I received the following by email. For those unfamiliar with the Herodion, it is the site of a pleasure palace/spa built by King Herod circa 40 BCE atop a man-made mountain in eastern Gush Etzion. The mountain underneath the palace is a veritable rabbit warren of tunnels, some used by Jews fighting the Romans until 73 CE, others dating later to the Bar Kochba rebellion (around 135 CE). Dr. Netzer was a national treasure.
With great sadness the Gush Etzion Foundation announces the untimely passing of Professor Ehud Netzer (Hebrew University), excavator of the Herodion and most famous archeologist. He suffered from a serious and tragic fall during a dig at the Herodion archeological site.
Netzer was reportedly leaning against a wooden railing on Monday when it gave way. He fell nearly 10 feet before landing – only to roll and fall an additional 10 feet. He was rushed to
Hadassah in critical condition.
The 76-year-old archeologist is one of the foremost experts on Herodion, a man-made mountain built by King Herod near the community of Tekoa, in Gush Etzion. Netzer has carried out digs at the site for more than three decades; three years ago, he found the site of Herod’s grave – a discovery that was considered the pinnacle of his career.
Digs he performed in 1968 in Jericho unearthed a Hasmonean winter palace that sported bathing pools and gardens, widely considered the most significant archeological site dealing with that period in Jewish history. The digs also unearthed the Jericho synagogue, considered the largest Jewish house of worship ever discovered.
In 1978, Netzer finished his doctoral dissertation at Hebrew University, which focused on Herod’s palaces at Herodion and Jericho. He became a senior lecturer at the university in 1981, where he has taught ever since.
Today we lost a great man who dedicated his life to the preservation of Jewish history.
The funeral will take place tomorrow, Friday, October 29, at 10 am, in Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim outside of Jerusalem.
May his memory be blessed.