A recent buzz has hit the archeological community, as the recent discovery of the tomb of King Herod has been announced in the early part of the week. With the help of an Israeli archeologist, the final resting place of the man with legendary stature, the tomb was uncovered, opening the floodgates of information that should shed additional light on the ancient times of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. In this article, we will further explore the discovery and provide a little background on King Herod.
Hebrew University representatives confirmed that King Herod’s tomb was in fact found at a site named Herodium, a hilltop situated in the Judean Desert with flattened characteristic and in clear sigh from the southern parts of Jerusalem. History reveals that King Herod guided the construction of his palace on the hill, which would later serve as his burial site.
While the university wished to keep the discovery hidden from the rest of the world until Tuesday, a planned conference was foiled after the Haaretz newspaper gained word of the feat and beat the to the punch. An article published on their website soon followed and the rest of the world began to trickle in with curiosity and questions. So, who is this King Herod and why is he important?
Around 40BC, Herod became the ruler of the Holy Land under the rule of the Romans. He is associated with a multitude of historical events and details, as he is attached to the building of the wall that still remains about the Old City of Jerusalem. He is also known for some of the largest construction projects that took place throughout Caesaria, Jericho, which included the hilltop fortress of Massada now under investigation, among other building achievements.
For many years, Herod was thought to have resided in Herodium, prompting numerous excavations to take place. Up until now, all of the efforts have since turned up nothing. Some researchers have followed the writing of a 1st century historian by the name of Josephus Flavius, who described the tomb and the happening associated with the funeral procession of Herod.
The honor of uncovering the tomb of Herod goes to archeologist, Ehud Netzer. The Hebrew University professor has spent a chunk of his life since 1972 working on the site at Hrodium. Incorrectly, the Haaretz newspaper reported that the tomb had never been explored until this time.
The site holds an important significance within the history of the land because Herodium served as one of the last strong points held by rebels of Jewish heritage, who were battling with the Romans. It was eventually conquered, as the Roman troops destroyed the site in 71 AD. This event occurred after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Who was Herod the Great?
Born and raised in a wealthy household, Herod the Great (also known as Herod I or Hordes) later became a Roman client king of Judea, who lived from 74BC to 4BC in Jerusalem. Throughout history, Herod gained a reputation for the role he partook in events, such as the Massacre of the Innocents, which dealt heavily with brutal infanticide. He is also connected to the expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, which is often referred to as Herod’s Temple.