Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tomb with a View

After at least three decades of digging, Israeli archaeologists claim to have located the tomb of King Herod the Great in a hilltop fortress just outside Bethlehem. The sarcophagus was destroyed by rebellious Jews many years ago, and finding the site of the royal tomb in Herodium has long been a challenge for scholars and Biblical archaeologists. The Los Angeles Times recounts the search and weighs the new evidence here.
The traditional Herod family cave vault is located a few miles away in West Jerusalem, just below the King David Hotel. But this definitely was not the final resting place of the infamous ruler who was appointed by the Romans and best known for the "Slaughter of the Innocents". In fact, this well-known tourist site once housed Queen Mariamne and other victims of Herod's violent temper and persecution mania. During World War II, British officials used this tomb as an air raid shelter. International news reports enthused about the find in the West Bank. The Independent article suggested that notoriety was the legacy of Herod, the "Bible's biggest villain."

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