ABC has a piece that shows the level of scholarly skepticism over the claims that the tomb found in 1980 was actually the tomb of Jesus Christ and his family. On a more religious note, The Anchoress also finds the story less than plausible.
One needn’t reach to religious reasons to doubt this story. The names on the ossuaries were all very common names in 1st Century Palestine. For instance, one out of every four women in that time were named “Maryam” (the Semitic version of “Mary”), so to find a tomb with that name is not surprising. Likewise, “Yeshua” was a common name at the time — even “Yeshua bar Yosef” (Jesus, son of Joseph) wouldn’t have been a particularly noteworthy name.
The problem with this being the gravesite of Jesus of Nazareth is that one would think that a man who had already attracted a number of followers would at least have been buried in an ossuary with more than a crudely scratched inscription — or any inscription at all.
Historically, none of this seems to make much sense, even if one doesn’t take the Biblical accounts at face value. While statisticians will say that the chances of all these names being in the same spot is rare, it is not impossible. The people selling this story seem to be making considerable referential leaps — for instance, there’s no evidence that Joseph was buried in the tomb. It would be odd that the patriarch wouldn’t be buried in the family crypt. Furthermore, the family tree that is presented isn’t supported by any evidence from the tomb itself. All we know is that the Jesus/Joshua buried there isn’t related to the Mariamne buried there. We have no idea if the Maria in the crypt is the mother of Jesus/Joshua, or any of the other relationships between the individuals there.
This is certainly an authentic First Century A.D. burial, of that there can be little doubt. However, no matter what the statistics say, the chances of this being the burial site of Jesus Christ seems to be an inferential leap that is wholly unwarranted by the evidence. However, I’ll certainly watch the special and see if they have anything else that can justify such a powerful claim.