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The cave in which Jesus Christ was buried has been found in Jerusalem, claim the makers of a new documentary film.
If it proves true, the discovery, which will be revealed at a press conference in New York Monday, could shake up the Christian world as one of the most significant archeological finds in history.
The coffins which, according to the filmmakers held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene will be displayed for the first timeon Monday in New York.
Jointly produced by Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and Oscar winning director James Cameron, the film tells the exciting and tortuous story of the archeological discovery.
The story starts in 1980 in Jerusalem’s Talpiyot neighborhood, with the discovery of a 2,000 year old cave containing ten coffins. Six of the ten coffins were carved with inscriptions reading the names: Jesua son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Matthew, Jofa (Joseph, identified as Jesus’ brother), Judah son of Jesua (Jesus’ son - the filmmakers claim).
Decades of research
The findings in the cave, including the decipherment of the inscriptions, were first revealed about ten years ago by internationally renowned Israeli archeologist Professor Amos Kloner.
Since their discovery, the caskets were kept in the Israeli Antiquities Authority archive in Beit Shemesh, but now two have been sent to New York for their first public exhibition.
Although the cave was discovered nearly 30 years ago and the casket inscriptions decoded ten years ago, the filmmakers are the first to establish that the cave was in fact the burial site of Jesus and his family.
The film, which documents the stages of the discovery, is the result of three years labor and research. It will be broadcast on the international Discovery Channel, Britain's Channel 4, Canada’s Vision and Israel’s Channel 8, which also took part in the film's production.
According to the filmmakers, the film’s claim is based on close work with world-famous scientists, archeologists, statisticians, DNA specialists and antiquities experts.
The internationally renowned archeologist, who revealed the findings of the dig 10 years ago, criticized the filmmakers' marketing strategy and warned against being over enthusiastic about the alleged discovery.
“The claim that the burial site has been found is not based on any proof, and is only an attempt to sell,” Kloner said.
“I refute all their claims and efforts to waken a renewed interest in the findings. With all due respect, they are not archeologists,” Kloner said, referring to the filmmakers.
“As of this moment, no one other that the production crew and experts has seen the film in its entirety, not even Professor Amos Kloner. The film will present different and interesting findings, and claims can be made after it is aired,” Abet said.