Graffiti? Something else? Mystery of Holy Sepulchre crosses ...

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Graffiti? Something else? Mystery of Holy Sepulchre crosses solved

Etchings have baffled archaeologists, but research suggests they are more organised than previously thought

Rinat Harash

Crosses etched in mysterious abundance across the walls of Christianity’s most sacred church were long assumed to be graffiti, but they may be the work of medieval masons paid to carve them by pilgrims, research suggests.

Revered in Christian tradition as the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre usually bustles with worshippers and clergy. That has made study of the sacred markings difficult.

But renovations in 2018 at one of its chapels featuring thousands of the close-bunched and hand-engraved crosses gave Israel’s Antiquities Authority and Hadassah Academic College Jerusalem an opportunity for research...

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