The Bible records that the Romans set a guard over the Garden Tomb, “On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard”, Matthew 27:62-66
Almost certainly the Roman soldiers sealed the Great Stone with a chain or rope, probably using a Roman insignia as well. The Garden Tomb was designed so that the Great Stone moved from left to right, across the entrance of the Tomb. There was a limestone buttress to prevent the stone moving any further to the right. The Great Stone was so large that it almost certainly required several men to move it.
Ron found to his amazement that one of the two metal stakes used by the Romans to seal the tomb was still there. It may be touched by anyone, as we have ourselves done on many occasions.
The stake is still present, about 6 feet to the left of the entrance to the Tomb. It is actually a metal stake, covered in lead. This is entirely consistent with the type of stakes used by the Romans during this period. Unfortunately the stake originally to the right of the Great Stone is no longer present, since part of the original Garden Tomb has crumbled away, and has been replaced with more modern limestone bricks.
A photo of Jonathon Gray, an archaeologist from Australia, actually touching the metal stake.
According to Bill Fry’s article in 2003 the Garden Tomb Association and the Israeli Antiquities Authorities, under the supervision of Yeheil Zelinger, conducted an analysis of the stake. The results showed that the stake is not of modern origin.
Ron measured the distance between the stake and the buttress, and found the distance to be 13 feet 2 inches. This was exactly the diameter of the great stone Ron had discovered at the base of the Calvary Escarpment, at the Crucifixion site.
Ron then knew beyond any doubt that the Great Stone which he had discovered during his excavation was in fact the identical Great Stone of Mark 16:3-4.