Tomb of Absalom

Tomb of Absalom also called Absalom's Pillar, is an ancient monumental rock-cut tomb with a conical roof located in the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem. Although traditionally ascribed to Absalom, the rebellious son of King David of Israel (circa 1000 BCE), recent scholarship has attributed it to the 1st century CE.

circa 10 BCE

Tomb of Absalom in the Kidron Valley at the foot of Mount of Olives with entrance to the Cave of King Jehoshaphat (Maarat Yehoshafat) visible in the background to the left. Absalom's Pillar, a tomb in itself, also served as a funeral monument to the burial cave system located behind it, the "Cave of Jehoshaphat".

circa 10 BCE

Archeologically, the so-called "Tomb of Absalom" is not only a burial structure in its own right, with its upper part serving as a nefesh or funeral monument for the tomb in its lower part, but it was probably also meant as a nefesh for the adjacent burial cave system known as the "Cave" or "Tomb of Jehoshaphat" (peek inside), with which it forms one entity, built at the same time and following a single plan.

circa 10 BCE

On the inside, the upper part of the monument is mostly hollow, with a small arched entrance on the south side set above the seam area (where the masonry part starts). Inside this entrance a short staircase leads down to a burial chamber carved out of the solid, lower section. The chamber is 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) square, with arcosolium graves on two sides and a small burial niche. The tomb was found empty when first researched by archaeologists.

circa 10 BCE

In 2003, a 4th-century inscription on one of the walls of the monument was deciphered. It reads, This is the tomb of Zachariah, the martyr, the holy priest, the father of John. This suggests that it was the burial place of the Temple priest Zechariah, father of John the Baptist,[9] who lived 400 or so years earlier than the inscription date. This inscription is part of a secondary usage of this monument during the Byzantine period, where Christian monks commemorated stories from the Christian Bible inside old Jewish tombs in the Kidron Valley. The Zechariah inscription has led to confusion with the nearby "Tomb of Zechariah", which commemorates a much earlier figure, the prophet Zechariah ben Jehoiada, according to local folklore; however, it is not a tomb and might also be a monument for the nearby burial cave of the priestly family of Hezir.

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