What Did Jesus Tomb Look Like

What Did Jesus’ Tomb Look Like? An Interview with Leen Ritmeyer (Part 2)

Part one of my conversation with Leen Ritmeyer, who was in charge of the reconstructions for the ESV Study Bible, was published in a previous article. We discussed Golgotha, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, in the first segment of the conversation, which is available here. We will now focus our attention to the Tomb of Jesus. Our illustration is shown below (click on the picture to see it in full size): As soon as it was determined that Jesus had died, the Bible records that his corpse was brought to a garden and put in Joseph of Arimathea’s freshly hewn tomb (Matt.

What is the significance of this piece of knowledge for archaeologists?

To be more specific, tombs from the New Testament period were composed of a number of rock-hewn chambers, each of which included a burial niche and an arched niche carved into the side walls.

However, the presence of numerous chambers would be in conflict with the depiction of the tomb of Jesus given in the gospels, because the ladies participated in the burial were able to see the corpse from outside the tomb (cf.Matt.

Furthermore, while standing outside the tomb and kneeling to peer inside, John observed a pile of linen grave cloths laying on the ground (John 20:5).

Over 1,000 tombs have been studied in and around Jerusalem, and we now know that the first stage in tomb construction is the cutting out of a single chamber with benches arranged along the three sides, leaving a pit in the middle, so that the workmen could stand upright while they were doing their work.

  • A newly hewn tomb might be used for the initial phase of burial, the so-called “primary burial,” in which the body was laid out on a bench and covered with earth.
  • This was referred to as a “secondary burial.” Other reconstructions of Jesus’ tomb include burial niches cut into the stone wall around the tomb.
  • Cutting out a decent burial chamber was the second stage in the creation of a family tomb.
  • Such chambers were equipped with loculi (burial niches), into which the deceased was placed.
  • They were carved out of the rock face.
  • As soon as the tomb reached this point in its construction, it could no longer be referred to as a “freshly hewn tomb.” In order to avoid this, it would be incorrect to depict burial niches in the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
  • What part of the tomb did they most likely use to bury Jesus’ body?

Newly hewn graves were often equipped with a seat that ran along three sides of the room.

As a result, it is possible to speculate that the body of Jesus was deposited on the bench opposite the entrance to the church.

John 20:5–7) may be seen on that bench, which serves as a visual cue as to where Jesus’ body was laid to rest.

The Bible claims that a large rolling boulder sealed the tomb, which was later discovered.

There have only been a few of these rolling stones discovered thus far.

According to these dimensions, the stone would have weighed several hundred kg at the very least.

Only a few of tombs from the Second Temple era (c.

In fact, just four have been discovered in the greater Jerusalem region.

Given the high cost of constructing this type of closing mechanism in comparison to just placing a blocking stone in front of the entrance, they were extremely ornate tombs constructed by affluent individuals.


In spite of the presence of rolling stones, tomb openings were quite modest in size, measuring around 2.5–3 feet high and 2–2.5 feet wide.

Smaller entrances are also less difficult to block off than larger ones.

Thank you so much, Dr.

Do you have any last thoughts?

Since beginning my professional career as an archaeological architect in 1973, it has been my ambition to depict the appearance of old structures.

With its numerous wonderfully produced reconstruction drawings and precise maps, a new standard for biblical representation has been established, and it will continue to raise the bar for many years to follow.

How Was Jesus’ Tomb Sealed?

When it comes to the Tomb of Jesus, we must consider the Second Temple era. Tombs in Jerusalem Megan Sauter is a model and actress. The date is April 02, 2021. There are 33 comments and 55621 views. “Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, and discovered that the stone had been lifted from the tomb.” —John 20:1, New Revised Standard Version What type of stone was used to seal the tomb of Jesus? A round (disk-shaped) stone, or a square (cork-shaped) stone, was the object in question.

What method was used to seal Jesus’ tomb?

It seems from the archaeological evidence that the tomb of Jesus—which is thought to have been the disused tomb of Joseph of Arimathea—would have been sealed with a stone in the shape of a cork.

In reality, just four disk-shaped obstructing stones have been unearthed in Second Temple-period burial caverns surrounding Jerusalem, according to archaeologist Amos Kloner, out of more than 900 Second Temple-period burial caves surveyed.

Become a Member ofBiblical Archaeology SocietyNow and Get More Than Half Off the Regular Price of the All-AccessPass!

