Wall paintings in Herod's palaces

Herod's palaces were breathtakingly decorated with wall paintings, molded terracotta, stuccowork, mosaics, and floors inlaid with stone plaques in the opus sectile technique. Countless fragments of these decorations have come to light in excavations.

Most of the wall paintings were produced in the fresco (fresh) technique, in which the wall was carefully coated with two or three layers of plaster and painted while the plaster was still damp, the paint becoming part of the wall itself. Another method was the secco (dry) technique, in which the paint was applied to dry plaster and therefore did not penetrate it. The designs reflected the styles popular at that time in the Roman world, mainly the Second and Third Pompeian Styles, with the addition of local features originating in the Hellenistic world.

Wall paintings in
Herod's palaces
Artists applying layers of plaster and decorating walls in the fresco technique. Drawing: G. P. Adam