Until now, scientists thought the site was only 1,000 years old.
(Israel)—[CBN News] Scholars long have wondered if the site in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher is indeed the tomb of Jesus Christ as identified by the Romans about 1,700 years ago. (Photo: Tomb of Jesus Christ/National Geographic/via CBN News)
As first reported by National Geographic, scientific test results given to the magazine appear to back up the claims that the remains of a limestone cave enshrined in the church are part of the tomb where Jesus' body was believed to have been placed.
"It's corroborating what the historical accounts are telling us," Kristin Romey, archaeology editor for National Geographic, told CBN News.
"Around 325-326 A.D., Constantine sends his delegation to the Holy Land to find the site associated with the life and death of Jesus," she explained. "According to the historical accounts, they're asking around, and they're saying ... 'Where was the tomb of Jesus Christ?'"
"And the locals point to this Roman temple; they tear down the Roman temple; lo and behold, underneath it is a rock-cut tomb," Romey continued.
Historical accounts show the tomb was found and enshrined around 326.
National Geographic reports that scientists sampled mortar located between the tomb's original limestone surface and a marble slab on top of it that dates to around A.D. 345.
Prior to these recent tests, the oldest architectural evidence discovered in and around the complex of the tomb dated to the time of the Crusades, around 1,000 years ago.
"But now, scientists can confirm that it is indeed the site identified as the burial place of Christ 17 centuries ago," a National Geographic news release states.
"We have a good amount of a limestone cave with a very typical kind of layout of what we call the burial bench that is still preserved within the walls of the Edicule [the shrine surrounding the tomb]," Romey told CBN News.
"I just remember being in that tomb and just kind of being really overwhelmed because this is one of the holiest, if not, the holiest site for the world's largest religion ... and to kind of be able to... see it in its original state and realize that this is a rock that people have fought and died for, for centuries," she shared.
You can read more about the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the December issue of National Geographic magazine or tune in to the National Geographic documentary, "The Secrets of Christ's Tomb: Explorer Special," premiering Sunday, Dec. 3 at 9/8c.