With an All-Access pass, you may access more than 9,000 articles from the Biblical Archaeology Society’s extensive collection, as well as much more. If so, was the burial of Jesus one of the “top four” tombs in Jerusalem dating back to the Second Temple period? It is exceedingly improbable that Jesus’ tomb would have been supplied with a disk-shaped blocking stone, given the rarity of disk-shaped blocking stones in ancient times and the fact that it was really the borrowed, but unused, tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:60).

  • Is this supported or refuted by the text of the Old Testament?
  • From the March/April 2015 edition of BAR, Urban C.
  • His meticulous examination of the Greek grammar reveals a detail from the Gospel of John that lends credence to the notion that the tomb of Jesus was truly sealed with a cork-shaped stone, as previously believed.
  • von Wahlde argues in hisBARcolumn that all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) utilize a form of the Greek verbkulio to describe how the stone sealing Jesus’ tomb was moved.
  • Herod’s family tomb has a disk-shaped stone that stands 4.5 feet tall and can be rolled to hide the entranceway or rolled back into a niche to open it, allowing for the addition of fresh graves to the tomb.
  • A circular rolling stone marks the entrance to this tomb, which is one of four in Jerusalem during the Second Temple era.
  • Joseph then purchased a linen cloth and, after removing Jesus’ corpse from the building, wrapped it in the linen cloth and placed it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock, according to Mark 15:46″.
  • Proskulisas is the Greek verb that is used in the last sentence of this paragraph.

As recorded in Mark 16:3, the scenario when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome come to visit Jesus’ tomb on Easter Sunday is described as follows: “They had been asking to one another, ‘Who will roll aside the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?'” Isapekulisen is the Greek term for “roll away,” according to von Wahlde, which is “a mixture of the words ap (meaning ‘away’) and.

  • certainly, kulio (meaning ‘to roll’).” The Gospels of Matthew and Luke both make use of verbkulio compounds that are comparable to one another.
  • Is it possible to roll square (cork-shaped) obstructing stones?
  • Consequently, any discrepancies between the Biblical text and the archaeological evidence are resolved by this concept.
  • The phrase kuliome can also mean “dislodge” or “dislodge and move,” according to Kloner.
  • To begin with, as I said above, practically all instances ofkulio in the gospel texts are compounds ofkulio, either pros-kulio (which means “to roll up to”) or apo-kulio (which means “to roll away”).
  • It is not essential to alter the concept of kulio in order to make sense of the Gospel stories, as previously stated.

When you consider the size of a’stopper’ stone, it is clear to understand that, no matter how one manages to get the stone out of the entryway, the odds are that you will have to roll it the rest of the way.” Although cork-shaped stones would not have rolled as readily as round (disk-shaped) stones, it is possible that they may have been rolled nonetheless.

  • In “Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?” scholar Jonathan Klawans examines evidence from the Synoptic Gospels to determine if Jesus’ Last Supper was a Seder.
  • When Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb, it was still dark because it was the first day of the week.
  • The Greek word for “removed” or “taken away” ishairo, which is defined as “take away” by Von Wahlde as “removed.” The Gospel of John makes no reference of “rolling” the stone, as is customary.
  • He has provided us with information that none of the other gospels have.” The Gospel of John and archaeology both support the idea that Jesus’ tomb would have been sealed with a cork-shaped blocking stone, which is consistent with the Gospel of John.
  • von Wahlde’s Biblical Views column “A Rolling Stone That Was Hard to Roll” in the March/April 2015 edition of BAR for a thorough examination of the sort of stone that, according to the Gospels, sealed Jesus’ tomb.
  • There have been dozens more Jerusalem graves discovered with disk-shaped stones that date to these times, albeit on a smaller scale.
  • They are, however, disqualified as being contenders for the tomb of Jesus since the tomb of Jesus belonged to a different time—the Second Temple period, which came to an end in 70 A.D.
  • – Subscribers: You may read the whole Biblical Views column, “A Rolling Stone That Was Difficult to Roll,” by Urban C.
  • Are you a new subscriber?
  • If Jesus was a real person who lived in the first century, would it be feasible to recognize him from the countless stories and traditions about him that have accumulated over 2,000 years in the Bible and church teachings?

The Jesus/Historical Jesus study website contains free articles about Jesus in Bible history that are updated on a daily basis.

