Babylon was excavated by Germans between 1899 and 1917. Local villagers discovered the image of a lion trampling a man during one of the periods when the archaeologists were not present. Upon return, the archaeologists completed the excavation of the image. This is the way the sculpture looked in 1970. I have noticed the image in several photo by American military personnel.
Andre Parrot says,
There is … no such certainty about the basalt statue of a lion trampling on a man. This extraordinary work, which represents a beast overcoming a man, does not seem to be Mesopotamian in origin; it has been thought to be Hittite. (Babylon and the Old Testament 29-30)
Parrot also points out that the lion was associated with the goddess Ishtar.
The Bible records that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians captured the city of Jerusalem in the days of Jehoiachin the king of Judah (2 Kings 24).
He carried away all Jerusalem and all the officials and all the mighty men of valor, 10,000 captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained, except the poorest people of the land. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon. The king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officials, and the chief men of the land he took into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. And the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon all the men of valor, 7,000, and the craftsmen and the metal workers, 1,000, all of them strong and fit for war. (2 Kings 24:14-16 ESV)