The ancient Negev fortress where, in 74 CE, Jewish rebels fought their last stand against the Romans, yielded many important discoveries in the 20th century. Now archaeologists plan to begin digging there once more. Ilan Ben Zion writes:
[A] substantial portion of the mountaintop’s historical material, [as well as] the former Roman army encampments ringing the fortress peak, remains largely unstudied. After the first large-scale excavations in 1963-65 under the former IDF chief of staff and archaeologist Yigael Yadin, archaeologists refrained from digging up the entire site for the sake of leaving some exploration for the generations to come. The dry desert climate allowed the preservation of elegant frescoes and organic remains belonging to the Jewish rebels who holed up on the mountaintop. . . .
[The] team said the plans for its first season at Masada will involve the excavation of new sections of the Jewish rebel dwellings, as well as a garden constructed by Herod. “Our intention is to explore further a mysterious underground structure that was detected in the earliest aerial photographs of the site” in 1924, said Guy Stiebel, [the archaeologist leading the project].