Read more articles about the tomb of Jesus and other Jerusalem tombs in the BAS Library:

“Did a Rolling Stone Dismantle Jesus’ Tomb?” asks Amos Kloner. BAR (British Association for Research), September/October 1999. “What Did Jesus’ Tomb Look Like?” wonders Jodi Magness. BAR (British Association of Researchers), January/February 2006. “Queen Helena’s Jerusalem Palace—In a Parking Lot?” ask R. Steven Notley and Jeffrey P. Garcia in their paper. BAR, May/June 2014 (in print). “The Tomb of Herod’s Family in Jerusalem,” by Ehud Netzer. BAR, issue of May/June 1983. Are you a new subscriber?

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This Bible History Daily piece was first published on March 9, 2015, and has since been updated.

Three Tombs of Jesus: Which is the Real One?

There was nothing in the tomb where they had buried Jesus of Nazareth on that first Easter morning. On this issue, all of the ancient eyewitnesses are in complete agreement. 1The great majority of contemporary scholars – whether critical or not – are in agreement as well. 2There are three tombs in Jerusalem that some believe to be the ones where Jesus of Nazareth was first put to rest, according to tradition. Which one is the genuine article? Can you tell me whether there is any archaeological or historical evidence that can help you answer this question?

The Talpiot Family Tomb

According to archaeological evidence, the Talpiot Family Tomb, found in 1980, belonged to a middle-class family during the first century AD. Image courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority ” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Talpiot Tomb IAA” ” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Talpiot Tomb IAA” srcset=” 701w, 150w, 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 701px) 100vw, 701px”> srcset=” 701w, 150w, 300w” According to archaeological evidence, the Talpiot Family Tomb, found in 1980, belonged to a middle-class family during the first century AD.

  1. Image courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority The Talpiot Family Tomb is located around 5 kilometers south of the Old City of Jerusalem.
  2. Within the Tapiot tomb, ten ossuaries were uncovered, each having a name associated with it, such as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
  3. 3 It was just two of the ossuaries that included a patronym that might be used to identify them: “Jude, son of Jesus” and “Jesus, son of Joseph.” Some have concluded that Jesus of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene had a son called Judah as a result of this.
  4. They were among the most common Hebrew names throughout the first century A.D., and Cameron and Jacobovici have interpreted these names in a way that is not supported by their contexts.
  5. This is used as proof by the filmmakers in the Discovery Channel show to claim that the couple was married.
  6. father and daughter, or grandfather and granddaughter).
  7. Several studies including chemical testing, including one sponsored by filmmaker Simcha Jacobvici, have been offered as proof that the James ossuary came from the Talpiot tomb.
  8. As remarkable as this may sound, however, the study was conducted with an extremely tiny sample size, which calls into doubt the findings.
  9. The physical appearance of the James ossuary, with its pitted and worn surface, contrasts with the smooth limestone surfaces of the ossuaries from the Talpiot tomb, which are more uniform in their look.

Gibson has remarked that the James ossuary “doesn’t appear to have anything to do with Talpiot.” 5 Of particular significance is the fact that everyone save James Tabor (who thinks that the tomb is that of Jesus’ father) have since expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which their words were utilized and distorted in the documentary.

After everything is said and done, those who believe in the Talpiot family tomb have failed to effectively explain the most obvious fault in their theory: given that Jesus’ family originated in Galilee, why would they have a family tomb in Jerusalem?

A common cemetery would have sufficed for a poor Galilean family of the time.

7 The final word comes from Amos Kloner, one of the first excavators of the Talpiot family tomb, who says, “It would make a fantastic plot for a television film.” However, it is utterly impractical.

It’s just rubbish. Jesus and his relatives did not have a family tomb, and it seems unlikely that they did. They belonged to a Galilean family with no links to the city of Jerusalem. “The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the first century CE,” according to the inscription. 8

The Garden Tomb (or Gordon’s Tomb)

According to archaeological evidence, the Talpiot Family Tomb, discovered in 1980, belonged to a middle-class family in the first century AD. Israel Antiquities Authority provided the image. ” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Talpiot Tomb IAA” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Talpiot Tomb IAA” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Talpiot Tomb IAA” data-large-file=” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” ” srcset=” 701w, 150w, 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 701px) 100vw, 701px”> srcset=” 701w, 150w, 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 701px) 701px”> According to archaeological evidence, the Talpiot Family Tomb, discovered in 1980, belonged to a middle-class family in the first century AD.

