Biblical Archaeology Review 40:3, May/June 2014

Was Herod’s Tomb Really Found?

By Hershel Shanks

It was archaeologist Ehud Netzer’s final triumph—the discovery of the tomb of Herod the Great.

To celebrate this accomplishment the Israel Museum mounted its most expensive and what turned out to be its most popular exhibit, Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey.a

But tragedy preceded: Shortly after walking around the site with Israel Museum curators to decide what might be transported to the museum, Netzer leaned against a wooden railing that gave way; he plunged more than 20 feet and died three days later.

There was never any question as to where Herod was buried. The first-century Jewish historian Josephus tells us: at Herodium. The bier was carried nearly 20 miles from Jericho, where Herod died, to Herodium. Josephus describes the procession:

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