JERUSALEM (CBS News) – As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, researchers are shedding new light on a mystery in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Biblical scholars wanted to know who created tiny crosses etched in stone. The thousands of crosses cover a chapel in the church where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead.
Amit Re’em is an archaeologist with Israel’s Antiquities Authority. To answer the centuries-old question, Re’em and his team used new digital techniques. A team member said they applied various filters to images to try to pull out as much information as possible about the object itself.
After years of comparing and contrasting the crosses, experts dated the markings back to the 15th century. Their research revealed it wasn’t graffiti after all, but the work of medieval masons. “You pay something to this special artist and he carved for you, for the benefit of your soul, and your relatives’ souls. He carved for you a special cross.” The carvings left a lasting mark using Christianity’s most sacred symbol.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been closed to tourists during much of the pandemic, giving researchers the time and space they needed to complete their work