Ancient artifacts detailing the life and legacy of the controversial Roman King Herod, dug up in Jericho and other related sites in the West Bank, have gone on display at Israel’s Museum in Jerusalem, in the world’s first exhibit of its kind.
Around 250 of the pieces on display were excavated from mount Herodium, the site of the Kings’ burial, while additional artifacts have been included to shed a new light on the political, architectural, and aesthetic impact of Herod's reign from 37 to 4 BCE.
Israel Museum Director James Snyder:
“What you are seeing behind me is actually Herod's burial monument and his sarcophagus, discovered at Herodium and exhibited here in our exhibition for the first time.”
Many of the pieces have undergone major restoration to ensure that the historical objects can be preserved for the public to enjoy, while also ensuring that Israel’s civil administration meets its requirements under international law.
Israel Museum curator Sylvia Rosenburg:
“We excavated the Herodium site according to the Hague decision, in fact we preserved objects if we leave these objects in the site they would disappear, especially the paintings we see around us.”
King Herod is known as ‘the Great’; however this moniker is controversial as many historical sources associate him with the deaths of members of his own family and a number of Rabbis, despite himself practicing Judaism. Herod became governor of Galilee at the age of 25 and was later elected ‘King of the Jews’ by the Roman Senate.