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May 08, 2007

King Herod's Tomb Discovered (Maybe)

I'm partly linking this to show basic reportial incompetence. Nowhere in the story does this rocket scientist bother explaining to us why archaeologists believe that this is Herod's tomb. I'm sure they have their reasons -- but the reporter doesn't seem interested in such trivial details. Instead, we're fed the tentative conclusion without even being given a taste of the evidence supporting that conclusion.

Is there really any reason to think this is Herod's tomb? Maybe, but you'll have to look elsewhere for such a reason.

An Israeli archaeologist on Tuesday said he has found the tomb of King Herod, the legendary builder of ancient Jerusalem and the Holy Land - a potentially major discovery that capped a 35-year quest for the researcher.

Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer said the tomb was found at Herodium, a flattened hilltop in the Judean Desert where Herod built a palace compound. Netzer has been working at the site, just outside Jerusalem, since 1972, the university said.

Netzer said the tomb was discovered when a team of researchers found pieces of a limestone sarcophagus believed to belong to the ancient king. Although there were no bones in the container, he said the sarcophagus' location and ornate appearance indicated it is Herod's.

Okay, I overstated -- there's your evidence it's Herod's tomb. Its location and "ornate appearance." The location -- okay, it's in the general area where Herod built a palace. The "ornate appearance"? What about it suggests it's Herod's, or any other royal's, for that matter?

"It's a sarcophagus we don't just see anywhere," Netzer said at a news conference. "It is something very special." Netzer, who led the team, said he was not at the site when the sarcophagus was found.

Ah. It's "very special."

Way to get into nitty-gritty there, AP reporter.

He said all signs indicate the tomb belongs to Herod, but said ruins with an inscription on it were needed for full verification.

"We're moving in the right direction. It will be clinched once we have an inscription that bears his name," said Pfann, a textual scholar who did not participate in Netzer's dig.

Yes, that would probably be helpful. A "very special" sarcophagus probably isn't going to prove the case on its own.

Again, I imagine the archaeologist has his reasons for making such a bold announcement. Just would have been nice if the reporter had asked about them.

From Dvorak Uncensored, which has this high-energy Truther-style video asserting that jets' contrails are some kind of weather-manipulating disease-causing mind-controlling (?) form of chemical warfare.

That's the thing I really wanted to post, but I didn't figure I should swipe the embed directly from him.


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posted by Ace at 09:23 PM

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