Image: Ehud Netzer
Menahem Kahana  /  AFP - Getty Images file
A picture dated May 8, 2007 shows Israeli Professor of Archaeology Ehud Netzer holding a pieces of an elaborate sarcophagus believed to have contained King Herod's remains during a press conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
updated 10/28/2010 5:29:41 PM ET 2010-10-28T21:29:41

Israel's government has announced that a leading archaeologist has died of injuries suffered in a fall during a dig.

Ehud Netzer was directing an excavation at the King Herod-era site near Bethlehem Monday when he fell 10 feet after a railing collapsed.

He died of his injuries Thursday in a Jerusalem hospital.

Netzer, 76, was known for pinpointing an ancient synagogue and palace in Jericho. He was an expert on Herodian, a man-made hill where King Herod built a palace and refuge in the southern desert of the West Bank in the first century B.C.

Netzer discovered Herod's tomb there in 2007.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Netzer's "tragic death is a loss for his family, for research into the heritage of Israel and for archaeology."

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