degree angle to create a ramp leading into the city.  In the fill at the bottom, excavators unearthed two 8th-century ritual chalices, similar to those depicted in Assyrian reliefs.  On the other side of the fortification wall, they discovered a counter-ramp built inside the city, a common defence against siege warfare in antiquity, and similar to the one known at Lachish.  No arrowheads or other evidence of war was uncovered; archaeologists surmise that small artifacts, such as arrowheads, have likely washed away down the steep slope over the millennia.  If this interpretation of the evidence is correct, it appears that the Assyrians may have “recycled” an ancient Bronze Age wall to use as their siege ramp to conquer Azekah, an event that is described in Assyrian sources.  In Scripture, Sennacherib’s campaign against the kingdom of Judah is described in 2 Kings 18, 2 Chron. 32, and Isaiah 36.


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