In accordance with archaeological research, during the 1st-century, tombs in Jerusalem were closed either by a large circular stone, like most artistic representations, or a large square “plug.”

However, Scholar Megan Sauter described that “of the more than 900 Second Temple-period burial caves within Jerusalem which was examined by archaeologist Amos Kloner, only four have been discovered with a disk-shaped blocking stones.”

Several archaeologists believe that the tomb of Jesus was of the “square” variety, on account of the rarity of such circular stones. Yet, the Gospel accounts explained the stone being “rolled” in front of the tomb. But how can a square stone be “rolled”?

Urban C. von Wahlde described that the Synoptic Gospels which are Matthew, Mark and Luke, use a form of the Greek verb kulio to explain how the stone sealing the tomb of Jesus tomb was moved. Kulio, actually means ‘to roll”.

Though, the Gospel of St. John does not use the same Greek word and describes the stone as being “removed.” This appears to affirm the theory that says that the stone was a square “plug,” rather than a large circular disk.

Anyways, regardless of which type of stone sealed the tomb of Jesus, the real thing was that the stone was difficult to move and this explains why Mary Magdalene was worried about how they could possibly move it to get inside the tomb.

Surprisingly to her, when she approached the tomb the stone was no longer obstructing the way and was moved away by the angels, and the empty tomb was revealed.

And here is the Gospel account of the incident according to Matthew, “And then, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards were filled with fear of him and they became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women, Do not be afraid! For I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” (Matthew 28:2-6)

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