  1. Israel Antiquities Authority provided the image.
  2. However, it gained notoriety after the Discovery Channel documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” which was produced by James Cameron and directed by Simcha Jacobovici in 2007 brought it to public attention for the first time.
  3. Mary Magdalene, the filmmakers determined, was buried in one of the ossuaries, which bore the inscription “Mariamene,” implying that she was Jesus’ wife.
  4. Several scholars have concluded that Jesus of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene had a son named Judah, which has led to speculation about their relationship.
  5. They were among the most popular Hebrew names during the first century A.D., and Cameron and Jacobovici have interpreted these names in a way that is not warranted by the evidence.
  6. These facts are used as evidence to suggest that they were married in the Discovery Channel documentary.
  7. father and daughter, or grandfather and granddaughter).

Chemical testing, which was financed by filmmaker Simcha Jacobvici, is frequently cited as evidence that the James ossuary came from the Talpiot tomb, but this is not proven.

In spite of the fact that the sample size was extremely small, the findings are still subject to debate due to the small sample size.

The physical appearance of the James ossuary, with its pitted and worn surface, contrasts with the smooth limestone surfaces of the ossuaries from the Talpiot tomb, which are more uniform in appearance.

Gibson has stated that the James ossuary has nothing to do with Talpiot and that the James ossuary is not related to Talpiot in any way.

6 Just this fact should cause people to think twice about accepting the filmmakers’ conclusions in the end.

As noted by archaeologist Jodi Magness, only wealthy families interred their families in rock-cut tombs during the time of Jesus, and only the bones of the buried were later interred in ossuaries, a practice that was common during his lifetime.

As an additional point of contention, Magness asserts that the names on the Talpiot tomb’s ossuaries suggest the tomb belonged to an Israelite family from Judea, where people were known by their first names and their father’s names, whereas Galileans would have used their first name and hometown.

Despite the fact that it is completely impractical, Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesus and his relatives did not have a family tomb, which is highly unlikely. A Galilean family with no ties to the city of Jerusalem, they belonged to Jesus. During the first century CE, the Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family. 8

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This edicule surrounds the ruins of the alleged tomb of Jesus, which is located within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. While it doesn’t seem much like a tomb anymore, it does have the appearance of one. Photo credit:” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Edicule” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Edicule” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Edicule” srcset=”640w,150w,300w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px”> srcset=”640w,150w,300w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px”> This edicule surrounds the ruins of the alleged tomb of Jesus, which is located within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

  1. While it doesn’t seem much like a tomb anymore, it does have the appearance of one.
  2. Photo credit: Early Christian historian Eusebius recorded how the emperor ordered the dismantling of a pagan temple that Hadrian had constructed and the finding of a tomb under it in his work, Life of Constantine.
  3. 13 During the time of Jesus’ death, archaeological study has revealed that this location was the site of a Jewish cemetery in an ancient limestone quarry outside the walls of Jerusalem, which was discovered by chance.
  4. During the process of removing the seal from the tomb, samples of mortar were taken from various areas around the building, which proved the tomb’s construction date as the mid-4th century and the presence of a restored crusader church during the Middle Ages.
  5. The experiments were carried out in two different labs, one independently of the other.
  6. “Although definitive confirmation of the site of Jesus’ tomb remains beyond our reach, the archaeological and early literary evidence leans strongly in favor of those who believe it to be associated with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” says archaeologist John McRay.


The early disciples testified that they had seen Jesus of Nazareth alive after his death and burial, and that they had watched him rise from the dead. They had spent quality time with him, had meals with him, held his hand, and listened to him educate. Because of their encounter with their rising Lord, they were able to establish a firm basis for their belief in who Jesus was (God – John 20:28) and what he had done (died to pay the penalty for all mankind’s sins – 1 John 2:2). According to Acts 2:32-38, Jesus’ resurrection was at the very center of the gospel message they conveyed, and it continues to be the primary teaching of Christianity 2000 years later.

  • This tomb is located on a route in Galilee that runs from Mount Carmel to Megiddo, in the Jezreel Valley, and is dedicated to Jesus Christ.
  • Given that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was sealed with a rolling stone, it’s possible that the tomb in which Jesus was buried is identical to the one in which he was buried (Matthew 27.60; Mark 15.46; Luke 24.2).
  • (Matthew 28:1-10; John 20:1-10; Matthew 28:1-10).
  • (Luke 1:2-3).
  • Furthermore, both those guarding the tomb and the Chief Priests who pushed for Jesus’ death were aware of this reality, and they devised a story about the disciples taking the corpse to explain the empty tomb, which was later proven to be false (Matthew 28:11-15).
  • 2 Gary Habermas’s “Resurrection Research from 1975 to the Present: What are Critical Scholars Saying?” is a good place to start.
  • 3 Gordon Franz’s article, “The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb,” is available online.

for Biblical Research (March 17, 2007 – April 10, 2019).

