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The so-called Tomb of the Kings, located in East Jerusalem, recently reopened after having been closed to the public for a decade. France, which owns the site, has completed renovations and maintenance, and now allows a limited number of visitors two days per week, providing they pre-register and pay online. The tomb is among the largest and most beautiful examples of a Roman-era tomb in the Holy Land. Despite its name, which mistakenly refers to the now-discounted theory that it was the tomb complex of biblical kings, it is generally accepted that the tomb is actually that of Queen Helena of Adiabene, a convert to Judaism in the first century. Several sarcophagi were discovered within and are now in the Louvre museum in Paris. The tomb's importance to biblical archaeology lies in the fact that it is a well-preserved example of a first-century tomb in Jerusalem. It is a rolling-stone sealing tomb which has multiple burial chambers, some of which have curved arches over the burial beds, as well as numerous loculi (kokhim), long narrow shafts in which the dead were placed. Today visitors can see the remains of the 90-meter façade, which is described by Josephus, but they are not allowed to descend into the tomb itself, which is visible beneath a metal grate.

OFF-SITE LINKS:

- https://www.timesofisrael.com/france-reopens-disputed-ancient-tomb-in-jerusalem-to-the-public/

- https://www.israelhayom.com/2019/10/24/france-finally-allows-access-to-ancient-tombs-in-jerusalem/

- https://news.yahoo.com/france-reopens-disputed-ancient-tomb-jerusalem-103604053.html

- https://www.bibleplaces.com/tombofkings/

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ABRT 28 | 8/1/2019