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Israeli archaeologist dies after dig accident

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Author Topic: Israeli archaeologist dies after dig accident  (Read 34 times)
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« on: October 30, 2010, 04:41:12 pm »

Israeli archaeologist dies after dig accident

Fri Oct 29, 5:29 am ET

JERUSALEM (Reuters) Ehud Netzer, a leading Israeli archaeologist who is credited with having found the tomb of the biblical King Herod, has died after falling during a dig at an ancient palace, hospital staff said Friday.

Netzer, 76, died late Thursday, days after suffering serious injuries when a railing gave way at Herodium, an archaeological site in the West Bank between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

"His tragic death is a loss to his family, researchers of Jewish heritage and science and archaeology," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

Netzer made headlines in 2007 when he announced he had solved a 2,000-year-old mystery and discovered the location of the tomb of Herod the Great, Roman-anointed King of the Jews.

Herod rebuilt the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the Gospel of Matthew says he ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents," the killing of male infants in Jesus's birthplace of Bethlehem out of fear of losing his throne to a new monarch.

Netzer had searched for Herod's tomb at the desert fortress of Herodium for about 30 years before he found a smashed sarcophagus that he said was that of the king, who ruled Judea from about 37 BC until his death in 4 BC.

In 2008, he went on to unearth two tombs believed to have held a wife and daughter-in-law of Herod.

More recently, Netzer was involved in excavating a lavish theater box at Herodium, capable of seating 400 people.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Crispian Balmer)
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