The vast artificial terrace called the Course stretches out for almost 1100 feet. Part of the original retaining wall of the Course is still visible on the north (lower) side. In this view looking west, remains of the lower palace appear top left. Excavators have not yet determined the purpose of this enormous flat expanse of earth; but, if the Monumental Building at the western end of the Course housed or was related to Herod’s tomb, perhaps the Course was built as a processional terrace for Herod’s elaborate military funeral.

Above is a section drawing of the lower palace. The black areas show the few surviving structures uncovered in excavations. Drawn above these structures is a suggested reconstruction of this huge palace, which was more than twice as large as the palace-fortress on the mountaintop.