From National Geographic:
Scientists have discovered that there is a “very real risk” that the holiest site in Christianity may collapse if nothing is done to shore up its unstable foundations.
A scientific team from the
National Technical University of Athens(NTUA), which has just completed the restoration of what is traditionally believed to be the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem, warns that additional work is needed to prevent the shrine and surrounding complex from experiencing significant structural failure.
“When it fails, the failure will not be a slow process, but catastrophic,” says Antonia Moropoulou, NTUA’s chief scientific supervisor. The Edicule (from the Latin aedicule, or “little house”), a small structure within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, encloses the remains of a cave that has been venerated since at least the fourth century A.D. as the tomb of Jesus Christ. Restoration of the Edicule reveals that much of the 19th-century shrine and its surrounding rotunda, which host millions of annual visitors, appear to be built largely on an unstable foundation of crumbled remnants of earlier structures and is honeycombed with extensive tunnels and channels.
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