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November 26, 2015 / 14 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Herodian’

Unique 65-Foot Long Entrance Discovered at Herodian Hilltop Palace

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Archaeologists have discovered a monumental 65-foot long by 20-foot wide entryway to the Herodian Hilltop Palace at the Herodium National Park.

The unique complex was uncovered by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology during excavations by The Herodium Expedition in Memory of Ehud Netzer over the past year, as part of a project to develop the site for tourism.

The main feature of the entryway is an impressive corridor with a complex system of arches spanning its width on three separate levels. These arches buttressed the corridor’s massive side-walls, allowing the King and his entourage direct passage into the Palace Courtyard. Thanks to the supporting arches, the corridor has been preserved to a height of 65 feet..

Hebrew University archaeologists Roi Porat, Yaakov Kalman and Rachel Chachy suggest that the corridor was built as part of Herod’s plan to turn Herodium into a massive artificial volcano-shaped hill, a vast and impressive monument designed to commemorate the architect-King.

Surprisingly, during the course of the excavations, it became evident that the arched corridor was never actually in use, as prior to its completion it became redundant. This appears to have happened when Herod, aware of his impending death, decided to convert the whole hilltop complex into a massive memorial mound, a royal burial monument on an epic scale.

Whatever the case, the corridor was back-filled during the construction of the massive artificial hill at the end of Herod’s reign. The upper section of a new monumental stairway stretching from the hill’s base to its peak, constructed during the course of this building phase, appears to have been built over it.

The excavators point out that not only was the arched corridor covered over in the course of the construction of the hill-monument, but also were all the structures earlier built by Herod on the hill’s slopes, including the Royal Theater uncovered by the expedition in 2008.

The only edifice not covered over was the splendid mausoleum-style structure, identified by Netzer, now deceased, and the expedition as Herod’s burial-place. Together with the monumental cone-shaped hill, this constituted the unique Herodian Royal burial-complex.

During the course of the current excavations, the original impressive Palace vestibule, blocked when the corridor became redundant, was also exposed. This entry-room, decorated with splendid painted frescoes, had a magnificent entryway leading into it, and offered evidence of the rebel occupation during the Great Revolt (66-71 CE), including Jewish Revolt coinage and crude temporary structures.

In addition, the excavations in the arched corridor also turned up impressive evidence from the Bar Kokhba Revolt period (132-135/6 CE): hidden tunnels dug on the site by the rebels as part of the guerilla warfare they waged against the Romans.

Supported in part by wooden beams, these tunnels exited from the hilltop fortress by way of the corridor’s walls, through openings hidden in the corridor. One of the tunnels revealed a well-preserved construction of 20 or so cypress-wood branches, arranged in a cross-weave pattern to support the tunnel’s roof.

In the future, according to Mr. Shaul Goldstein, Director of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, the excavation of the arched corridor will allow visitors direct access to the Herodium hilltop palace-fortress, in the same way that Herod entered it two thousand years ago.

There are also plans to provide tourists direct access from the structures on the slope, the Royal Theater and the Mausoleum, via the earlier monumental stairway, to the hilltop Palace.

Unique palace entry complex discovered at Herodian Hilltop Palace by Hebrew University archaeologists.

Entranceway at Herodian Hilltop Palace.

Aerial view of Herodian.

Aerial view of Herodian.

archaeology herdo aerial viet tazpit aerial

4 Wounded in Gush Etzion Road Terror Attack

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Four Israeli citizens were wounded Thursday morning in a road terror attack near the Jewish community of Tekoa.

The victims were traveling in a car with Israeli license plates when they were attacked by Arabs hurling a barrage of heavy rocks and boulders.

The windows of the vehicle were smashed by the heavy rocks, and four of the people riding in the car were wounded by flying glass and by the hard missiles with which they were struck.

All four were taken to a medical clinic in the nearby Jewish city of Efrat, about ten minutes away from Jerusalem, local sources said.

Just yesterday (Wednesday) Israel Police Lt.-Col. Baruch Mizrahi was laid to rest in the police cemetery at Mt. Herzl, a victim of a terror attack in Judea on nearby Highway 35, on the outskirts of Hevron. Mizrahi was murdered and his pregnant wife and 9 year old son injured when a gunman shot them with an AK-47 assault rifle from the side of the road as they were traveling to attend a Passover seder in Kiryat Arba. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tekoa is located on the opposite side of the sector, among the hills of eastern Gush Etzion in the shadow of the Herodian, the burial place of the Biblical King Herod.

The community is situated next to the ancient village of Teq’ua, now an Arab village. A number of residents in the two communities have quietly established good relations. Ironically, it was Teq’ua residents who called friends in Tekoa for help when they came under missile fire from Gaza during the last mini-war, Operation Pillar of Defense.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/4-wounded-in-gush-etzion-road-terror-attack/2014/04/17/

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