Archaeologists believe they have discovered a dance floor where the preacher who supposedly foretold the coming of Jesus was sentenced to death.
John The Baptist's execution was ordered around AD 29 by King Herod Antipas – King Herod's son – in modern-day Jordan, according to The Bible.
Ancient Roman historian Flavius Josephus claims it took place in Machaerus, a fort near the Dead Sea in the country.
A Bible passage states that John was executed because he disapproved of a marriage between Herod and a divorced woman called Herodias.
Her daughter Salome supposedly performed a dance for Herod at his birthday party – who was so entranced he offered her anything she desired.
Salome then demanded John’s execution, it is claimed.
Historian Gyozo Voros claims to have discovered the courtyard in the Fortress of Machaerus where the dance was performed, Live Science reports.
He argues it contains the remains of a throne where Herod would have sat.
A team of archaeologists have since published pictures showing how the courtyard may have appeared.
Morten Horning Jensen, a professor at the Norwegian School of Theology, said: "I think it is historically probable that this excavation has brought the 'dance floor' of Salome to light.”
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However, other scholars were not fully convinced by the discovery.
Jodi Magness, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the supposed remains seemed small compared with the throne of his dad King Herod in Jericho, the West Bank.
Voros’ claims are published in the book Holy Land Archaeology on Either Side: Archaeological Essays in Honour of Eugenio Alliata.
The Bible claims that John baptised Jesus in the Jordan River and prophesied his coming.
Last month, archaeologists discovered a shrine with a chipped part of the nail which they believe is from the cross on which Jesus Christ died.
The discovery was made at a monastery in Milevsko, the Czech Republic.
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The six-centimetre fragment of the nail was found in a cavity in the vault of the monastery.
It was discovered in a box and is inscribed "IR" – which translates to "Jesus is King".
The archaeology team say that the secret chamber had been used to hide rare artefacts from raids in the early 15th century.
Radio Prague reports that researchers cannot confirm whether the nail came from the "True Cross", but say the discovery is “even greater than the reliquary of St Maurus” – a significant piece of medieval jewellery.
Jiri Sindelaa, who took part in the discovery, told CTK news agency: “Because the Hussites destroyed the archive, there was no information that such a thing was here.”
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