Archaeologists believe they have uncovered the tomb of King Herod, the Roman-appointed king of Judea from 37 to 4 BC.
The remains of the ruler, known as Herod the Great, were discovered along with remains of his sarcophagus and mausoleum on Mount Herodium's north-eastern slope after a 30-year search.
One of the scientists behind the discovery, Professor Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology, said that the location and unique nature of the findings, as well as historical records, leave no doubt that it is Herod's burial site that has been found.
Herod was a prolific builder and was responsible for projects including the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the complex at Herodium.
The latter was Herod's grandest project and where he chose to be buried and memorialised.
With monumental stairs over six metres wide, scientists have described the approach to the burial site as one of the most striking to be seen in recent years in Israel.
At the top of these stairs in the mountain are a palace, a fortress and a monument.
The mausoleum was almost totally destroyed in ancient times but found among the ruins were decorated urns and a large, unique sarcophagus.
Other archaeologists involved in the find were Yaakov Kalman and Roi Porath.
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