Zev Radovan/biblelandpictures.com

ROMANTIC REMAINS. The royal family’s memorial was hewn into the bedrock of what was once a quarry. A monumental staircase—30 ft wide—leads down to four arched entrances.

To the right of the staircase when going down (the southern wall) a single arched entrance leads to a ritual immersion pool (mikveh). Two arched entrances in front of the staircase (the eastern wall) lead to the largest ritual immersion pool yet to be discovered in Jerusalem.37 The third arched entrance (the northern wall) leads to a broad open-air courtyard (85 ft by 88 ft).

The dimensions of the staircase, courtyard and ritual immersion pools reflect the grandeur of the royal family’s funeral services,38 including no doubt a very large number of mourners.39

The courtyard, which was originally faced with dressed stones,40 highlights the intricately carved entrance to the tomb.

The three-stepped entrance to the tomb had two ionic columns between two antae (pillars projecting from the end of a wall). A rocky fragment of one of the column capitals can still be seen on the upper part of the tomb’s entrance.41

Crowning the multi-room tomb were three pyramids.42 Very little remains of them today. Only six stones from one pyramid were recovered. While very limited, the stones were enough for at least one pyramid to be reconstructed.43