Courtesy Ehud Netzer

Don’t blame the Romans. Not all the destruction seen today at Masada was the work of the Romans. One or more major earthquakes in the first few centuries C.E. wrecked what remained after the siege at Masada. For example, an earthquake collapsed these roof beams onto the floor of room 1033 at the base of one of the towerlike columbaria. Both the Zealots and the Romans had left the columbaria intact, perhaps in deference to the pigeons who lived in them. Niches visible in the far wall, top center, probably sheltered the pigeons.