On Jerusalem tombs from Jesus’ time, see Zvi Greenhut, “Burial Cave of the Caiaphas Family,” BAR 18:05; and Leen Ritmeyer and Kathleen Ritmeyer, “Akeldama: Potter’s Field or High Priest’s Tomb?” and Gideon Avni and Zvi Greenhut, “Akeldama: Resting Place of the Rich and Famous,” in BAR 20:06.


The Mishnah is a collection of rabbinic oral teachings written down in about 200 C.E.


On the location of Jesus’ tomb, see Dan Bahat, “Does the Holy Sepulchre Church Mark the Burial of Jesus?” BAR 12:03; and Gabriel Barkay, “The Garden Tomb—Was Jesus Buried Here?” BAR 12:02.



Mishnah, Oholot 2.4.


Conrad Schick, “Recent Discoveries at the Nicophorieh,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement (PEFQS) 25 (1892), pp. 115–120; F.M. Séjourne, “Chronique biblique 4, ” Revue biblique 1 (1892), pp. 267–272; R.A.S. Macalister, “The Nicophorieh Tomb,” PEFQS 33 (1900), pp. 397–402; Louis-Hugues Vincent and A.M. Steve, Jérusalem de l’Ancien Testament (Paris: Gabalda, 1954), vol. 1, pp. 342–346.


Maximilian Cohen (=Kon), The Tombs of the Kings (Tel Aviv, 1947) (in Hebrew); Vincent and Steve, Jérusalem de l’Ancien Testament, pp. 346–362.


Amos Kloner, “A Burial Monument of the Second Temple Period West of the Old City of Jerusalem,” Eretz Israel 18 (1985), pp. 58–64.


Eliezer L. Sukenik, “Verschlusstein mit Inschrift aus einer Grabhöle bei Jerusalem,” Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 55 (1932), pp. 124–128; for the plan and section of the upper room, see Nahman Avigad, “The Necropolis,” in Sepher Yerushalayim, ed. Michael Avi-Yonah (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1956), p. 326 (in Hebrew).


Macalister, “The Rock-cut Tombs in Wady er-Rababi, Jerusalem,” PEFQS 34 (1904), item no. 38; Avigad, “Necropolis,” p. 346. Round blocking stones from the Second Temple period have also been found outside Jerusalem—at Horvat Midras (Kloner, “Horvat Midras (Kh. Durusiya)”, Israel Exploration Journal 27:4 [1977], pp. 251–253; and “Horvat Midras,” Qadmoniot 11:4 [44] [1978], pp. 115–119) and at Giv’at Seled, nearby (Kloner, “A Burial Cave from the Early Roman Period at Giv’at Seled in the Judean Shephela,” ‘Atiqot 20 [1991], pp. 159–163), in the Judean Shephelah. In southern Samaria, similar round closing stones were found in Deir ed-Darb, where the rolling stone moved between two walls of rock, and in Khirbet Kurkush (R.M.R. Savignac, “Chronique (Kh. Kurkush et Deir ed-Darb),” Revue biblique 19 [1910], pp. 123–124), where stones were of the simpler, smaller type used in the Byzantine period. The burial caves at these latter two sites are from the first to second century C.E., and represent the transition between early Roman and late Roman round blocking stones. Two additional caves with round blocking stones from the same period were discovered and excavated in Heshbon, Transjordan. In one cave in which the stone was found in situ, it moved between the natural rock wall inside and a constructed outer wall (D.S. Waterhouse, “Areas E and F,” in R.S. Boraas and Siegfried H. Horn, Heshbon [Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews Univ. Press, 1971], pp. 115–117; Horn, “The 1971 Season of Excavations at Tell Hesban,” Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan [ADAJ] 17 [1972], pp. 21–22, 111, pl. 4). A second cave was sealed with a round stone that moved between two rock walls (Lawrence T. Geraty, “The 1974 Season of Excavations at Tell Hesban,” ADAJ 20 [1975], p. 53, pl. 20, 1; and Geraty, “Chronique archéologique: Hesban (Heshbon),” Revue biblique 82 [1975], pp. 583–584, pl. 43b). For the Heshbon tombs nos. F1 and G10, which were probably used by the Jews residing there at the time, see also L.A. Mitchel, Hellenistic and Roman Strata, Hesban 7 (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews Univ. Press, 1992), pp. 61–63.


Both the earlier and the later examples of round stones served as models for Jesus’ tomb. For example, Felix-Marie Abel, the famous Dominican father who was an expert of Biblical geography, reconstructed Jesus’ tomb with a round blocking stone based on two tombs he found at Abu Ghosh, outside Jerusalem. He thought the tombs dated to the Second Temple period, but it has since been shown that they are Byzantine.


Cohen, Tombs of the Kings; Vincent and Steve, Jérusalem de l’Ancien Testament, pp. 346–362.


Macalister, “Rock-cut Tombs.” See also the recently found burial system in the ‘Ezrat Torah neighborhood of Jerusalem (Zvi Greenhut, “Ezrat Torah Quarter: Jerusalem,” Excavations and Surveys in Israel 10:1 [1992], pp. 26–27).


For recently published arcosolia, see Gideon Avni and Greenhut, The Akeldama Tombs, Israel Antiquities Authority Reports (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 1996), pp. 1–39; and Kloner, “A Tomb with Inscribed Ossuaries in East Talpyot, Jerusalem,” ‘Atiqot 29 (1996), pp. 15–16.


Semahot 13.5, in Dov Zlotnik, The Tractate “Mourning”, Yale Judaica Series 18 (New York and London, 1966), p. 84.


Semahot 10.8, in Zlotnik, Tractate “Mourning”, p. 74.


Zlotnik, Tractate “Mourning”, pp. 11, 57; M. Higger, Tractate Semahot (New York, 1931), p. 148 (in Hebrew). In the modern translation of Tractate Semahot 8.1, the 30th day is named as the day to visit the tomb, but this reading is found in only one manuscript. The other manuscripts read “three days” (for manuscripts and printed editions of the tractate Mourning, see Zlotnick, Tractate “Mourning”, pp. 27–28). This reading is confirmed by various Tannaitic sources; see J.N. Epstein, Introduction to the Text of the Mishnah (Jerusalem, 1948), pp. 469–471 (in Hebrew); Shmuel Safrai, “Home and Family,” in The Jewish People in the First Century, vol. 2, ed. Safrai and M. Stern (Assen/Amsterdam, 1976), pp. 784–785.


Semahot 8.1, in Safrai, “Home and Family,” pp. 784–785.


Martin Biddle, “The Tomb of Christ: Sources, Methods and a New Approach,” in Churches Built in Ancient Times, ed. Kenneth Painter, Society of Antiquaries of London, Occasional Papers 16 (London: Society of Antiquaries of London, 1994), pp. 111, 118–119.


Shimon Gibson and Joan E. Taylor, Beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1994), pp. 61–63; Biddle, “Tomb of Christ,” pp. 114–116.


Charles Clermont-Ganneau, “The So-Called Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea,” in The Survey of Western Palestine: Jerusalem, ed. Charles Warren and Claude R. Conder (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1884), pp. 319–333.