Visitors in Room 10

Room 10

Assyria: Lion hunts, Siege of Lachish and Khorsabad

710–635 BC

Visiting the gallery

Opening times

Daily: 11.00–15.00
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Rooms 10a, 10b and 10c explore about 50 years of Assyrian history, in what is modern-day Iraq.

Split across three rooms, these galleries display life during this period in Assyrian culture. On display are lion hunting reliefs, the siege of the city of Lachish and scenes from inside the palace of King Sargon II at Khorsabad. 

Visitors to Room 10a are greeted by a pair of colossal human-headed winged bulls. Intended as a supernatural guardians, these gigantic figures guarded the palace of King Sargon II at Khorsabad, and were intended to deter evil of all kinds from entering. 

Find out more information on each gallery below. 

Take a virtual tour

Take a closer look at the intricate carvings on these Assyrian reliefs and get an insight into royal life, using Google Street View.

Reliefs lining walls in Room 10. ©2020 Google


Assyria: Lion Hunts – Room 10a
645–635 BC

In ancient Assyria, hunting lions was considered the sport of kings, symbolic of the ruling monarch's duty to protect and fight for his people. The sculpted reliefs in Room 10a illustrate the sporting exploits of the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (668–631 BC) and were created for his palace at Nineveh (in modern-day northern Iraq).

The hunt scenes, full of tension and realism, rank among the finest achievements of Assyrian Art. They depict the release of the lions, the ensuing chase and subsequent killing.

Assyria: Siege of Lachish – Room 10b

Assyria: Siege of Lachish – Room 10b
710–692 BC

Lachish was one of the chief cities of the kingdom of Judah in the southern Levant and in 701 BC it was captured by the Assyrian King Sennacherib (704–681 BC). The siege followed the refusal of Lachish to pay tribute to the Assyrian Empire (based in modern northern Iraq) and is mentioned in the Bible.

Many of the relief sculptures on display in Room 10b depict the capture of the city, alongside a selection of items and weaponry used in the siege. A 'prism' inscribed with an Assyrian account of the campaign is also on show.

Assyria: Khorsabad – Room 10c 

Assyria: Khorsabad – Room 10c
710–705 BC

The city and palace at Khorsabad (in modern northern Iraq), was built for the Assyrian King Sargon II (721–705 BC). The palace entrances were originally dominated by pairs of colossal human-headed winged bulls, which were intended as guardians, accompanied by protective spirits with magical powers.

Two of these impressive statues now stand in Room 10c, along with carvings depicting the king and crown prince, royal courtiers and hunting scenes. Inscriptions on display in the gallery come from a similar winged bull from the palace of Sennacherib (704–681 BC) at nearby Nineveh and were badly burnt when the city was destroyed in 612 BC.


  • Some objects in this collection feature on the British Sign Language multimedia guide. This resource is temporarily unavailable. You can access a selection of BSL films on your own device.
  • Some objects in this collection feature on the audio description guide, available on Soundcloud.
  • Seating is available in Room 10a.
  • Step-free access.
  • View sensory map.

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