Michael S.

It is available on the internet at the following address: 5 According to Ben Witherington’s article, “Once More with Feeling—Did the James Ossuary emerge from the Talpiot Tomb?” The Bible and Popular Culture (April 7, 2015 – March 30, 2020).

6 Michael S.

(Associates for Biblical Research, March 26, 2010, accessed April 11, 2019) 7 “Experts deny claim of locating Jesus’ tomb,” according to Alan Cooperman and the Washington Post, ” Originally published in the East Bay Times on March 3, 2007 and modified on August 17, 2016.

The Association for Biblical Research (March 17, 2007 – April 11, 2019) Ninety-one and one-hundred and eleventh John McRay, Archaeology and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1991), 211-12.

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11, p.

‘The Garden Tomb — Was Jesus Buried Here?’ says Gabriel Barkay in his article.

2 (March/April 1986): 40-57.

Here’s how it’s summarized: Observations of Ancient Witnesses on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (April 12, 2019).

National Geographic (October 31, 2016 – April 12, 2019). National Geographic. 15 Kristen Romey, “Exclusive: Age of Jesus Christ’s Purported Tomb Revealed” On November 28, 2017, National Geographic published an article (which was published on April 12, 2019).

The Tomb of Jesus: First Century Jewish Burials

Many of us are familiar with the account of Christ’s burial and resurrection from the pulpit. Unfortunately, because we are no longer in the historical context of this occurrence, some of the specifics of the tale may be lost to us as a result. Consider the fact that the gospels tell us that Christ was buried in a tomb for three days before rising again. Have you ever given any thought to what it was like inside the tomb of Jesus when he was crucified? Was it a graveyard in the traditional sense, or was it something else entirely?

  • In order to get started, we’ll read a sequence of texts that deal with Jesus’ burial.
  • A clean linen cloth was used to cover the body, which Joseph then deposited in his own new tomb that he had dug out of the rock for this purpose.
  • in addition to the Gospel of John As a result, Peter and the other disciple began their journey to the tomb.
  • He bent over and peered in.
  1. The tomb was hewn out of the rock by hand. There was a doorway/entrance to it. As a result of the low entryway, it was necessary to stoop over to look in
  2. A big stone that could be pushed into position served as a barrier at the entrance.

Is there any archaeological evidence to back up this claim? YES.

Herodian Family Tomb

Tomb of the Herodian Family The name of this tomb in Jerusalem is deceptive, as the tomb has nothing to do with Herod the Great or his descendants. Unfortunately, because of the abundance of ornate ornamentation discovered within, it was classified as such, and the name has been in use ever since. You can see that this tomb has been hollowed out of the rock and that there are steps leading down to the inside, implying that one might have to lean over in order to view what is on the other side.

  1. This tomb resembles the one described in Matthew to a remarkable degree.
  2. Allow me to share with you another passage.
  3. After that, Simon Peter, who had been following him, came and entered the tomb.
  4. (See also John 20:5-7.) Taking a look at this verse, we can add a fifth observation to our understanding of how Jesus’ tomb must have appeared: the burial cloths were clearly visible.

Tomb of Annas

The Tomb of Annas (photo courtesy of the Biblical Archaeology Society). Akeldama is a small village located just south of Jerusalem. There are several 1st century graves at this area, which have likewise been carved out of the rock by the elements. The Tomb of Annas is one of the most significant tombs in this area. Several scholars think that this is the tomb of the priest who is referenced in the Gospel of John, who was one of the most influential and affluent persons in Judea at the time of Christ’s death.

  1. Askokhim, which are little doorways that run along the walls of this tomb, are present.
  2. Illustration by Kokhim The body would be kept at the location for around a year.
  3. This was because to the fact that thekokhimwere extremely expensive to create.
  4. Is it possible that Jesus was buried in this style of tomb?
  5. I saw two angels in white, one at the top of the cross and the other at the foot of the cross, sat where Jesus’ corpse had been (John 20:12).

Neither the head nor the foot of the akokh could have accommodated angels since there would not have been enough space. Then, what kind of tomb might he have been laid to rest in? Let’s have a look at another tomb from the first century.

Tomb of Aristonarcosolium

Sacred Tomb of Ariston arcosolium (Photo courtesy of the Biblical Archaeology Society) Even though this tomb is located in the same general location as the tomb of Annas, it is evident in the photo that this burial chamber is of a totally distinct design. Anarchosolium is the term used to describe this type of burial site, which literally translates as “arched recess.” The body would have been placed on the shelf in a sideways position. During the time of Christ, this style of burial was quite common, and it was the favored type of burial utilized by early Christians in the city of Rome.


