The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) was founded in 1837 and is the leading academic institution in Greece. A historic agreement was reached between the three Christian communities the historic Guardians of the Holy Sepulchre, a rehabilitation project of the Holy Aedicule of the Holy Sepulchre was implemented, including the subsurface mapping of the environment in its vicinity. The scientific supervision was headed by the NTUA. Guideline Geo’s distributor Terra-Marine has performed the mapping and geophysical analysis.
Thousands of people are visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem every year. This is the place where Christ shall have been buried and resurrected from the dead.
This historical venue needed to be thoroughly investigated to reveal what is hidden under the floor and behind the walls. Partly from a historical perspective – to map potential underground canals and voids, features and man-made structures from different historical periods, and partly from a preservation perspective – to identify humidity sources. A penetration depth of 2 meters, with high-resolution data output, was needed.
The GPR and resistivity meter were used to map the subsurface and walls of the Holy Sepulchre. With the penetration depth and resolution in focus, the flexible GPR MALÅ GX (GroundExplorer) with 160/450/750 MHz antennas together with the resistivity meter ABEM Terrameter LS (with an electrode spacing of 0.8 meters) were selected for this project of high historical value.
Imaging and data processing software was used to create the 2D/3D subsurface images and the post-process analysis.
The subsurface mapping generated many archaeologically interesting discoveries related to man-made infrastructures – drainage canals, voids/cavities as well as remains of previous building phases of the Church. The supposed Tomb of Christ that has been covered in marble cladding for centuries, was now unsealed in front of the captivated audience.
The mapped targets were analyzed by archaeologists, engineers, and geophysicists and correlated with historical events, evidence and other findings.
“Our performed survey is an important part of the preservation of this irreplaceable cultural treasure,” says Pavlos Sotiropoulos, Technical Director at Terra-Marine. “The high-resolution data from the ABEM and MALÅ equipment has provided the archaeologists with comprehensive research material to investigate the church and its subsurface in detail”.
READ THE FULL STORY: “GPR plays an import role in the unsealing of the Tomb of Christ” (PDF)
For more in-depth information, have a look at National Geographic’s documentation of this project:
Article by Kristin Romey: Unsealing of Christ’s Reputed Tomb Turns Up New Revelations
Exhibition: TOMB OF CHRIST in Washington D.C
National Technical University of Athens, Terra-Marine, His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III and the three Christian Communities for sharing the technical information, data and images related to the Holy Sepulchre project.
Kristin Romey, National Geographic – for inspiring reading (Article in National Geographic, see under “Solution”)
Gali Tibbon – Photographer (www.galitibbon.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)