Garo Nalbandian

Underneath what is now a stretch of road (at center in photo) in Jerusalem’s Peace Forest, to the south of the Golden Dome of the Rock and the El Aqsa mosques (at top in photo; also see map), workers building a water park in November 1990 accidentally uncovered an ancient burial cave.

Such a find was not in itself surprising—the surrounding area was used as a huge necropolis during the late Second Temple period (first century B.C.E.–first century C.E.). More intriguing to archaeologists were four ossuaries visible through the collapsed roof of the cave; they soon discovered eight others. Inscriptions on two of the ossuaries found here indicate that this was the burial chamber of the Caiaphas family and that one ossuary may have held the remains of the high priest who interrogated Jesus and then handed him over to Pontius Pilate for trial (Matthew 26:57–68).