The King's Burial

According to Flavius Josephus, after Herod's death at Jericho his body was borne in a royal funerary procession to Herodium, where he was buried in the tomb that he had built for himself. In 2007, after decades of searching, remains of a mausoleum that the excavators have identified as belonging to Herod came to light. However, since Herod's name does not appear on the monument or on any of the sarcophagi found in the vicinity, this identification cannot be entirely certain.

It seems that Herod devoted much thought to the manner in which he was to be memorialized. He evidently deliberated about the location of the tomb, and the remains at Herodium attest to the fact that he changed his mind several times. The first tomb complex was built in lower Herodium. Except for a burial cave, which was never dug, it included everything required for an elaborate funeral: a large ritual bath (Mikveh), a ceremonial hall, a 350 M funerary course, and a vestibule that could have led to a burial cave.

However, Herod ultimately decided to erect a gleaming white mausoleum on the slope. While it was outside the mountain palace-fortress (for reasons of ritual purity), it was nonetheless perched high enough on the hillside to be clearly visible from the tops of the hills surrounding Jerusalem.