Archaeology as it Happens: Looking for Joseph of Arimathea’s Estate in Jerusalem

As followers of my work know, Prof Tabor and I contend that Jesus’ tomb has
been found in east Talpiot a suburb in Jerusalem. We also contend that the tomb is not part of a cemetery but part of a cluster of three tombs that were on the estate of Joseph of Arimathea the man who, accordingto the gospels, buried Jesus on his private estate. The east Talpiot area does, indeed, look like a rich man’s estate from the 1st century. To get a better idea of the archaeology of the estate, and to map the area – archaeology speaking – we recently did tomography, a kind of geological CAT scan, to see if we could find a cistern (An underground void for holding water) on the estate.

Finding a cistern would not prove that this is Joseph of Arimathea’s estate, and we know from archaeological reports that a cistern was seen there in the 1980’s. But we don’t know where it was and we don’t know what the whole estate looked like. We created a hypothesis of what we think the estate looked like and where we think the cistern is. If we’re right, that would go a long way to demonstrate that we have a pretty good sense of the archaeology of the area and the topography of the estate.

The official tomography report is not ready yet, but here is what happened as it happened…

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