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Theatre box found at Herod palace

The head of a team of Israeli archaeologists said they have excavated a lavish, private theatre box in a 400-seat facility at King Herod's winter palace in the Judean desert.

Ehud Netzer, of Jerusalem's Hebrew University, said the room provides further evidence of King Herod's famed taste for extravagance.

Herod commissioned Roman artists to decorate the theatre walls with elaborate paintings and plaster mouldings around 15BC, Mr Netzer said.

Its upper portions feature paintings of windows overlooking a river and a seascape with a large sailboat.

It is the first time this painting style has been found in Israel, Mr Netzer said.

Herod was the Jewish proxy ruler of the Holy Land under Roman occupation from 37 to 4BC. He is known for his extensive building throughout the area.

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