This week National Geographic announced that, for the first time, the mortar from the tomb of Jesus at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher had been scientifically dated. The tomb itself, they reveal, was built in the fourth century. The evidence confirms the traditional story that Constantine built the first Christian church there around 325 CE. But does the mortar cement the Gospel story?
A little over a year ago scientists and archaeologists entered what the majority of Christians believe is the tomb of Jesus. More importantly the renovation of the Edicule (the shrine that housed the tomb) in the Church of Holy Sepulcher meant that the marble cladding that covered the tomb was removed for the first time since the 16th century.
What they found beneath the cladding on Oct. 26, 2016, was an older, broken marble slab marked with a cross. They then discovered that it was set directly on top of a limestone slab, or “burial bed.”