Saturday, 23 April 2011

Amateur Archaeologist Says He Has Found the Nails Used in Jesus’ Cross

Giotto di Bondone: Jesus Before Caiphas. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Simcha Jacobovici is an Israeli Canadian journalist, TV producer and amateur archaeologist, who is not averse to facing challenges – or being in the news. Four years ago, for instance, he promoted the controversial “discovery” of the Lost Tomb of Jesus with James Cameron.

This time he says he has found the nails that were used in Jesus’ crucifixion.

In 1990 Israeli archaeologists found two ossuaries or bone boxes in Jerusalem that had the inscriptions Caiphas and Joseph son of Caiphas. Skeptics had previously claimed that a high priest named Caiphas had never existed but time and again archaeological discoveries have shown that the skeptics were wrong.

According to the Gospels, Caiphas was the high priest when Jesus was crucified.

The nails were also discovered in Caiphas’ tomb. Jacobovici says that one of them was inside the ossuary and the other was beside it. Archaeologists do not necessarily share this view, however.

Jacobovici says that finding nails in a tomb is very exceptional. He thinks that the nails are as significant as if one were to find boxing gloves in Muhammed Ali’s tomb.

Associating the nails with Jesus’ cross seems a bit far-fetched. We should not forget that Caiphas was not crucified but our sins took Jesus to the cross.

Israeli archaeologists are more skeptical of the nails than Jacobovici. Although nails were used in crucifixions, they were also used for many other purposes.

Jesus’ empty tomb speaks of the atonement. The nails may be an interesting detail, but archaeologists would need more evidence before they are willing to accept Jacobovici’s claim.


Chabin, Michele. 2011. Archaeologist thinks he might have found nails from Jesus’s cross. The Washington Post (15 April).