It is possible to make a compelling argument for thearcosolium.

  • The facts regarding Jesus’ tomb that are recounted in the New Testament correspond exactly to what we know about Jewish burial traditions in the first century from archaeology. These archaeological discoveries aid in our understanding of the New Testament and our ability to visualize what it is saying. It also supports the historical truth of the New Testament by demonstrating that it could not have been written much later than the events it portrays.

The facts regarding Jesus’ tomb that are recounted in the New Testament correspond exactly to what we know about Jewish burial traditions in the first century from archaeological evidence. Our understanding of the New Testament and ability to envision what it is saying is aided by these archaeological discoveries; As a final point, it demonstrates that the New Testament is historically accurate and that it could not have been written long after the events it depicts;


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Jesus’ Burial Tomb Uncovered: Here’s What Scientists Saw Inside

JERUSALEM According to preliminary findings, portions of the tomb where Jesus Christ’s body is traditionally believed to have been buried are still in existence today, despite the centuries of damage, destruction, and reconstruction that have occurred in the surrounding Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is located in Jerusalem’s Old City. The tomb, which is the most revered location in the Christian world, presently consists of a limestone shelf or burial bed that was hewn from the cave’s wall, and it is the most visited site in the world.

  • During the first removal of the marble cladding on the night of October 26, the restoration team from the National Technical University of Athens discovered just a layer of fill material beneath the marble.
  • After being discovered intact in the middle of the night on October 28, just hours before the tomb was to be resealed, the original limestone burial bed was discovered.
  • Because I was not anticipating this, my knees are trembling a little,” said Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist in residence at National Geographic.
  • Despite the fact that we can’t be certain, it looks to be visual confirmation that the site of the tomb has not changed through time, something scientists and historians have been wondering about for decades.
  • To allow visitors to see one of the cave walls, a window has been carved into the southern interior wall of the shrine.

“This is the Holy Rock that has been adored for ages, but it is only now that it can be seen,” said Professor Antonia Moropoulou, the Chief Scientific Supervisor in charge of the conservation and restoration of the Edicule.

Was This Really the Tomb of Christ?

The tomb recently discovered in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre may not have been the burial site of a specific Jew known as Jesus of Nazareth, but indirect evidence suggests that the identification of the site by representatives of Roman emperor Constantine some 300 years later may have been a reasonable assumption. Historically, the Canonical Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, include the earliest descriptions of Jesus’ burial. The Canonical Gospels are thought to have been written decades after Christ’s crucifixion, around the year 30 A.D.

While the specifics differ, the overall picture is similar.

Individual remains were placed in lengthy niches carved into the sides of the rock to fit them in each of these family tombs, which included one or more burial chambers.

“This does not, of course, establish that the incident took place in the past.

Outside the City Walls

Traditionally, Jews were not allowed to be buried within city walls; therefore, the Gospels explicitly state that Jesus was buried outside of Jerusalem, at the scene of his crucifixion on Golgotha (“the place of skulls”). The city of Jerusalem was enlarged a few years after the burial is claimed to have taken place, bringing Golgotha and the adjoining tomb within the boundaries of the new city. In 325 A.D., when Constantine’s delegates arrived in Jerusalem to seek the burial, they were purportedly directed to a temple erected by the Roman emperor Hadrian more than 200 years earlier.

  • In the words of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, the Roman temple had been demolished, and excavations under it had discovered a rock-cut tomb beneath the ground.
  • The Fatimids entirely demolished the church in 1009, and it was reconstructed in the mid-11th century after being completely devastated.
  • An ancient limestone quarry, as well as at least half a dozen more rock-cut graves, some of which may still be seen today, were also discovered by archaeologists.
  • “What they demonstrate is that this region was, in reality, a Jewish cemetery outside the walls of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus,” says the author.

Months of Restoration, Decades of Study

The burial bed has been resealed in its original marble coating over the course of the previous few days, and it is possible that it will not be revealed for hundreds of years or possibly millennia. It is the goal of Moropoulou and her team to ensure that the architectural conservation they are performing will survive forever. Prior to the rock being resealed, however, significant documentation was carried out on the surface of the formation. A careful review of the data gathered when the burial bed and cave walls were exposed, according to archaeologist Martin Biddle, who published a seminal study on the history of the tomb in 1999.

