When reading different translations of the Bible, I ran across three different terms making reference to the place Jesus Christ was crucified: Calvary, Golgotha and The Place of a Skull. According to Wikipedia, Golgotha is the Greek transcription in the New Testament of an Aramaic term that has traditionally been presumed to be Gûlgaltâ. The Bible translates the term to mean place of the skull, which in Greek is Κρανίου Τόπος (Kraníou Tópos), and in Latin is Calvariæ Locus, from which the English word Calvary is derived. All terms have been used interchangeably. My question was whether the accurate location of this site was known today.
All four Gospels make a reference to this being the place where Jesus was crucified:
“And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull)…they crucified him…” Matthew 27:33, 35a
“And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull)…and they crucified him…” Mark 15:22
“And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified him…” Luke 23:33
“Bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him…” John 19:17-18a.
There are questions as to where exactly the place of the skull is located. The New Testament describes the site of Jesus’ crucifixion as being “near the city” (John 19:20), and “outside the city wall” (Heb. 13:12) of Jerusalem. John also recorded that there was a garden near the crucifixion site (19:41). There seem to be some questions about the relevancy of the details now since Herod Agrippa extended the walls of the city north between the year 41 and 44.
According to Biblestudy.org, In early writings, references to Golgotha state it is a hill looking like a skull very near a gate into the city of Jerusalem. References to Calvary, since 333 A.D., call it a small hill. Since the 6th century A.D., it has referred to the location of a mountain. The place of the skull, however, is not the traditional location of where Jesus died. The traditional location of where Jesus hung on the cross and died was established by the Catholic Church.
The place believed to be The Place of a Skull today is located north of Jerusalem’s old city walls and it resembles a human skull because of the sunken eyes and nose. Biblestudy.org mentions that this escarpment, roughly 100 yards (91.4 meters) east of the Garden Tomb, is believed to be the Golgotha of the bible where the crucifixion of Jesus and two criminals occurred. The mighty Roman Empire conducted the executions.
The description of this hill given by the Gospels and the book of Hebrews brings me to the conclusion that what we believe today to be The Place of a Skull is the place the Gospel writers were referring to. It is said that the location is uncertain but many scholars believe this is the mount that fits the descriptions the best. Even though the walls of the city were extended, it seems to me that they were not extended beyond the hill. What we believe to be The Place of the Skull today looks like a skull, is located near and outside the city wall of Jerusalem, and there is a garden close by.
Since this topic can be quite extensive, I have placed a link to a short video titled “Jesus’ crucifixion site? (A ‘Skull,Garden & Tomb)” for your viewing pleasure.