(PCM) A tomb, believed to be that of Jesus Christ, has been opened for the first time in centuries and it’s excavation has been officially documented by National Geographic. The restoration team removed a layer of marble to access the area of the tomb that is believed to be the rock surface where Jesus’ body was laid to rest.
There has been argument and speculation among historians over the years in regards to the exact location of Jesus’ tomb with many believing that the original cave was destroyed years ago. New research using ground penetrating radar technology has now revealed that the cave walls are indeed still intact and it is located behind the marbled panels of the chamber at the center of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The renovation process is part of an effort to preserve the Edicule, the chamber housing the cave where Jesus is said to have been entombed and resurrected. It is one of the most important shrines in Christianity.
Six denominations of the Christian religion practice at the holy site and all must reach an agreement regarding any excavations and renovations that can be completed. Devout Christians make pilgrimages to visit the holy site and pray within the confines of the small Edicule.
The Edicule was closed off to the public during the renovation. The team used machinery to remove the top layer of marble slab which has not been removed since the year 1550. After removing quite a bit of debris under the first marble slab the team discovered that a second marble slab engraved with a cross symbol and dates back to the 12th century.
This leads the renovation team to believe that even more lay beneath the second marble slab and this may lead them to the original rock that was Jesus’s resting place before the resurrection. The church has allowed the team only 60 hours to excavate and document the Edicule, so they have been tirelessly working day and night.
Tests have been done on material samples within the tomb and results are expected in the coming months. The tomb will be resealed and reinforced, however one section of the tomb is being left exposed. A small window was cut into the Edicule’s marble wall to allow visitors to catch a small glimpse at what is believed to be Jesus’ final resting place.