Tomb of Christ

Lots of press coverage of the claims by James Cameron (erstwhile producer of Titanic) that archaeologists have discovered the tomb of Jesus and his family. A tomb with a number of ossuaries (boxes for storing bones) were found in excavations in 1980. Six of the ossuaries were marked with the names Mary; Matthew; Jesua son of Joseph; Mary; Jofa (Joseph, Jesus’ brother); and Judah son of Jesua. This, Cameron and his cohorts claim is clear evidence that this was Jesus’ tomb. Not surprisingly, the press released are being issued in advance of a forthcoming documentary on the topic directed by Cameron.

This is not the first time that a claim has been made linking an ossuary to Jesus. Several years ago a stone box bearing the name of James, brother of Jesus was found. In this case it was soon proved to be a forgery However, the press excitement at the time was just as great.

This is a potent reminder of the great popular interest in biblical archaeology (particularly in the States). There are still many people who look to archaeology to prove or disprove what is found in the bible.

In this case however most people’s critical faculties do seem to have remained intact (including in the media). Many people have pointed out how incredibly common the names found on the boxes were in 1st century AD Jerusalem.

Published by David Petts

Assc. Prof Archaeology, Durham University - landscapes - old music/books - folk traditions - early med Britain - community heritage - post-medieval - views own @davidpetts1

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  1. I wonder what the folks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre think of this! It all brings up scenes of Life of Brian for me – and why is it that every Biblical \’Archaeologist\’ claims to be the \’real Indiana Jones?\’ When I heard that touted on the news, I expected Wendyl Jones (a man with a mission on the Dead Sea Scrolls) to show up, but it was someone new. For real academic archaeology of Biblical times, see someone like Jodi Magness and stay away from Hollywood!


  2. I think this is great! After seeing the Da Vinci Code the other day, for the first time, this appeared just in time before i filed the film into \’crappy misc\’ in my mind – but now i\’ve opened a new file for these sorts – the \’holy crappy misc\’. Gawd bless the titanic dude, he loves waking the pretty dead. Perhaps we will be lucky enough for Tony Robinson to do another special documentary – like the search for the grail (or something) and also like the doc he produced for Titanic, in which he mistook an archaeologist for a scrubber..


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