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Artifact of the Month: Siege of Lachish Wall Relief

(Posted by Michael J. Caba)

This wall relief carving depicts the siege of the Judean city of Lachish, telling the story from the Assyrian point of view. The carving was created in c. 700 BC and was discovered in the 1850s in the ancient city of Nineveh, Assyria. The full original panel measured sixty-two feet in length and was nearly nine feet tall. The events shown on the panel are also recorded in the Bible in 2 Kings 18. The relief now resides in the British Museum.

The close-up photo shown to the right is one of the panels to this long relief. It depicts the battle between the attackers, who are using a battering ram, and the defenders who are shooting arrows and throwing burning torches.
The close-up photo on the left shows Judean captives being led into exile. Other panels (not included here) show victims being impaled and flayed.


All in all, despite the rather gruesome subject matter, the relief represents one of the more magnificent treasures from antiquity. It also provides support for the historicity of the scriptural record.

For information on similar artifacts related to the Bible, see Bible and Archaeology – Online Museum.

(Photos: BiblePlaces.com. Significant resources for further study: The Context of Scripture, volume 2, page 304; Lost Treasures of the Bible, by Fant and Reddish, pages 173-177.)

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6 thoughts on “Artifact of the Month: Siege of Lachish Wall Relief

  1. Love these photos! When we visited the British Museum for the first time, not one docent had a clue where these reliefs were when I asked. Finally found them though, and they were worth the hunt.

  2. Wayne must have been at the British Museum on an "off day." Took my wife to see the Lachish relief promising her that it will only take 1-hr off the time given to a shopping trip to London from Israel. Walked in to main entrance, asked first docent – without hesitation told us which level and how to access it. On coming to level asked again another docent – who walked us to the gallery containing the Lachish relief. Helena spent a "good hour" looking at the details of the relief and enjoyed every minute of it. I think she was looking at the detailing on the clothes and portrayal of artefacts.

  3. Milagros, you are welcome. If you like this type of post, we have a number of them you can see. Simply search for "artifact of the month" in the search box and the links to them will come up. Thanks again.

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About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.

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