Carbon dating of ancient coins
According to Josephus, when Roman troops entered the fortress, they discovered that its defendants had set all the buildings but the food storerooms ablaze and committed mass suicide or killed each other, 960 men, women, and children in total.
The synagogue, storehouses, and houses of the Jewish rebels have also been identified and restored.
The meter-high circumvallation wall that the Romans built around Masada can be seen, together with 11 barracks for the Roman soldiers just outside this wall.
The Aramaic common noun marda, "fortress", corresponds in meaning to the Greek name of another desert monastery of the time, Kastellion, and is used to describe that site in the vita (biography) of St Sabbas, but it is only used as a proper name for the monastery at Masada, as can be seen from the vita of St Euthymius.
An almost inaccessible cave, dubbed Yoram Cave, located on the sheer southern cliff face 100 m below the plateau, has been found to contain numerous plant remains, of which 6,000-year-old barley seeds were in such good state of preservation that their genome could be sequenced.
The site of Masada was identified in 1838 by Americans Edward Robinson and Eli Smith, and in 1842, American missionary Samuel W. Masada was extensively excavated between 19 by an expedition led by Israeli archeologist Yigael Yadin.
Due to the remoteness from human habitation and its arid environment, the site remained largely untouched by humans or nature for two millennia.
Uranium and thorium are both weakly radioactive, with such long half-lives that they are found in reasonable quantities in nature. The activity of uranium is so low that it could be handled with minor precautions, but it would be unwise to make coins out of it!
A medal was made out of uranium in Germany in 1956.
Josephus said that the Sicarii raided nearby Jewish villages including Ein Gedi, where they massacred 700 women and children.
geological investigations in the early 1990s confirmed earlier observations that the 114 m (375 ft) high assault ramp consisted mostly of a natural spur of bedrock.
The ramp was complete in the spring of 73, after probably two to three months of siege, allowing the Romans to finally breach the wall of the fortress with a battering ram on April 16. A giant siege tower with a battering ram was constructed and moved laboriously up the completed ramp.