Tuesday, May 08, 2007

King Herod's Tomb Discovered

The Tomb of King Herod has been discovered in Herodium, Israel.

From the Detroit Free Press:
An Israeli archaeologist on Tuesday said he has found the tomb of King Herod, the legendary builder of ancient Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer said the tomb was found at Herodium, a flattened hilltop in the Judean Desert where Herod built a palace compound. Netzer has been working at the site since the 1970s.

Netzer said the tomb was discovered when a team of researchers found pieces of a limestone sarcophagus believed to belong to the ancient king. Although there were no bones in the container, he said the sarcophagus’ location and ornate appearance indicated it is Herod’s.

“It’s a sarcophagus we don’t just see anywhere,” Netzer said at a news conference. “It is something very special.”

. . .

Herod became the ruler of the Holy Land under the Romans around 40 B.C. The wall he built around the Old City of Jerusalem during the time of the Jewish Second Temple is the one that can be seen today. He also undertook massive construction projects in Caesaria, Jericho, the hilltop fortress of Massada and other locations.

It has long been assumed that Herod was buried at Herodium, but decades of excavations failed to turn up the site until now. The First-Century historian Josephus Flavius described the tomb and Herod’s funeral procession.

A very impressive example of persistence, given that Netzer has been working on the site since the 1970s. Persistence and determination can ceetainly pay off in the long run.

This is a very important and exciting historical find indeed. Hopefully, more detailed reports of the find and related excavations will be published and made available. It will be interesting to learn what coins were found in situ with the tomb.

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