Golgotha and the Garden Tomb are located near the Damascus Gate, in Northern, Jerusalem, and are both on the Northern extremities of Mount Moriah, where Abraham took his son Isaac to be sacrificed.
In 1883 General Gordon recognised this outcrop of rock, with a skull face etched into it, as Golgotha, the Biblical Place of the Skull.
There is an ancient stone quarry nearby, and the stones from this quarry were originally used to construct Solomon’s Temple. This quarry had historically been the place of capital punishment by the Jews for centuries before the Romans conquered Jerusalem. The Jews used stoning as their method of execution, and it was probably at this location that Stephen was stoned.
The quarry is also very close to the Damascus Gate in Northern Jerusalem. For centuries a wide busy main road ran past the Damascus Gate, and also past Golgotha.
The Romans had perfected Crucifixion as their form of execution. See our Presentation on Crucifixion on this web site. The Romans always chose a very public place for this horrific form of execution, for purposes of maximum deterrence. They therefore continued capital punishment close to Golgotha, at the Calvary Escarpment, the rocky cliff running between Golgotha and the Garden Tomb, believed by many to be the place where Jesus was buried.
The Bible describes a new tomb hewn out of rock, with a garden nearby. In order for there to be a garden by the tomb, there would have to be a large supply of water, which is in such short supply in Israel. Within a few feet of the Garden Tomb is one of the largest water cisterns ever discovered in Jerusalem.
The Garden Tomb is a very large tomb, with a massive rolling stone to cover the entrance (this stone was moved soon after the Crucifixion). It was no ordinary tomb.
The bodies of crucified criminals were normally thrown into the Valley of Hinnom, which is a Biblical picture of Hell. However, we believe that Jesus’ body was buried in the Garden Tomb. It was the tomb of a rich man who donated it to Jesus (Matthew 27:57-60).
The place where the body lay is known as a ‘loculus’. In the Garden Tomb the loculus had been hurriedly extended, suggesting that the Person that lay in it was not Joseph of Arimathea, who owned the tomb, but Someone considerably taller.
In the Garden Tomb the loculus had been hurriedly extended
According to Dr Robert Bucklin’s forensic analysis of the Shroud of Turin Jesus was 5ft 11 inches tall. For details of Dr Robert Bucklin’s findings, see our Presentation on the Resurrection on this web site.