A conservation project in Jerusalem has released new images of a limestone bed on which the body of Jesus Christ is said to have been laid out after his crucifixion.
The team of researchers continued an investigation into the supposed burial site, removing the marble cladding surrounding the tomb on 26 October at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, for 60 hours.
An initial inspection of the Holy Edicule by the conservation team from the National Technical University of Athens took place, before the team removed the marble cladding, to find another marble slab with a cross carved into the surface.
The original limestone burial bed was revealed intact, shortly before the tomb was resealed, as it will likely remain for centuries.
The edicule will undergo further conservation and restoration works following the sealing of the tomb.
The earliest accounts of Jesus' burial come from the first four gospels of the New Testament, which describe in varying accounts how Christ was buried in a rock-cut tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy Jewish follower of Jesus.
Picture: National Geographic
In AD 325 when Constantine's representatives arrive in Jerusalem to locate Jesus' tomb, they were pointed to a temple built by Hadrian 200 years prior, which is believed to remain in the ruins of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
We may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus' burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site.
The team will be reinforcing, cleaning and documenting every inch of the shrine for another five months to provide more information for scholars for years to come.