Washington, April 3 : An archaeological dig two miles from the Old City of Jerusalem has unearthed evidence suggesting that a palace believed to have been built by an ancient Judean King, probably King Hezekiah, around 700 BCE was perhaps a branch office of Assyrian rulers.
"They were wise rulers, using a good strategy for keeping control, stability and order in the region," says Dr. Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology, who directed Ramat Rachel, the archaeological dig.
The researcher believes that the building was part of a corporate strategy.
"Between 700 BCE to about 70 CE, Jerusalem was home to various Judean cults and at times a centre for religious fanaticism. The Assyrians understood that they could gain better control of their vassal kingdom - and continue collecting taxes - by maintaining a safe distance," Dr. Lipschits says.
The research surmises that the Assyrians built their economic hub for the region two miles south of Jerusalem at Ramat Rachel.
Dr. Lipschits says that the Assyrians created elaborate gardens, stocked their cellars with the wine and olive oil they collected in taxes, and quietly but carefully monitored Jerusalem.
"You can see Jerusalem from Ramat Rachel, but when you're inside Jerusalem's City of David, you can't see Ramat Rachel at all. The Assyrians kept a watchful eye, but didn't let the locals feel a dominant foreign presence," he says.
"It was smart for the Assyrian managers to take a few steps back, and not appear to be interfering with the city's religious center and local culture. Businesses today could be advised to adopt similar strategies with their branch offices in foreign locations," he adds.
Dr. Lipschits, the author of the popular book The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem, is presently penning a book about this precursor to today's corporate strategies with Boston College's Professor David S. Vanderhooft.