The courtyard where Salome danced and where Herod Antipas condemned John the Baptist to death was recently identified at Machaerus, the fortress of King Herod in modern-day Jordan. The discovery was published by Gyozo Voros, director of the Machaerus excavations, in a book entitled, Holy Land Archaeology on Either Side: Archaeological Essays in Honour of Eugenio Alliata (Fondazione Terra Santa, 2020). The excavation team discovered an apsidal-shaped niche beside a courtyard, which they believe is the remains of the throne where Herod Antipas would have sat. While the courtyard itself was discovered in 1980, it was only recently was the niche was identified as the throne of Herod, thus leading to the theory that this courtyard was where the infamous birthday party described in Matthew 14 and Mark 6 took place. While the gospels do not specify the exact location of this event, Josephus records that John was killed at Machaerus. Some scholars have accepted Voros’s conclusion, while others question whether the small size the niche is really the remains of Herod’s throne.
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