May 7, 2007

Archaeologist finds King Herod's tomb

There has been a leak by an Israel newpaper that king Herod's tomb has been found with a hoard of artefacts. According to Ehud Netzer, who teaches at the Hebrew University, a monumental sarcophagus was discovered which would be the type used by a king. Josephus tell us that Herod wanted to be buried in Herodium which he built for this purpose (Josephus, Jewish War I, 670-673; Jewish Antiquities XVII, 196-199) but until now the grave had alluded archaeologists working here for some 35 years. It will be interesting to see what else they find in his tomb but it is not very hopeful as there were no bones found in the sarcophagus. Looks like grave robbers beat Ehud to them. The site was destroyed by the Romans about the same time as Jerusalem, the temple and Masada, in 71 AD. For pictures of the Herodium and palace check out BiblePlaces. The picture on the left is of Masada, Herods' other summer residence which is just down the road from the Herodium and was also destroyed about the same time by the Romans. This siege ended after two years with the Romans building a ramp to the top and then disovering that the Jews has all taken their lives rather than fall into their hands.

Society for Biblical Literature News Report
Here is Ben Witherington's article Blog
Photos of the Herodium National Park

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