Wednesday, October 28, 2015


EXCAVATION: Archaeologists breathing life into 2,000-year-old Citadel of Machaerus (Dana Al Emam, The Jordan Times).
MUKAWIR — Pilgrims and visitors to the 2,000-year-old Citadel of Machaerus will be able to authentically envision the point in history when Salome danced and when St John the Baptist was beheaded, thanks to an archaeological project currently under way.

The project at the Herodian royal castle, carried out since 2009 by the Hungarian Academy of Arts (MMA), is being done in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities, represented by Director General Monther Jamhawi.

The site, sitting atop a hill some 800 metres above sea level and overlooking the Dead Sea, some 32km southwest of Madaba city, was the fortress of Herod the Great and a centre of power in the ancient world.

Machaerus is not actually mentioned in the New Testament, but we learn from Josephus that John the Baptist was executed there and that Herodias's daughter (unnamed in the NT) was named Salome, and so we place the story about her and John the Baptist there (Mark 6:14-29 par.). More on that here. More on the current excavation at this Bible History Daily post: Machaerus: Beyond the Beheading of John the Baptist.