Masada means ‘fortress’ in Hebrew. It is located on top of an isolated rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea.
On the east side, the rock falls in a sheer drop of about 450 meters to the Dead Sea and on the western edge it stands about 100 meters above the surrounding terrain. The natural approaches to the cliff top are very difficult.
It was originally built by King Herod, but some 75 years after his death, at the start of the Revolt of the Jews against the Romans in 66 CE, a band of Jewish rebels defeated the Romans who were situated there. They held Masada for three years.
Then, in 73 CE, Roman governor Flavius Silva marched against Masada with the ...view middle of the document...
It surrounded Masada and can still be spotted, as well as eleven barracks for the Roman military just outside the wall. Water cisterns drain the close by wadis (Valleys) by a complex organization of channels, which can explain how the Jewish rebellion was able to preserve sufficient water for such a long period of time.
Yigael Yadin was born in 1917 to archaeologist Eleazar Sukenik and Hasya Feinsod Sukenik. He joined the Haganah (Jewish paramilitary organization) at the age of 15, and worked there in a range of different ways. In 1946, though, he discharged from the Haganah after a dispute with its leader Yitzhak Sadeh.
When he left the armed forces, he dedicated himself to research and began his life's work in archaeology. In 1956 he was awarded the Israel Prize in Jewish studies, for his doctoral thesis on the translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. As an archaeologist, he studied some of the most significant spots in the region, including the Qumran Caves, Masada, Hazor, and Tel Megiddo. He believed his study of the Solomonic Gate at Tel Gezer to be the climax of his career. On occasion he was required to deal with the stealing of essential artefacts, sometimes by well-known political and military figures.
The fortress of Masada is a rocky, natural fortress in the Judean Desert on the Western side of the Dead Sea. Its location on an isolated rock, forms a natural defence. The approach in ancient times (as Josephus depicts) was via a steep winding path from the east, "the White Rock" from the west, and two access points from north and south, all of them being a complex climb.
Herod the Great, King of Judaea, who reigned from 37 – 4 B.C, developed it as a palace compound, in the typical manner of the early Roman Empire.
The camps, defences and attack ramp that surround the monument comprise the most comprehensive Roman siege works existing to the current day. The way archaeologists view these remains are affected by the writings of Josephus who never saw the site and relayed stories he had heard from Roman soldiers. Some archaeologists now dispute parts of the Masada story, suggesting for example that the circumvallation wall was in fact built by Herod as an outer defence for his palaces. Other inconsistencies between the archaeological findings, and Josephus' writings are that Josephus only talks about one of the two palaces that have been excavated, he mentions only one blaze, while numerous buildings show fire damage, and alleges that 960 people...