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In the most recent issue of the journal Near Eastern Archaeology (Vol. 87, no. 2), in an article entitled, “The Trail of Sennacherib’s Siege Camps,” Stephen C. Compton claims to have located Assyrian siege camps at Lachish, Jerusalem and other locations. Compton compared details in the famous Lachish reliefs from Sennacherib’s palace with the landscape seen in early aerial photos prior to urbanization and identified the oval-shaped camp the Assyrians used in 701 BC when attacking the city. He also discovered that this site had pottery sherds from the eighth century BC, but had no evidence of occupation before that, nor for hundreds of years afterward. Compton also noted that the Arabic name for the site was Khirbet al Mudawwara, meaning “The Ruins of the Camp of the Invading Ruler.”

Compton then noted an oval-shaped site near Jerusalem on a hill named Jebel el Mudawwara (“The Mountain of the Camp of the Invading Ruler”). He believes this site to be the Assyrian camp used during the siege of Jerusalem, and he further identifies the location with the former city of Nob, based on Isaiah’s description of the Assyrians stopping at Nob when they attacked Jerusalem (Is 10:24–32). This hill is now called Ammunition Hill due to its use as a British ammunition depot in the 1930’s.

Based on evidence from these two Assyrian camps, Compton has identified other oval-shape sites that use the toponym Mudawwara as Assyrian military camps from Sennacherib’s campaign in 701 BC, which is described in the Bible (2 Kgs 18 –19; 2 Chr 32; Is 36 –37).

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