Saturday, 12 May 2007

Remains of the Day

Last week, Israeli archaeologist Ehud Netzer of Jerusalem's Hebrew University announced the discovery of King Herod's tomb.

Photo: Der Spiegel

It was well-known that Herod chose to be buried at the fortress of Herodium, but his tomb had never been located. Until now.

The ruined mausoleum, on the north-eastern slope of the artificial hill, contained pieces of a large sarcophagus (ca. 2.5m long), assumed by Netzer to have belonged to Herod. It is noteworthy that no inscriptions have been found at Herodium, neither on the sarcophagus nor in the building remains, so epigraphic proof is lacking.

It is thought that the red-tinted limestone sarcophagus was smashed in an act of ancient vandalism.

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