Biblical Archaeology Review 9:3, May/June 1983

Herod’s Family Tomb in Jerusalem

Archaeological clues suggest monumental structure resembles Augustus’s tomb in Rome

By Ehud Netzer

We have not found Herod’s tomb, but we have examined a structure that may be Herod’s family tomb. It is not at Herodium but is in Jerusalem itself opposite the Damascus Gate, the most elaborate entrance to the Old City.

As with Herodium, my interest in the Jerusalem structure at first had nothing to do with any interest in the burial of Herod or his family. The Jerusalem structure was intriguing because it contained some rare stonework called opus reticulatum. Opus reticulatum is part of a Roman wall-building technique used mainly in the period from the first century B.C. to the second century A.D. It was widely employed in Italy at this time but is unusual in the Near East. Opus reticulatum has been found, however, in Herod’s major winter palace in Jericho,a at Baniasb in northern Israel, and in the structure opposite the Damascus gate.

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