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Machaerus: Site of John the Baptists’ Beheading

During his reign, Herod the Great built or renovated several palace fortresses, including Masada, Herodium, and Machaerus. Each of these sites is famous for its own reasons, but the palace at Machaerus holds a special place as the location of Salome’s infamous dance, which led to the beheading of John the Baptist. Mentioned in Matthew 14:6-7, Mark 6:14-29, Josephus (Antiquities XVIII.119), and early Christian texts, Salome’s dance and John’s beheading are viewed by many—including the lead excavator of Machaerus—as historical events supported by extra-biblical evidence.

In this collection put together by the Biblical Archaeology Society, learn about the site where John the Baptist was executed. Read of excavations and recent reconstruction efforts, as well as Machaerus’s history and role as the defender of Judea against invasion.

Machaerus: Where Salome Danced and John the Baptist Was Beheade

BAR, September/October 2012
by Győző Vörös

Anastylosis at Machaerus

BAR, January/February 2015
by Győző Vörös

Machaerus: A Palace-Fortress with Multiple Mikva’ot

BAR, July/August 2017
by Győző Vörös

Restoring Herod’s Throne Niche at Machaerus

BAR, Winter 2020
by Győző Vörös