Holy Land archaeology and authenticity

I do not believe that the garden tomb venerated by protestants can be the real Tomb of Christ, as from what I understand from a documentary it did not date back long enough and was not within what were the walls of Jerusalem at the time.

But how do we know that the Holy Sepulchre today, which we and the Orthodox venerate, is the actual spot? I am aware that the Christians of the earliest centuries held the tradition that it took place at that area under the pagan tomb, and I do believe that. But how did they come to conclude that the Resurrection happened at that tomb? I would imagine there would have been numerous tombs in the area. How do we know that the specific Tomb we venerate today was Christ’s Tomb?

I also don’t understand why Joseph of Aramathea’s Tomb, which was supposed to be a rich man’s tomb, would be at an execution spot. It seems a little illogical.

How do we know the anointing stone is also the real thing? A documentary I watched said that it isn’t nearly old enough to be it, dating back only a couple hundred years, although this documentary says it’s perfectly plausible that the Holy Sepulchre was the real spot of the Resurrection and says that the garden tomb isn’t it. This documentary wasn’t out to discredit the Church’s longstanding tradition.

Also how did they come to the conclusion that the Cenacle and the spots of the Nativity and the Annunciation were the real things?

Can anyone recommend any books, sites or documentaries that address these questions?

We have very good archaeological reason to believe that Peter was buried at the spot we believe he was, thanks to the graffiti on the walls and the remains of expensive cloths that bound the bones within. Physically, because of the age of the man whose bones are there, and that it is missing its feet bones, it’s fair to believe that it is really Peter. I’m sure it’s the same thing with with Paul’s Tomb and relics. Christ’s areas are so much more important, and it’s not possible that we venerate arbitrary spots. So how did they conclude that these spots were what they believed them to be?

I think this question would be best answered by an actual archaeologist.

I’ll give you the link to his email address.

His name is Fr. William Fulco,SJ,PhD and he is an archaeologist, classicist, linguist, and Jesuit priest.

Here’s the link. bellarmine.lmu.edu/classics/faculty/williamfulco/

We should remember that out faith does not depend on the location of the exact spots in the Holy Land where events happened. We know the important things: what happened, the exact spots are not important.

People have continuously lived in Jerusalem, save maybe temporary evacuations during wars and slaughters.

When Saint Helen and Emperor Constantine arrived in the Holy Land, they simply asked the locals where the holy sites were, and then built churches on those spots. The churches (or at least replacement churches built on the same site) are documented to have existed continuously since the 4th Century.

No one is required to believe however these are the authentic spots, as these are not part of the deposit of faith; but there is generally no strong arguments against there authenticity either.

The best book I have found on this subject is Paths of the Messiah by Bargil Pixner It is fairly recent. There are also some on line articles one I liked from Biblical Archaeology Review.
Grace and peace,

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.