New research carries proof that the Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre is probably indeed the site where the burial remains of Jesus Christ are being held after scientists were able to date some of the materials used for his tomb.
At the time of the building of the tomb, the site was simply a burial ground. But when the Roman empire chose Christianity as its global religion, the first modifications were added to it.
Emperor Constantine was the one who selected Christianity as the religion for the whole Roman empire, in what was mostly seen as a political bid to keep the different regions of the massive territory woven together more easily.
As such, he ordered builders to construct a burial site to keep the remains of Christianity’s central figure, Jesus Christ, in around 325 AD.
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When Constantine's representatives arrived in Jerusalem to locate the tomb, they were allegedly pointed to a Roman temple built some 200 years earlier. The Roman temple was razed, and excavations beneath it revealed a tomb hewn from a limestone cave.
The top of the cave was cut off to expose the interior of the tomb, and the Edicule (shrine) was built around it.
While it is archaeologically impossible to say whether the tomb is actually the burial site of an individual Jew known as Jesus of Nazareth (who according to New Testament accounts was crucified in Jerusalem in 30 or 33), the new dating test results put the original construction of today's tomb complex securely in the time of Constantine, Rome's first Christian emperor.
Archaeologist Martin Biddle: "Obviously that date is spot-on for whatever Constantine did. That is indeed very remarkable.”
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 a team from the University of Athens.