In 2005 a marble tomb was discovered deep under the Papal Altar in the Basilica of St. Paul-Outside-The-Walls in Rome.
It bore the Latin inscription PAOLO APOSTOLO MART. The Apostle Paul, Martyr.
Further investigations were done in 2007. A small hole was drilled and endoscopes inserted to gather material. Bone fragments were carbon dated and the report was that they belonged to a man who lived between the 1st and 2nd Century.
Paul was beheaded somewhere between 62 – 67 AD.
Also found in the tomb were several red grains of incense, fragments of purple cloth with gold sequins and blue linen cloth.
If you would like to see some photos, go to www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/basilica/tomba.htm.
Due to copyright laws, I couldn’t put them in this post but they are quite interesting.
Sometimes people ask me what is so fascinating about historical monuments and archaeological sites. Did you ever read H.G. Wells book “The Time Machine”? The idea of being able to step back in time and observe a civilization is not a new one. Sine we can’t time travel, the next best thing is to get as close as we can to those people. I think that’s why archaeology fascinates me so.
To stand in Newgrange where people stood 5,000 years ago, waiting for the sunbeam to travel down the dark corridor and light up the carved stone at the back of the monument –
To stand on Tower Green where Anne Boleyn lost her head –
To stand before Golgotha in the place where Jesus was crucified –
To walk through the ruins of a Roman Army camp along Hadrian’s Wall in Carlisle, England –
For me it is an absolute thrill. I’m not sure if I can explain it any better than that!