Ancient burial box deemed authentic
JERUSALEM — Israeli scholars have confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old burial box that appears to bear the name of a relative of the high priest Caiaphas mentioned in the New Testament, the Israel Antiquities Authority said yesterday.
The find offers support for the existence of the biblical Caiaphas, who appears in the New Testament as a temple priest and an adversary of Jesus who played a key role in his crucifixion.
The ossuary — a stone chest used to store bones — is decorated with the stylized shapes of flowers and bears an inscription with the name “Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.’’
The ossuary was seized from tomb robbers three years ago, the government antiquities body said. Because it “was not found in a controlled archaeological excavation and because of its special scientific importance,’’ the statement said, it has been undergoing lab tests since then.
The tests were carried out by two scholars from Tel Aviv University and Bar Ilan University.