Found in Jerusalem on the Mt. of Olives, this limestone ossuary bears a large cross-mark roughly scratched in the center. Possibly the cross-mark indicated some sort of messianic or protective import.

Inscribed in Greek on the ossuary side are three lines which read the “ossuary of Nica/nor the Alexandrian/who made the gates.” A fourth Hebrew line following the Greek reads, “Nicanor the Alexandrian.” Both the Talmud and Josephus state that a man named Nicanor exported magnificent bronze Corinthian gates for the city of Jerusalem from Alexandria. Josephus says that these gates were more beautiful and precious than the other nine silver and gold plated gates in the city walls.

That the donor of these gates, Nicanor, would be buried on the Mount of Olives opposite his great gift is very possible, and would explain the meaning of the inscription.