Courtesy Photographic Archive, Archaeological Expedition at Capernaum/Emmanuele Testa

Greek letters for “Peter.” This inscription is one of a hundred scratched on the walls of the Capernaum building that served as a church from about the mid-first century through the fourth century A.D.

A drawing (below) shows the various marks on the plaster. The first letter on the left is clearly pi. The excavators also see the following letters: epsilon (E), tau (T), rho (R), upsilon (V) and lunate sigma (C). However, another interpretation is that the key strokes of these letters are really part of two XX’s incised over the inscription, similar to the XX’s in the other “Peter” graffito.

Even if one accepts the reading of “Peter,” perhaps the inscription refers not to St. Peter, but to a pilgrim named Peter who visited the site sometime during these 300 years.