Long-lost Assyrian camp recently found supports Biblical account, expert says

So the Assyrian Empire ruled most of the ancient Near East similar to the Roman Empire that came later around 700 BC and during the height of the Assyrian Empire, the king was Sennacherib and in seven O 1 BC Sennacherib invaded the land of Judah, which is now Israel, Palestine and conquered a number of cities until he reached Jerusalem. This event is recorded in Assyrian texts, it's referenced in Babylonian documents and in Greek histories as well and in the Bible where it plays an important role. One of the important cities that he conquered, which is mentioned in the Bible as well as in Assyrian documents, is Lakish. And on the wall of Snacker's palace, he had a relief depicting in stone carving the conquest of the city of Laquish. And then off to one side, his military camp. And his military camp was a large Oval. This image from the wall of his palace is now on the wall of the British Museum, but it's never been found. We know where Lakisha is. Lakisha's been excavated ongoing excavations right now by Felix Huffelmeyer and Ketrin Streit, but the his his military camp had never been found. So I went looking for the site of Sennacherib's military camp. We knew it was an Oval and we knew roughly where the location would be had to be around Laquiche. And what I did was I took the, the image of the relief and matched up the recognizable features in the landscape with the actual landscape around the actual city of Laquiche and was able to overlay the two using using earlier photographs of the landscape from World War 2 before a major changes have been made to it by by development and by highway and so on. And the the the matches that was was incredibly good. And right where this Oval camp was, there was a small hill with an Oval stone ruined structure on top of it. And so I went and looked at this hill. Archaeological reports from the hill had it being unoccupied for 2600 years until right at the time of Sennacherib's invasion. A strata a a pottery strata called Laquish Level 3 that marks Sennacherib's invasion of Laquish. At that exact time this hill was occupied. After that it was abandoned again for centuries. So the the archaeological dating of the hill matched and the name of the hill in Arabic was Kirbet al Mutawara. Kirbet means stone ruins, and Almudawara is the camp of the invading king. So it was the stone ruins of the camp of the invading king. So the name fit, the dates fit, the shape fit, and the position relative the city fit. Everything fit for this to have been Sennacherib's invasion camp from when he laid siege to Lakish. The next and the most famous of Sennacherib's camps was Jerusalem. I looked at the surroundings of Jerusalem. There was a similar hill with a similar Oval fortification atop it. It had been examined by the Palestine Exploration Fund in the 19th century, 1880 ish, and they found that it had it appeared to be the ruins of a military camp. However, they identified it as the camp of Titus from his invasion of Jerusalem in 70 AD. However, all Roman military camps were rectangular, and this was Oval, so it could not have been the camp of Titus. However, the characteristic shape of the Syrian military camps was Oval. In addition, the size was the same as the one at the Quiche. The position was similar. It was where Sennacherib's invasion camp should have been for invading Jerusalem. He came down from the north according to Isaiah 10, and it fits with his route. Moreover, the name of the camp, the site to north of Jerusalem in Arabic was Mudawara, with the same meaning of this camp of the invading king. So I believe that I've found both the Lakish camp and the Jerusalem camp. So one thing that was really exciting about the find of the Jerusalem camp is that it is mentioned in three books of the Bible. And in the biblical account, famously, the Assyrians were at the verd of the largest military in the world and they're on the verge of destroying Jerusalem. They'd already destroyed much of Israel. And as they were camped outside Jerusalem, the Angel of the Lord comes through the camp in the night and kills Assyrian troops at night, and the Assyrians are thwarted. So it's exciting to have found that spot. It's a very significant spot. It's detailed in classical art, Peter, Paul Rubens, as a painting of it. Gustav Doray, Lord Byron, has a famous poem called The Destruction of Sennacherib. So from the evidence that we have so far, I can't offer any insights into the actual reasons that Sennacherib did not succeed at Jerusalem. However, I think it's exciting to have found the spot and I hope that we'll soon see archaeological excavations there that can give us more information about the site. But I would love to see archaeological excavations undertaken there. We don't have any. I don't have any news to report on that at this time. I've spoken with Felix Huffelmeyer, who's leading excavations like Quiche, about potentially excavating the campsite as well. And I've also contacted the Jerusalem site, The Jerusalem site, The subsequent history of the site was it continued to be an advantageous military site, so that when the British occupied Palestine in the Mandate. They used its natural fortifications and what remained of the walls as an ammunition depot, as it became known as Ammunition Hill. And then in 1948, the Jordanians occupied it. And then in 1967, the Israelis, Israeli paratroopers invaded the site. The Jordanians had put trenches throughout the site and machine gun nests around the edge was very heavily defended. And Israeli paratroopers came in in 1967, fought through those trenches and retook the retook the hill. And it was one of the bloodiest battles, like the bloodiest battle of the of that war and is now a memorial site of war, memorial site of the 1967 Six day War. So I started working on this in 2021, got very interested in the camp at that time, made two trips to Israel, to Israel Palestine to look at the camps. And in 2023, November of 2023, I presented my initial findings. I had a OSASOR, which is the largest conference, annual conference of scholars of the ancient Near East. And then I submitted the paper to Near Eastern Archaeology, leading journal in the field. It was peer reviewed and it was published in in June in this month's issue of Near Eastern Archaeology.

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