JUST TOO COOL: An intriguing Biblical archeology find

A polymath friend of mine presently deployed overseas send the most interesting links.  Today he clued me in on this from Live Science:

Dance floor where John the Baptist was condemned to death discovered, archaeologist says

Archaeologists claim that they have identified the deadly dance floor where John the Baptist — a preacher who foretold the coming of Jesus — was sentenced to death around A.D. 29.

The Bible and the ancient writer Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37-100) both describe how King Herod Antipas, a son of King Herod, had John the Baptist executed. Josephus specified that the execution took place at Machaerus, a fort near the Dead Sea in modern-day Jordan.

Herod Antipas feared the growing influence of John the Baptist among the population and so he executed him Josephus wrote. The Bible, on the other hand, tells a far more elaborate tale, claiming that Herod Antipas had John the Baptist executed in exchange for a dance.


A courtyard uncovered at Machaerus is likely the place where Salome’s dance was performed and where Herod Antipas decided to have John the Baptist beheaded, wrote Győző Vörös, director of a project called Machaerus Excavations and Surveys at the Dead Sea, in the book “Holy Land Archaeology on Either Side: Archaeological Essays in Honour of Eugenio Alliata” (Fondazione Terra Santa, 2020). The courtyard, Vörös said, has an apsidal-shaped niche that is probably the remains of the throne where Herod Antipas sat.

After King Herod’s death his kingdom was divided among his sons and Herod Antipas controlled a kingdom that included Galilee and part of Jordan. He controlled his kingdom at times from Machaerus. .

Archaeologists discovered the courtyard in 1980, but they didn’t recognize the niche as being part of Herod Antipas’ throne until now, Vörös wrote in the article. The presence of the throne next to the courtyard solidifies the conclusions about the dance floor, Vörös wrote.

The archaeological team has been reconstructing the courtyard and published several images in the book showing what it looked like around the time of John the Baptist’s execution.


More fascinating information and photos HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  2. Bob says:

    How odd that we constantly told that our beliefs are just fables to appease the ignorant, yet science continues to validate places, stories, characters and actual events that have been written and passed down to us for the last 6000 years. I love how science works for our faith. God is so cool.

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