Restoration work on the shrine built around the likely spot of Christ’s tomb has been completed. (See this and this and this.) But researchers have found that the shrine and the surrounding complex have been built on unstable ground. Without more work, there could someday be a “catastrophic” collapse.
The “edicule,” the small building around the tomb that has been restored, preserves the remnants of a cave. It was once part of a quarry that had been turned into grave sites for wealthy Jews. (Note the confirmation of what the Bible says about Joseph of Arimathea, who offered the grave that he owned for the body of Jesus.) A number of those other grave sites have also been discovered on the property. The quarry is also thought to have been the site of “the Place of the Skull,” the Golgotha where criminals were executed. This is why the Church of the Holy Sepulchre complex also includes the reported site of the crucifixion.
The site over the ancient quarry is honeycombed with other caves and tunnels from the mining. The current structure is also built on top of tons of rubble, not only from the quarry but from layers of building and rebuilding over the centuries. Plus, the graves were dug into a slope. Drainage problems and damage from so many visitors are compounding the problem.
Researchers are proposing a six million euro project to shore up the buildings and to stabilize the foundations. The construction work would be accompanied with more archaeological excavation.