National Geographic Unearths Herod’s Lost Tomb
National Geographic Channel Reveals King Herod As Architectural Genius And Unearths 2000-Year Old Herod’s Lost Tomb
“This is where I lift my hands and say ‘Wow,
we have it’…There is no doubt whatsoever that this is
— Ehud Netzer, Hebrew University
Herod the Great is one of the Old Testament’s worst villains, renowned for ordering the massacre of all male children in Bethlehem under 2 years old. Although few scholars believe the story is true, Herod’s bloody reputation has obscured the fact he was also one of the greatest architectural masterminds in world history. The fortresses, temples and cities he commissioned were so audacious, they continue to astound contemporary architects and engineers. But despite a plethora of structures built in his name, one riddle has remained unsolved for decades – where was his tomb?
Premiering Sunday December 7, 2008 at 8:30pm, National Geographic Channel’s Herod’s Lost Tomb joins Israeli archaeologist Ehud Netzer, who has searched for Herod’s tomb for three decades (recently aided by support from National Geographic), as he and his team peel back thousands of years obliterated under the sands in a crusade for clues. Finally, Dr. Netzer experiences the Eureka moment he has long been waiting for.
Netzer discovers Herod’s tomb with the inspiration of Flavius Josephus, a first century AD historian from Jerusalem. Because of Josephus’ writing, Herod is the best-documented character in the New Testament; more is known about Herod than about Jesus. Josephus described Herod’s life, death and even his funeral, which ends at Herodium. Josephus however, never described exactly where Herod’s tomb was. To find it, Netzer relied on his vast knowledge of Herodian architecture he had honed by excavating at classic Herodian sites like Caesarea, Masada and the winter palaces and hippodrome at Jericho.
In and around ancient Judea, Herod built more than 20 world-class temples, palaces, fortresses and cities. At Masada he turned a crude mountaintop stronghold into a fortified palace complex that seemed to defy gravity. At Caesarea he built one of the Mediterranean’s largest deep-water ports, a feat some believe should be considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With his expansion of Jerusalem’s Second Temple, Herod built one of the largest sacred complexes of its time, dwarfing the pagan shrines of Rome, equal to the size of about 26 football fields. Finally, at Herodium, Herod built one of the largest palace complexes anywhere (in the Roman world of his time) and chose to be buried there. In Herod’s Lost Tomb, computer generated images bring Herod’s amazing architectural triumphs to life.
Herod’s Lost Tomb is produced for National Geographic Channels International by National Geographic Television. James Barrat is Producer/Director for National Geographic Television. Sydney Suissa is Executive Vice President of Content for NGCI.