Friday 14 December 2018

Bronze ring 'belonged to Pontius Pilate'

An ancient ring found in Bethlehem belonged to the man who crucified Jesus, scientists believe. (Stock image)
An ancient ring found in Bethlehem belonged to the man who crucified Jesus, scientists believe. (Stock image)

Shehab Khan

An ancient ring found in Bethlehem belonged to the man who crucified Jesus, scientists believe.

The bronze ring was discovered 50 years ago during a dig at Herodion near the West Bank's Bethlehem by Professor Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University.

It had an inscription on it that included a picture of a wine vessel surrounded by Greek writing, but it was unclear who it had belonged to. Five decades after its discovery, the identity of the owner appears to have been established: the Roman governor of Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate - the man who ordered that Jesus be crucified and then ran the subsequent trial.

The name was deciphered after a thorough cleansing, when it was photographed with the use of a special camera at the Israel Antiquities Authority labs, according to 'Haaretz'.

It is thought the item is a "stamping ring", which would have been used to symbolise the status of the cavalry in Roman times. As the governor, Pilate, who was also known as Pilatus, would have worn a ring of this nature.

Professor Danny Schwartz, from the Columbian College of Arts and Science, said the name Pilate was incredibly rare at the time.

"I don't know of any other Pilatus from the period and the ring shows he was a person of stature and wealth," Mr Schwartz said.

Dr Roee Porath, who leads the current team at Herodion, said it was a "significant site of government".

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