King Herod was appointed by the Romans, in approximately 36-38 BCE, to rule over the Jewish population of Judea. He was the ideal candidate as he himself was a Jew which was why he was known as the ‘king of the Jews’ which would later lead to him clashing with the idea of the arrival of the Messiah. Herod is thought to have died of chronic kidney disease around the age of 69, in the year 4 BCE.
Herod's tomb is believed by scholars and archaeologists to be located beneath Herodium, the palace he built during his life time (see fig. 1 & 2). This is justified by Josephus who recalls the actions taken after the death of Herod: ‘And the body was carried two hundred furlongs, to Herodium, where he had given order to be buried.’
Herodium is located 12 miles south of Jerusalem (20 minute drive) and it is believed that Herod built the palace on this site in commemoration of his victory over the Parthians.
Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem began the excavation of Herodium in 1972, however it wasn’t until May 8 2007 that Netzer announced the discovery of Herod's supposed tomb half way up the summit of the hill. Since this announcement there have been counter arguments against Netzers initial theory that this is legitimately the tomb of Herod.