In addition to other tombs in the area that must have been of great significance because they are covered with crosses and inscriptions painted and scratched into the rock surfaces, Biddle says, “the surfaces of the rock must be examined with the greatest care, I mean minutely, for traces of graffiti.” “As Biddle points out, “the problem of graffiti is vitally critical.” “We know that there are at least a half-dozen more rock-cut graves beneath various portions of the cathedral,” says the researcher.

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So what was it about this tomb that convinced Bishop Eusebius that it was the tomb of Christ?

I don’t believe Eusebius made a mistake—he was a brilliant scholar—so there is certainly some proof if one is simply willing to search hard enough.” As a result of their efforts, the National Technical University of Athens’ crew has continued its renovation work on the Edicule.

The National Geographic Channel will premiere the documentary Explorer in November, which will take an in-depth look into the holy city of Jerusalem.

Sealing the Tomb of Jesus

Have you ever wondered whether there’s more to the story of Jesus’ tomb than meets the eye? Then let archaeological professionals to instruct you! This blog article is an extract from the Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology, which you can get on Amazon.com. MEGIDDO’S TOMB IS NEAR BY


According to Jewish tradition, the deceased’s body was originally placed to rest in the inner chamber of the tomb. In the first century, tombs typically had a small forecourt that led to the tomb’s interior features, which included an inner chamber with benches placed along its walls and arches in the wall, a lower elevation pit (for standing inside the tomb), and tunnel-like niches calledloculi (Latin) orkokhim (which means “holes in the wall” in Greek) (Hebrew). As Jerusalem archaeologist Shimon Gibson has observed, “individualism was apparent” in the graves, despite the fact that they all share certain characteristics.

As a result, we have not discovered, and we should not expect to discover, a first-century tomb that is identical to the tomb of Jesus depicted in the Gospel stories.


An old stone bench was used to lay out the corpse of the deceased. A large stone was placed in front of the little entrance door and sealed, preventing unwelcome visitors such as animals and tomb thieves from entering. According to Matthew, a “large” (Greekmegan) stone was thrown against (Greekproskulisas) the door of Jesus’ tomb, which was then sealed. This sealing stone was afterwards “rolled back” (Greekapekulisen) from the entrance, according to Matthew (Matt 28:2; cf. Mark 16:3–4; Luke 24:2), according to Matthew.

There are at least 1,000 rock-cut graves in the immediate area of Jerusalem.

  1. The tomb of Queen Helena of Adiabene
  2. The family tomb of King Herod of Jerusalem
  3. Two more tombs adjoining Herod’s Family Tomb
  4. And a third tomb in the upper Kidron Valley.

These featured a slotted groove cut out on one side of the tomb’s entrance, which was intended to hold a disk-shaped stone. When the family wanted to cover the entranceway of the tomb with a stone, they could either move the stone ahead in the track or move it back, allowing for new burials to take place. It would have been impossible to move these rolling stones with only one person due to their weight.


Gibson hypothesizes that the stone covering Jesus’ tomb could not have been so heavy because both Matthew (27:60) and Mark (15:46) mention that Joseph of Arimethea rolled the stone himself, which Gibson believes to be correct. To be sure, these passages should not be taken to imply that Joseph acted alone in the rolling of the stone or in the transportation of Jesus’ body to the tomb and wrapping it in a linen shroud, which were both done by several people (all of which the text says he did).

How many people does it take to roll a stone?

The women who came to anoint Jesus’ body on the third day after his burial asked one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?” on the third day after his burial. (Matthew 16:3) Even though they were working together, these three women realized that they would be unable to lift the stone. Furthermore, Gibson fails to see that the next verse (Mark 16:4) makes it quite plain that “the stone, which was extremely huge, had been rolled away” (Greekmegas sphodra). Indeed, according to a passage in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter, Pilate dispatched Petronius the Centurion with soldiers to the site of the sepulcher, where they rolled a large stone and placed it against the entrance to the tomb (8:31–33).


Ordinary Jewish families did not have access to the uncommon rolling-stone graves, which were designated for royal or rich families instead of the more common variety. As a result of his research, Kloner estimates that around 98 percent of the stones used to seal graves during Jesus’ time were square block stones. These were basic slabs that were formed in the manner of a bolt, with one end made to be a tight fit for the little aperture that served as the tomb’s doorway. The bigger portion of the stone was flanged, allowing it to rest against the outer surface of the tomb’s outside wall.

The namegolalin Hebrew for these stone “plugs” was a specific designation. Small rodents and insects were often kept out of the house by adding a filler of stones or mortar around the opening.

