Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Herod's Tomb - Initial Report

Haaretz has broken the story of the discovery of Herod's tomb.  The excavating team has been working on it for weeks (or months) and managed to keep it a secret until the night before the press conference.  The length of the article may mislead as to what the writer has learned.  He reveals only one new fact: Herod's tomb was discovered by Ehud Netzer between the upper and lower palaces of Herodium.  Everything else in the story is well-known background.

The main question I've been getting concerns the authenticity of the find.  On this, there is only one piece of relevant evidence at this time: the tomb was discovered by Ehud Netzer.  He is a highly respected archaeologist in Israel, and he's been looking for the tomb for a long time.  I think that if he was one to jump to premature conclusions, he would have done so long ago.  Instead, he has proposed possibility after possibility and acknowledged coming up short.  I can't imagine that he wouldn't be making such an announcement without solid evidence.

Ehud Netzer is sometimes known as "Mr. Herod" because of his excavation of numerous Herodian sites, including Jericho (1973-87, 1998), Caesarea (1975-76, 1979), possible family tomb of Herod in Jerusalem (1977), Masada (1989), and Herodium (1970-present, with breaks).  Netzer is professor emeritus in the Department of Classical Archaeology at Hebrew University.


View of lower Herodium from upper palace 

Some new, unpublished BiblePlaces photos of Herodium can be viewed here

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1 Comments:

  • Sorry my friend but Netzer CAN jump to conclusions too fast. In Jericho he boasted on finding a synagogue, but in fact the chances the building he discovered was really a synagogue are less the 50%.
    I think also in this case he could have stated that he MIGHT have found the tomb of Herod. The remains of the sarcophague could very well be of one of the memebers of the royal family, not the king himself.

    By Blogger Danny, at Sun May 13, 02:42:00 PM  

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