King Herod's Tomb Unearthed Near Jerusalem, Expert Says

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The scientists also uncovered several decorated ornamental urns similar to those made by Nabateans, an ancient Middle Eastern people absorbed by the Roman Empire.

A Find Long Overdue

Netzer has been excavating at the Herodium since 1972. The new discovery only came, however, after he and his colleagues Yaakov Kalman and Roi Porath, with the assistance of local Bedouins, began excavations higher up on the mountain slope in 2006.

The tomb was difficult to find because the site's mausoleum was mostly dismantled in ancient times and its only remnants are a large stage built of white-dressed stone, which is unique to the Herodium.

Though Herod originally intended to be buried at the foot of the hill, he later decided on a higher site. A monumental staircase leading to the hillside was constructed for his funeral procession.

The Tomb Estate found at the Herodium, located at the base of the hill, includes two massive buildings and a large Jewish ritual bath as well as a long, narrow parade ground, also likely used during Herod's funeral procession.

At the conclusion of the first Jewish revolt in A.D. 70, the rebels handed the site back to the Romans. Jewish fighters also briefly used the site during the Bar Kokhva revolt 50 years later. The fighters built a network of tunnels, which served their efforts in guerrilla warfare against the Romans.

Researchers have started planning additional work at the site, which is now administered by Israel's Nature and National Parks Protection Authority.

"We need to find more artifacts in order to fill in the pieces of the puzzle," Netzer said.

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