Evidence for a Square Stone

Due to the fact that these are the more typical types of tomb sealing stones and that disk-shaped blocking stones are uncommon, it would have been extraordinary for Jesus’ tomb to have been sealed in this manner. According to Megan Souter, this prompted archaeologist Amos Kloner to propose that the Gospel references to “rolling away” a stone from the entrance of a tomb were a misinterpretation of the typical procedure of closing a tomb, because square stones do not have the ability to “roll.” However, Joseph of Arimathea appears to be a wealthy and influential individual in the New Testament, whereas this may be true of the average person in Judea and Jerusalem.


Evidence for a Round Stone

Urban C. von Wahlde, on the other hand, looked at the usage of the Greek verbkuli (which means “to roll”) in the Synpotic Gospels. He came to the conclusion that all of the kuli compounds convey the concept of movement “toward” or “away from.” Consequently, in his perspective, the grammar does not correspond to the concept of moving a square-shaped stone, which would have been more appropriately characterized as “moved” or “displaced,” although Gibson adds that thegolalcould also be “rolled” in a manner similar to that of a ball.

Furthermore, von Wahlde points out that, while the Synoptic Gospels depict the sealing of the tomb in this manner, the Gospel of John use a different Greek word from the roothairo, which has the meaning that the stone had been “removed” or “picked up” (Greekrmenon) from the tomb (John 20:1).

He has provided us with information that none of the other gospels have.” He goes on to explain that because Jesus’ tomb was a borrowed tomb for a common Jewish family, the evidence points to a square stone being used to seal the tomb.

von Wahalde concludes:

“It is not necessarily the case that these accounts are incorrect. They do, however, provide the wrong impression. It’s possible that the ‘cork-shaped’ stones were rolled away from the grave by a group of individuals. When you consider the size of a’stopper’ stone, it is clear to understand that, no matter how one manages to get the stone out of the entryway, the odds are that you will have to roll it the rest of the way.”


Is it necessary to infer that the material included in the Gospels conveys the “false impression” of Jesus? When it comes to the Synoptics, the grammar of “rolling” (Greekkuli+ pros “up to”;apo “away from”) is unequivocal, and it is assumed that Joseph of Arimathea was a common man with a common family tomb. In the Gospels, he is described as a “rich man” (Matt 27:57), a “prominent member” of the Sanhedrin (Mark 15:43), and a man of significant social standing enough to be granted a private audience with Pontius Pilate and then special permission to bury the body of a condemned criminal (not his relative) whose high-profile case had been controversial (John 19:38).

That Pilate was Joseph’s “friend,” according to the apocryphal Gospel of Peter (2:3), may suggest that he was in a privileged position.

This description of an elite in Jerusalem society argues for someone whose family tomb could have fit the category of a rolling-stone tomb.

Additionally, the phrase “carved out of the rock” (Matt 27:60; Luke 22:53) refers to a royal tomb, which is referenced in the Septuagint translation of Isaiah 22:16 in reference to the tomb of the king. Because a rock-cut tomb was prohibitively expensive for the poorer lower classes, a cave was used as a burial site for them. Joseph of Arimethea had the financial means to purchase the most costly of tombs, the sort that was reserved for the upper class and royalty. Christian scholars have interpreted this as a fulfillment of the prophecy of the Messiah’s death in Isaiah 53:9, which states: “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich, in his death,” while also noting that because Jesus was a descendant of King David, he was royalty and therefore entitled to a proper burial in a royal tomb.

  • Rolling Stone on the Front Tomb Wall C.
  • Slanted Track for the Rolling Stone E.
  • BenchH.
  • NicheG.
  • Ossuary (Ossuary is a kind of ossuary).
  • The body is placed on a bench in preparation for burial.


The method in which the stone was rolled away from the entrance may be said to be remarkable, even if the stone had been rolled over the opening. If the perfect middle/passive participle (“had been pushed away”) is used, it might imply that the stone had been “thrown” a considerable distance away from the grave, implying the involvement of heavenly intervention. Angels are recorded entering the tomb in all tales, and it is thus reasonable to assume that they were responsible for the stone’s removal.

As a result, although the stone may have been a rolling stone in this instance, it was not literally “rolled away” as was customary, but rather violently shoved aside.

When it comes to the tomb of Jesus, archaeology can offer examples of particular rolling-stone tombs from the era and argue for the more usual closing of graves with square stones, but the interpretation of the biblical narrative must ultimately be the decisive decision.


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