TEL LACHISH (Hebrew : תל לכיש; Greek : Λαχις; Latin
: _Tel Lachis_; Arabic : TELL ED-DUWEIR), is the site of an
ancient Near East city, now an archaeological site and an Israeli
national park . Lachish is located in the
Shephelah region of Israel
Mount Hebron and the Mediterranean coast. It is first
mentioned in the
Amarna letters as _Lakisha-Lakiša_ (EA 287 , 288,
328, 329, 335). According to the Bible, the
Of the cities in ancient Judah, Lachish was second in importance only
* 1 History * 2 Biblical references * 3 Identification
* 4 Archaeology
* 4.1 Paleo-Hebrew letters on ostraca * 4.2 LMLK seals * 4.3 The fourth expedition to Lachish
* 5 See also * 6 References * 7 See also * 8 Further reading * 9 External links
Occupation at the site of Lachish began during the Pottery Neolithic
period (5500–4500 BCE). Major development began in the Early Bronze
Age (3300–3000 BCE). During the Middle Bronze II (2000–1650 BCE),
the Canaanite settlement came under strong Egyptian influence. The
next peak was the late Late
Rebuilding of the city began in the Early
In 701 BCE, during the revolt of king
The town was rebuilt in the late 7th century BCE during the decline of the Neo-Assyrian Empire . However, the city fell to Nebuchadnezzar in his campaign against Judah in 586 BCE.
Modern excavation of the site has revealed that the Assyrians built a stone and dirt ramp up to the level of the Lachish city wall, thereby allowing the soldiers to charge up the ramp and storm the city. Excavations revealed approximately 1,500 skulls in one of the caves near the site, and hundreds of arrowheads on the ramp and at the top of the city wall, indicating the ferocity of the battle. The city occupied an area of 8 hectares (20 acres) and was finally destroyed in 587 BCE. Residents were exiled as part of the Babylonian captivity .
During Babylonian occupation, a large residence was built on the
platform that had once supported the Israeli palace. At the end of the
captivity, some exiled Jews returned to Lachish and built a new city
with fortifications. Under the Babylonian or
Lachish is mentioned in several books in the
Hebrew Bible . The Book
of Joshua refers to Lachish in chapter 10 (verses 3, 5, 23, and
31-35), describing the Israelite conquest of Caanan. Japhia, the King
of Lachish, is listed as one of the Five
Amorite Kings that allied to
repel the invasion. After a surprise attack from the Israelites, the
kings took refuge in a cave, where they were captured and put to
death. Joshua and the
Rehoboam son of Solomon's fortifications of Lachish are recorded in
II Chronicles (11:9). In II Kings (14:19) and II Chronicles 25:27,
Amaziah of Judah flees to Lachish after he was defeated by Jehoash of
Book of Micah (1:13) warns the residents of Lachish that the
destruction of Samaria by the Assyrians will soon spread to Judah. II
Kings 18:14 mentions the Siege of Lachish;
Hezekiah sends a message
there offering tribute to
Book of Jeremiah (34:7) lists Lachish as one of the last three
fortified cities in Judah to fall to the Babylonian king
Nebuchadnezzar II. In the
Book of Nehemiah (11:30) Lachish is
mentioned as an area where the people of Judah settled during the time
The Assyrian campaign against Lachish is documented in a series of wall reliefs, now on display in the British Museum.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Lachish was identified with Tell el-Hesi from a cuneiform tablet found there (EA 333). The tablet is a letter from an Egyptian official named Paapu, reporting cases of treachery involving a local kinglet, Zimredda . However this hypothesis is no longer accepted. More recent excavations have identified Tell ed-Duweir as Lachish.
The site of Tell ed-Duweir was first excavated in 4 seasons between 1932 and 1938 by the Wellcome-Marston Archaeological Research Expedition. The work was led initially by James Leslie Starkey until he was murdered by Arab bandits. The effort was completed by Olga Tufnell ; publication, identifying seven occupation levels , was completed in 1958. In 1966 and 1968, in a dig which focused mainly on the "Solar Shrine", Yohanan Aharoni worked the site on behalf of Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University .
Excavation and restoration work was conducted between 1973 and 1994
Tel Aviv University Institute of Archaeology and Israel
Exploration Society team led by
David Ussishkin . The excavation
focused on the Late Bronze (1550–1200 BCE) and
PALEO-HEBREW LETTERS ON OSTRACA
Main article: Lachish letters
Excavation campaigns by James Leslie Starkey recovered a number of Hebrew letters, written on pieces of pottery, so-called ostraca . Eighteen letters were found in 1935 and three more in 1938, all written in Paleo-Hebrew script . They were from the latest occupational level immediately before the Chaldean siege of 587 BC. At the time, they formed the only known corpus of documents in classical Hebrew that had come down to us outside of the Hebrew Bible.
Another major contribution to
Biblical archaeology from excavations
at Lachish are the LMLK seals , which were stamped on the handles of a
particular form of ancient storage jar. More of these artifacts were
found at this site (over 400; Ussishkin, 2004, pp. 2151–9) than any
other place in
The 1898 Reference by Bliss, contains numerous drawings, including examples of Phoenician , etc. pottery, and items from pharaonic Egypt , and other Mediterranean, and inland regions.
THE FOURTH EXPEDITION TO LACHISH
In 2013, a fourth expedition to Lachish was begun under the direction
Yosef Garfinkel , Michael G. Hasel, and Martin G. Klingbeil to
* Archaeology of
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ King, Philip J. (August
2005). "Why Lachish Matters". _
Biblical Archaeology Review _. 31 (4).
Retrieved November 18, 2013.
* ^ Lachish
* ^ David Ussishkin, The conquest of Lachish by Sennacherib, Tel
Aviv University Institute of Archaeology, 1982, ISBN 965-266-001-9
* ^ William H. Shea, Sennacherib's Description of Lachish and of
its Conquest, Andrews University Seminary Studies, vol. 26, no. 2, pp.
* ^ Samuel, Rocca (2012). _The Fortifications of Ancient