One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem is home to many historic landmarks that make up our human story. Jerusalem is a bustling modern marketplace, a big tourist and pilgrimage destination in the Middle East, and a city that has been rebuilt many times. It is a perfect example of the past and present interwoven in time.
Many archaeological sites around the world are threatened by neglect, climate change, looting, or political unrest. Scientists are scrambling to preserve them before they are lost forever. One such site is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Centuries of wear and tear from millions of visitors and water erosion of the building’s foundation were beginning to threaten the Edicule, a space inside the church, said to contain the tomb in which Jesus was laid to rest after his crucifixion. A team of restorers from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) were tasked with investigating, protecting, and refurbishing the ancient structure.
Scientists used ground-penetrating radar, robotic cameras, and other tools to carefully investigate the structure and add vital infrastructure repairs necessary to stabilize the building and make it safe for visitors and pilgrims. Additionally, the team used specialized lasers to scan the Edicule and document the details down to the millimeter so the building could be studied in more detail. The NTUA team used 30–40 laser scans and approximately 17,000 high-resolution photographs to create a digital model of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
You can experience the results of their work as part of Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience.
National Geographic’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre experience immerses students and families in the quest to investigate, document, and preserve the observed Tomb of Christ. Use these resources to locate related activities, case studies, and articles to prepare your students for their visit or to extend the lesson afterward.