The traditionally identified location is in the heart of Hadrian's city, well within Jerusalem's Old City Walls; there has therefore been some questioning of the legitimacy of the traditional identification on these grounds.Some defenders of this tradition have responded by citing Jewish history of the wall, that the city had been much narrower in Jesus' time, with the site then having been outside the walls; since Herod Agrippa (41–44) is recorded by history as extending the city to the north (beyond the present northern walls), the required repositioning of the western wall is traditionally attributed to him as well.
A few yards nearby, Helena also identified the location of the tomb of Jesus and claimed to have discovered the True Cross; her son, Constantine, then built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre around the whole site.
In 333, the Pilgrim of Bordeaux, entering from the east described the result: On the left hand is the little hill of Golgotha where the Lord was crucified.
The plans published in the book indicate the location of the Golgotha within a precision of less than two meters, below the circular passage situated a metre away from where the blood stained shirt of Christ was traditionally recovered and immediately before the stairs leading down to "St.
Helena's Chapel" (the above-mentioned mother of Emperor Constantine), alternatively called "St. Prior to Helena's identification, the site had been a temple to Aphrodite.
In 2003, Henry Chadwick argued that when Hadrian's builders replanned the old city, they "incidentally confirm[ed] the bringing of Golgotha inside a new town wall." Some Protestant advocates of an alternative site claim that a wall would imply the existence of a defensive ditch outside it, so an earlier wall couldn't be immediately adjacent to the Golgotha site which, combined with the presence of the Temple Mount, would make the city inside the wall quite thin.
Essentially, for the traditional site to have been outside the wall, the city would have had to be limited to the lower parts of the Tyropoeon Valley, rather than including the defensively advantageous western hill.
During a 1986 repair to the floor of the Calvary Chapel by the art historian George Lavas and architect Theo Mitropoulos, a round slot of 11.5 cm (4.5 in) diameter was discovered in the rock, partly open on one side (Lavas attributes the open side to accidental damage during his repairs); although the dating of the slot is uncertain, and could date to Hadrian's temple of Aphrodite, Lavas suggested that it could have been the site of the crucifixion, as it would be strong enough to hold in place a wooden trunk of up to 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) in height (among other things).
Based on the late 20th century excavations of the site, there have been a number of attempted reconstructions of the profile of the cliff face.
There is certainly evidence that circa 160 CE, at least as early as 30 years after Hadrian's temple had been built, Christians associated it with the site of Golgotha; Melito of Sardis, an influential mid-2nd century bishop in the region, described the location as "in the middle of the street, in the middle of the city", which matches the position of Hadrian's temple within the mid-2nd century city.