Archaeologists find how Assyrians built world’s oldest siege ramp
Published: Nov 11, 2021 05:18 PM
Israeli and US archaeologists found how the Assyrians built and operated the world's oldest-known siege ramp located in southern Israel, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) said Tuesday.

In a study published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology, researchers from HU and Oakland University found that the over 2,700-year-old ramp was built of about 3 million stones, most of which were quarried from a nearby hill, with an average weight of one stone about 6.5 kilograms.

The Neo Assyrian Empire that existed between 911BC and 609BC controlled a landmass stretching from Persia to Egypt.

The huge ramp was built and used by the Assyrian army, led by King Sennacherib, to attack the flourishing Canaanite city of Lachish in the Kingdom of Judah in 701BC.

The stones would have been transported round-the-clock by four chains of prisoners of war and forced labor of the local population, the researchers said.

They calculated that up to 160,000 stones were moved each day, and in about 25 days, the triangular-shaped ramp could reach the city walls.

The laborers were protected by massive L-shaped wicker shields from arrows shot by the city's inhabitants.

At the final stage, wooden beams were laid on top of the stones, where the battering rams within their massive siege machines weighing up to one ton would be securely positioned.

The ram, a large, heavy wooden beam with a metal tip, battered and destroyed the walls.  

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