Arculf

Adamnanus, De locis sanctis, c. 680 AD

An early eyewitness to the situation following the Arab arrival in Jerusalem, the Frankish bishop Arculf has left us, by the hand of the Irish monk Adamnan to whom he provided a detailed narrative of his pilgrimage, a rich description of the Holy Sepulchre and other places he visited in the Holy City during his stay.

Description of the Lord’s Tomb

“In the middle of the interior of this round house is a round cabin (tugurium) cut out in one and the same rock, in which thrice three men can pray standing; and from the head of a man of ordinary stature as he stands, up to the arch of that small house, a foot and a half is measured upwards. The entrance of this little cabin looks to the east, and the whole outside is covered with choice marble, while its highest point is adorned with gold, and supports a golden cross of no small size. In the northern part of this cabin is the Sepulchre of the Lord, cut out in the same rock in the inside, but the pavement of the cabin is lower than the place of the Sepulchre; for from its pavement up to the edge of the side of the Sepulchre a measure of about three palms is reckoned. So Arculf, who used often to visit the Sepulchre of the Lord and measured it most accurately, told me.”


De locis sanctis, Book I, Chapter II.

About the stone that sealed the Tomb

“As to the colors of that rock ... Arculf when questioned by me, said: ‘That Cabin of the Lord's Tomb is in no way ornamented on the inside, and shows even to this day over all its surface the traces of the tools, which the hewers or excavators used in their work: the color of that rock both of the Tomb and of the Sepulchre is not one, but two colors seem to have been intermingled, namely red and white, whence also that rock appears two-colored.’ But as to these points let what has been said suffice.” 


De locis sanctis, Book I, chapter IV