Israeli archeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have announced the discovery of an elaborate entryway to the Herodian hilltop palace in Herodium National Park.
The 65-foot-long, 20-foot-wide entrance was uncovered as part of excavations conducted over the past year to develop the site for tourism, the university said. According to the archaeologists, the entryway features a complex system of arches on three separate levels, which allowed the king and his entourage to directly enter the Palace Courtyard.
“During the course of the current excavations, the original impressive palace vestibule, blocked when the corridor became redundant, was also exposed. … 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,” Hebrew University said.
Additionally, the excavations turned up impressive evidence from the Bar Kokhba Revolt period (132-135/6 CE) with hidden tunnels dug by the Jewish rebels as part of guerrilla warfare against the Romans.