Scientific tests provided exclusively to National Geographic have confirmed that the remains of a limestone cave enshrined within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem are remnants of a tomb, believed to be that of Jesus Christ, first located by the ancient Romans 1,700 years ago. The new dating results put the original construction of today’s tomb complex securely in the time of Constantine — A.D. 345.
The tomb was opened for the first time in centuries in October 2016, when the shrine that encloses the tomb, known as the Edicule, underwent a significant restoration by an interdisciplinary team from the National Technical University of Athens. Several samples of mortar from different locations within the Edicule were taken at that time for dating, and the results have been exclusively provided to National Geographic.
Until now, the earliest architectural evidence found in and around the tomb complex dated to the Crusader period, making it no older than 1,000 years. But now, scientists can confirm that it is indeed the site identified as the burial place of Christ 17 centuries ago.
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Kristin Romey, National Geographic’s archaeology expert, who has been exclusively reporting on the findings for National Geographic, is available for interviews out of Washington, D.C.
In addition, National Geographic Archaeologist-in-Residence, Fredrik Hiebert, is available for interviews out of Washington, D.C.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is also featured on the cover of the December issue of National Geographic magazine and is the subject of an upcoming National Geographic documentary, “The Secrets of Christ’s Tomb: Explorer Special,” premiering Sunday, Dec. 3 at 9/8c. In addition, the National Geographic Museum’s immersive, 3-D exhibition, ‘Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience,’ virtually transports visitors to this iconic site and is currently on display in Washington, DC through the fall of 2018.
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