North of the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem is the site of the Garden Tomb and Gordon’s Calvary.
View of the “skull” – looking northeast. In the center of the image the “skull” is visible. Note the modern Arab bus station in the lower right portion of the image.
“Gordon’s Calvary” Just right of center note the apparent “eye sockets” and the bridge of a nose. Unfortunately the “bridge of the nose” collapsed a few years ago.
In 1842, Otto Thenius proposed that this was Calvary (Golgotha) – the place of the skull – the site of the crucifixion of Jesus. This proposal was given prominence by the British general Charles Gordon in 1883 in combination with the nearby tomb that had been discovered in 1867. For a more general view of the area, click here.
Luke 23:32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull [Golgotha/Calvary], there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Luke 23:35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him.
Since the Romans normally crucified people right along the roads, so passersby would be intimidated, the crucifixion was probably not on top of Golgotha, but along side a nearby road.
Gordon’s Calvary June 1967 — after the Six Days War.
It is well–known from literature that the Romans crucified rebels and criminals. In 1968, an ossuary (bone box; see below) was found, among others, in a tomb in north Jerusalem in which were the bones of a 28 year old man and those of a child.
This is a replica of a right heel bone of a 28 year old man who was crucified in Jerusalem prior to its in AD 70. This replica is presented in the Israel Museum.
A 4.3 inch nail penetrated the right heel bone of the man. A piece of wood was placed on each side of the heel prior to the pounding of the nail to affix the person to a cross.
The skeletal remains of the man with the nail in his heel bone were found in this ossuary that was discovered north of Jerusalem.
Clearly visible is the Hebrew writing of the name “Yehohanan son of Hagkol.” Note the two clear lines. Above and to the right of the name “Yehohanan,” in the first line, is another faint inscription (click on image to enlarge to view inscription).
A diagram in the Israel Museum.
The above picture represents a scholarly reconstruction of how Yehohanan son of Hagkal was crucified. Note how his arms are tied to the cross—no nails were found in his hands or wrists. In contrast, Jesus of Nazareth’s hands were nailed to the cross—Thomas wanted to see the “mark of the nails in his hands” (John 20:25).
Revision — In a PBS program on Jesus, (aired 4 April 2017) the heel bone with nail were taken out of a small storage box located in a huge warehouse. Thus, it does not appear that the original comment (deleted) regarding its “location” was correct.
For a convenient description of this find see pp 318–22 in Clyde E. Fant and Mitchell G. Reddish, Lost Treasures of the Bible — Understanding the Bible Through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.
Probably the most sacred place in the whole of Christendom is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (aka Church of the Resurrection) in the Old City of Jerusalem. Since the first half of the fourth century a church has encased both the places of crucifixion and burial of Jesus.
Greek Chapel at Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
View looking east at the focal point of the Greek Chapel at Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
In the center of the image is the altar beneath which is located the traditional spot where Jesus was crucified. Behind it is a silver iconostasis. On both sides of the altar portions of the bedrock are visible behind the glass.
View looking northeast at the general area of Calvary.
From right to left note the “Latin” Calvary with the Medici Altar that commemorates Jesus being nailed to the cross (= Station XI of the Via Dolorosa). Just left of center is a small shrine that commemorates that this is the spot where Jesus was removed from the cross (= Station XIII of the Via Dolorosa). On the far left is the Greek Chapel (see above) where Jesus was crucified (=Station XII of the Via Dolorosa).
To view 15 images of this place Click Here.
Coming soon: Tomb of Jesus; Gordon’s Calvary; Garden Tomb.