Archeologists report they have found the tomb of Herod the Great outside of Bethlehem. Herod ruled from 37 BC to 4 BC and was known as a prolific builder: He built palaces and aqueducts, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and most significantly the Temple in Jerusalem, expanding it beyond the original Solomonic dimensions. He also built the massive seaport at Caesarea and a palace at Masada.
Herod’s successor, Herod Antipas, was the Judean ruler to whom Pontius Pilate sent Christ before His crucifixion. The famed Jewish historian who witnessed the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD recorded much about the two Herods.
A Hebrew University team found the grave at Herodion, a stunning volcano-shaped desert fortress 5 miles southeast of Bethlehem. The team was led by Professor Ehud Netzer, who has been researching the site since 1972.[…]
Herodion, a series of underground tunnels hewn out of a mountain and topped with a magnificent palace complete with bathhouses, is regarded as one of the most astonishing engineering feats of the ancient world.
Herod was descended from the Edomites, a tribe of ancient enemies of the Jews who converted to Judaism in about 120 BC. When Palestine was under Roman rule, Herod’s father became chief minister of Judea. Herod was made governor of Galilee when he was just 25 years old.
After the assassination of Julius Caesar, Herod became a protege of Mark Antony and Caesar’s great-nephew Octavian.
In 39 BC, Herod invaded Judea to win the country back for the Romans and was made king.
The tomb of Herod was another one of the great archeological mysteries of the Holy Land and its discovery is a landmark.
Photos of the dig site are also available.