Two large, finely worked sarcophagi were found in situ in the longest chamber of a tomb near the King David Hotel that most guidebooks call “Herod’s Family Tomb.” The photo below shows details of the decorated sarcophagus in the background. Delicate vines, leaves and rosettes are carved into both the box and the lid.
The large, perfectly joined Herodian-style ashlars of this tomb’s walls help date it to the first century B.C., contemporaneous with the round structure opposite the Damascus Gate. Popular identification of this tomb near the King David Hotel as that of Herod’s family persists despite the author’s strong evidence that the tomb near the Damascus Gate actually served as Herod’s family funerary tower. The pictures here are from the archive of the original investigations of this tomb and were taken more than 60 years ago. Below, is a plan of the tomb near the King David Hotel. Five rooms carved out of a rocky hill form the shape of a cross. In the longest room, the two sarcophagi are outlined where they were originally found.