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View looking west at the east slope of the fortress of Machaerus. The palace/fortress was located on the top of the hill. On the left (south) side of the image is a spur that connects Machaerus with a hill to the south of the palace. An aqueduct system, running from left to right, brought water to cisterns along the side of the hill and to its top.
There is a steeper slope to the right (north) of the palace/fortress and it is here that there are remnants of the Roman assault ramp (A.D. 72).
Note how steep the near slope of the hill is—providing it with a very effective natural defense. About half way down the slope is a white path. Along this path there are a number of openings of caves and cisterns (to hold water). There is a tradition that maintains that John the Baptist was held in one of these caves until he was executed at the party that was being held in the palace on the top of the hill (Mark 6:21–29; Josephus Antiquities 18.116–19).
This image courtesy of Mark Connally.