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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Transit Corridors and Assyrian Strategy: Case Studies from the 8th-7th Century BCE Southern Levant

  • Author(s): Fessler, Heidi
  • Advisor(s): Burke, Aaron A
  • et al.

Several modern studies and the Assyrians themselves have claimed not only the extreme military measures but also substantial geo-political impact of Assyrian conquest in the southern Levant; however, examples of Assyrian violence and control are actually underrepresented in the archaeological record. The few scholars that have pointed out this dearth of corroborative data have attributed it to an apathetic attitude adopted by Assyria toward the region during both conquest and political control. I argue in this dissertation that the archaeological record reflects Assyrian military strategy rather than indifference. Data from three case studies, Megiddo, Ashdod, and the Western Negev, suggest that the small number of sites with evidence of destruction and even fewer sites with evidence of Assyrian imperial control are a product of a strategy that allowed Assyria to annex the region with less investment than their annals claim. Furthermore, Assyria’s network of imperial outposts monitored international highways in a manner that allowed a small local and foreign population to participate in trade and defense opportunities that ultimately benefited the Assyrian core.

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