The ostracon (inscribed potsherd) provides poignant testimony to the last days of Lachish. In perhaps his most famous discovery, James Starkey uncovered 21 inscribed sherds, known now as the Lachish Letters, 18 of them in a guardroom of the city gate. Excavator Ussishkin, following Olga Tufnell, believes the sherds are copies of letters sent from Lachish to Jerusalem. The letters date to the reight of Judah’s last king, Zedekiah, and record Judah’s increasingly desperate situation in the face of the Babylonian army led by Nebuchadnezzar. In Lachish Letter IV (shown here), a soldier writes to his commander, “We are watching for the beacons of Lachish … we cannot see [the beacons from] Azekah.” Jeremiah 34:7 records that Lachish and Azekah were the last Judahite strongholds to fall to the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar razed Lachish and Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. Judah’s second most important city never regained its former importance.