Archaeologists Dispute Claim of Herod’s Tomb

Two former students of Ehud Netzer are disputing their teacher’s claim that he discovered Herod’s tomb at the Herodium. Prof. Joseph Patrich and Benjamin Arubas, both of Hebrew University, presented a paper yesterday in which they argued that the hillside shrine may have served Herod’s family but not the king himself.

They argue that the newly discovered tomb could not have been built for King Herod:

  • The tomb is too modest for one who considered himself the greatest king.
  • The plaza next to the tomb was too small to accommodate the large crowd that Josephus describes.
  • The later construction of the monumental staircase does not reflect the careful planning characteristic of Herod.

Nir Hasson provides a detailed summary in Haaretz of the presentation given at the seventh annual “Innovations in Archaeology in Jerusalem and the Surrounding Area” conference. The article also includes some counter-arguments by Netzer’s successor Roi Porat. I find the latter more convincing.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Herodium model tomb of Herod, tb042512613
Replica of Herod’s mausoleum at Herodium

One thought on “Archaeologists Dispute Claim of Herod’s Tomb

  1. BAR 9:03, May/Jun 1983

    Herod’s Family Tomb in Jerusalem
    Archaeological clues suggest monumental structure resembles Augustus’s tomb in Rome
    By Ehud Netzer

    We have not found Herod’s tomb, but we have examined a structure that may be Herod’s family tomb. It is not at Herodium but is in Jerusalem itself opposite the Damascus Gate, the most elaborate entrance to the Old City.

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