The Biblical Archaeology Society
announces the publication of In Search of Herods Tomb by Ehud Netzer in the January/February 2011 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review
(BAR). The first-century Jewish historian Josephus tells us that the site of Herodium was the final resting place of the skilled builder and hated king Herod the Great (known also from the infancy narratives of the Gospels), but Josephus failed to identify the exact location of the tomb.
For 35 years, Herods tomb eluded Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer. Finally in 2007 a ruined mausoleum and a smashed sarcophagus were uncovered, providing the long-sought answer. And excavations at Herods magnificent eponymous desert retreat have now revealed much more.
But this story is a bittersweet one. As preparation of this article for BAR neared completion, the archaeological community was shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely death of author Ehud Netzer. The worlds leading authority on Herodian architecture and a prominent Israeli archaeologist, Netzer died on October 27 from a fall at Herodium where he had been digging for 38 years.
Leaning against a wooden railing that gave way on a steep slope near the spot where he had finally found Herods smashed sarcophagus, Netzer fell 10 feet before landing, then rolled and fell another 10 feet, critically injuring his head, neck and back. He lived for two days, long enough for a kidney to be donated so that someone else might live, as he had wanted. His retinas were given to a retina bank. He was 76.