SINGAPORE: The original surface of what many Christians believe to be the tomb of Jesus Christ has been exposed for the first time in several hundred years, according to a National Geographic exclusive report on Wednesday (Oct 26).
The marble slab, which covers the burial bed, was pulled back during a restoration project inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the report said.
Mr Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and partner in the restoration project was quoted as saying: "The marble covering of the tomb has been pulled back, and we were surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it.
The restoration entrusted to a Greek team, is expected to be completed in early 2017 and the site will remain open to visitors in the meantime. (Photo: AFP)
"It will be a long scientific analysis, but we will finally be able to see the original rock surface on which, according to tradition, the body of Christ was laid," Mr Hiebert added.
According to Christian tradition, the body of Jesus Christ was laid on a shelf or “burial bed” hewn from the side of a limestone cave following his crucifixion by the Romans in A.D. 30 or possibly 33.
Tourists line up to enter the Tomb of Jesus as they stand under a metal scaffolding placed at the entrance. (Photo: AFP)
Christians believe that Christ was resurrected after death, and women who came to anoint his body three days after the burial reported that no remains were present.