Herod the Great was a fabled King of Judeaea. He died in 4 BC. Though this great king died more than 2,000 years ago but his final resting place was never found. Most experts narrowed their search for the tomb to Herodium, a grand complex that was designed by the King himself on a man-made hill which was located south of Jerusalem. There was a biography about Herod less than a hundred years after his death. This biography contained indepth details about where within the Herodium the great king was buried.
Though there were so prominent clues still searches for Herod’s tomb did not succeed until very recently. Herod died in Jericho to a nasty kidney disease that led to development of a nasty gangrene. After his death there was an enormous funeral procession and Herod’s body was carried on a golden briar to the edge of Judaean desert. He was buried within the beloved Herodium. Herodium is built on a volcano shaped hill which is located at about 8 miles south of the modern day city of Jerusalem. This white stone building was Herpd’s desert retreat. It had a fortified palace, administrative buildings, ritual baths and gardens.
Accounts of Herod’s funeral made most experts believe that the tomb would be found at the base of Herodium. There were decades of search within the lower complex of Herodium but the tomb was not found. Then in 2006 researchers noticed an out of place section within the wall which is halfway up the hill. They started digging and hit upon a slab of high quality and highly ornamented pink limestone. After digging deeper they found an ornamented sarcophagus, which would be fit for a king as great as Herod.
There were remains of a huge staircase which lead to the burial site uncovered. Another section which was thought to be a hippodrome was also uncovered. Later this hippodrome was conceived as the area staging Herod’s funeral. There was also a monument about 80 feet tall that marked the King’s tomb.
Most of the tomb is in ruins, may be due to damages inflicted by the Jewish rebels who disliked Herod. Such a revolt took place in the late 60s AD. Though the tomb and sarcophagus were found, but Herod’s bones were not. It is probable they were put away by some rebels.
Herodium still stands tall and is protected by Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority.