Stone slab believed to have held Jesus' body uncovered
A stone structure on which Jesus is believed to have been laid to rest has been exposed for the first time in at least 461 years, reports National Geographic.
It is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and it has been uncovered as part of a restoration project.
According to USA Today, Christians typically believe that Jesus Christ was crucified, and his dead body was laid on a limestone slab; three days later, women intending to anoint his remains reported that the body was no longer there, resulting in the conclusion that he had been resurrected.
A marble sheath was later installed over the stone, reportedly around the year 1555 A.D. or earlier.
Now that it has been pulled back, one of the team's archaeologists, Fredrik Hiebert, is quoted as saying in the National Geographic article that they were "surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it."
He also acknowledges that "it will be a long scientific analysis..."
National Geographic, which is documenting the project, points out in its feature piece that researchers may be able to learn more about the slab's original tomb and how it came to hold a high place of importance among Christians.