Among the artifacts recovered from the recently discovered tomb believed to be that of King Herod the Great were decorative urns resembling the special jars used to store the ashes of cremated bodies.
The urns are similar to those found on burial monuments among the Nabateans, a Middle Eastern people who were absorbed into the Roman Empire. But the vessels' presence in Herod's tomb was unexpected, as cremation was not a Jewish custom, said tomb discoverer Ehud Netzer, a Hebrew University professor.
There was no need for radiocarbon dating of the site's artifacts because of the rich variety of contextual evidence, Netzer added.
"Carbon-14 dating is used particularly when you don't have any other evidence. We have ceramics, we have coins, we have stratigraphic evidence," he said on April 8, 2007, at a press conference announcing the grave's discovery.—Mati Milstein
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Photograph courtesy Hebrew University