Richard Nowitz

The inner chamber of the Garden Tomb. Originally, the chamber had burial benches with rims and horseshoe-shaped headrests (see drawing). In the Byzantine period, however, these burial benches were carved out to form troughs, or sarcophagi. The two side benches were completely carved out, leaving a sarcophagus only 57 inches long between them on the far wall—sometimes explained as a burial place for a child.

The chambers have flat ceilings, unlike Byzantine period tomb chambers, which all have vaulted ceilings. Although the Garden Tomb shows clear signs of reuse during the Byzantine period, its flat ceiling is one convincing piece of evidence that it was originally hewn in a much earlier period, the Iron Age.