Ehud Netzer, Archeologist Who Located Herod's Tomb, Dies at 76

Netzer, one of Israel's most renowned archeologists, suffered serious injuries after falling down a 6-meter drop at the Herodium site south of Jerusalem.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Professor Ehud Netzer, one of Israel's most renowned archeologists, marked for his discovery of King Herod's tomb in 2007, died on Thursday after succumbing to wounds related to a recent accident at the famed archeological site.

Frescos discovered in the Herodium complex, south of Jerusalem, Sept. 21, 2010. Credit: AP

Netzer was seriously injured after falling down a six-meter drop at the Herodium site on Monday, as a wooden banister he had leaned on suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem with a fractured skull and neck vertebrae.

Professor Netzer, considered one of the most senior researchers on Herod, has been excavating at the Herodium site south of Jerusalem since 1972 in efforts to identify the burial site of the King of the Jews. Netzer continued his active participation in the excavations following the discovery, despite reaching the age of 76.

The tomb, which Netzer had been searching for the better part of 35 years, had been desecrated and intentionally concealed by rebels at the time of Great Jewish Rebellion against the Roman empire in the first century CE.

Netzer had begun his studies as an architecture student in Haifa's Israel Institute of Technology, moving to archeology after working under Yigal Yadin in the Hatzor excavations. He then studies archeology in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he served as professor until his retirement eight years ago.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "Netzer's tragic death is a loss for his family, for research into the heritage of Israel and for archaeology."

Professor Netzer's funeral will take place on 10:00 A.M. Friday at the Kiryat Anavim cemetery.

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