(TIMES OF ISRAEL) -- Herod the Great was a builder known for his colossal projects and discriminating taste. And while he filled his palaces two thousand years ago with only the finest the ancient world could offer, he was also a pragmatic man, as shown in a new study published in the prestigious journal Scientific Reports.
In the past several decades, a pair of luxurious alabaster bathtubs were excavated from Herodian palaces in Israel — the Kypros fortress near Jericho and the palace of Herodium, south of Jerusalem. Weighing in at an estimated 1.5 metric tons each, the tubs were until now thought to have originated in Egypt, widely considered the finest source for calcite-alabaster in the ancient world.
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However, research led by PhD student Ayala Amir for her master’s thesis shows that Herod had a quarry fit for a king within his own kingdom — at Israel’s Te’omim cave.