Archaeologist Netzer dies after fall during excavation

76-year-old succumbs to wounds sustained at Herodion site in West Bank; to be laid to rest at Kiryat Anavim cemetery.

Ehud Netzer (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ehud Netzer
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Renowned archaeologist Ehud Netzer died of his wounds at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem Thursday night, days after he fell during an excavation.
On Monday Prof. Netzer was hospitalized in critical condition after a wooden railing he leaned on gave way, at the Herodion archeological site in the West Bank.
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The 76-year-old archeologist is one of the foremost experts on Herodion, a man-made mountain built by King Herod near Bethlehem. Netzer has carried out digs at the site for more than three decades, and three years ago, he found the site of Herod’s grave – a discovery that was considered the pinnacle of his career.
He fell around 3 meters before landing, only to roll and fall an additional 3 meters. He suffered fractures in his cranium and vertebrae and was rushed to Hadassah in critical condition.
His family said his organs will be donated. His funeral will take place on Friday 10 a.m., at the Kiryat Anavim cemetery.
Digs that Netzer performed in 1968 in Jericho unearthed a Hasmonean winter palace that sported bathing pools and gardens, widely considered the most significant archeological site dealing with that period in Jewish history. The digs also unearthed the Jericho synagogue, considered the largest Jewish house of worship ever discovered.
In 1978, Netzer finished his PhD dissertation at Hebrew University, which focused on Herod’s palaces at Herodion and Jericho. He became a senior lecturer at the university in 1981, where he has taught ever since.