Herod’s Tomb Found
Thirty-five years after he first began excavating the site of Herodium, archaeologist Ehud Netzer, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has finally found what he’s been looking for—the tomb of Herod the Great, the murderous king who ruled Judea on behalf of Rome from 37 to 4 B.C.
The tomb turned out to be on the northeast slope of the manmade, volcano-shaped mountain of Herodium, about 8 miles south of Jerusalem. The builder of many grand projects throughout his kingdom—Caesarea, Masada, the expanded Temple Mount in Jerusalem—Herod constructed Herodium on a vast scale, with complexes inside the mountain and also a small city at the base, called Lower Herodium.
Herod seems to have originally intended his tomb to be inside a mausoleum in Lower Herodium but changed his mind later life and decided to be interred inside the mountain itself. At the top of the mountain Herod had built a fortress, a mountain and a monument; the tomb itself was approached by a monumental staircase about 21-feet wide.
Herod’s ornate sarcophagus, however, had been smashed in ancient times, likely by participants of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (67-70 A.D.)—a reflection of how widely hated Herod was by his subjects, who saw him as a cruel puppet of Rome.
BAR published an extensive overview of Herodium by Netzer himself; click here to read it.
To see Hebrew University’s announcement of the discovery, click here.
A press report from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz can be read at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/856808.html.
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