The Tomb of Jesus is said to be located inside this Edicule (shrine), which stands in the center of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. The original church, dedicated in 336 AD, was ordered built by Emperor Constantine. The cave where Jesus was entombed was excavated from the surrounding rock so that the church could be built around it. The hill known as Golgotha, where Christ was crucified, was also enclosed withing the walls of the church.
Over the ensuing centuries, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre suffered damage from fires, earthquakes, and riots. In 1099, the conquering Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered it to be razed. A new church was built and dedicated in 1048. Since then, the church has undergone many restorations, as has the exterior of the Edicule. However, with the exception of one change to the shape of the interior of the ante-chamber, the Tomb of Jesus has not changed since the Franciscan restorations of 1555.
Recently, however, officials became concerned that the Edicule had become unstable due to water seeping below its foundation. In a rare show of unity and cooperation, the various religions that control the Church of the Holy Sepulchre agreed to allow a complete restoration of the Tomb of Jesus. Work began in May of 2016, and by October archeologists had removed the marble slab over the grave site. They carefully extracted layers of rubble dating from the 14th and fourth centuries to expose a limestone shelf that had been hewn from the surrounding cave. Christians believe this to be the very spot where the body of Jesus was interred.
Though archeological evidence is insufficient to prove it is the burial place of Jesus, the site is consistent with burial rituals practiced at the time of Jesus crucifixion. And as the former city archaeologist of Jerusalem, Dan Bahat, said, “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.”