Lachish relief:
Stone panel from the South-West Palace of Sennacherib (Room 36, no. 10)

Nineveh, northern Iraq, Neo-Assyrian, about 700-681 BC

This alabaster panel was part of a series which decorated the walls of a room in the palace of King Sennacherib (reigned 704-681 BC). It tells the story of the siege and capture of the city of Lachish in 701 BC

The story continues from the previous panel (no. 9) of the relief. This section decorated a corner of the room.

Having been exiled from their city, the people of Lachish move through the countryside to be resettled elsewhere in the Assyrian Empire. Below them high officials and foreigners are being tortured and executed. It is likely that they are being flayed alive.

The foreigners are possibly officers from Nubia. The Nubians were seen as sharing responsibility for the rebellion. Much of Egypt at this time was ruled by a line of kings from Nubia (the Twenty-fifth Dynasty) who were keen to interfere in the politics of the Levant, to contain the threat of Assyrian expansion.

As Sennacherib's forces laid siege to Lachish, an Egyptian army appeared, led by a man called Taharqa, according to the Old Testament. He may be the later pharaoh of Egypt with the same name (690-664 BC).

Sennacherib's account claims that the rebels had called on the support of the kings of Egypt (Delta princes) and the Kings of Kush (Nubia). The armies clashed on the plain of Eltekeh. While Sennacherib claimed victory, he was still not able to capture Jerusalem.

The story continues on the next panel (no. 11) of the relief.

Sennacherib, king of Assyria (704-681 BC)

Sennacherib came to the throne of Assyria in 704 BC. He established his capital in the ancient city of Nineveh, which he rebuilt in unparalleled splendour.
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When Sennacherib came to the throne he established his capital in the ancient city of Nineveh, which he rebuilt in unparalleled splendour.

Read the full article


Assyrian reliefs

Sennacherib's palace was described as 'without rival', and many of the rooms were decorated with alabaster wall reliefs.

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Related culture



The Assyrian civilisation, centred in the fertile Tigris valley of northern Iraq, can be traced back to at least the third millennium BC.

Assyrians world culture

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Object details

Height: 269.2 cm
Width: 180 cm


ME 124909

Room 10b: Assyria: Siege of La


    J.M. Russell, Sennacheribs palace without rival (University of Chicago Press, 1991)

    J.E. Reade, Assyrian sculpture (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)

    T.C. Mitchell, The Bible in the British Museum (London, The British Museum Press, 1988)

    See this object in our Collection database online

    Further reading

    P. Collins, Assyrian Palace Sculptures (London, 2009)

    P. Collins, From Egypt to Babylon: The International Age 1550-500 BC (London, 2008)

    M. Chavalas (ed.), The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation (Oxford, 2006)

    J.M. Russell, The Final Sack of Nineveh: Discovery, Documentation and Destruction of Sennacherib's Palace at Nineveh, Iraq (New Haven, 1998)

    D. Ussishkin, The Renewed Archaeological Excavations at Lachish (1973-1994) (Tel Aviv, 2004)