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For the first time in 11 years, archaeologists will be excavating at Masada, the mountain fortress built by Herod the Great and the place where Jewish rebels made their last stand against Roman troops in 74 AD. Plans are underway to excavate areas that have not been studied in the past, including new sections of the rebels' dwellings, the gardens built by King Herod, and the underground structures detected in aerial photographs. According to Josephus, the sole historical source of the battle, 8000 Roman troops besieged the rebels who were at Masada (the siege ramp can still be seen today), and, when they finally broke through, discovered the bodies of 960 Jews, who chose to die rather than be captured. Scholars hope the new archaeological dig can answer questions about the final days of the Jewish rebels and Roman forces at Masada, as well as provide information about the fortress Herod built.

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