Garo Nalbandian

Fit for a high priest. The most intricately carved ossuary in the burial chamber lay undisturbed in niche IV (as seen in this photo). Decorated with two circles each containing five whorl rosettes surrounding a center rosette, the ossuary twice bears, with a slight variation in spelling, the name “Yehosef bar Qafa”’ (Joseph, son of Caiaphas). Inside the ossuary were the remains of six people: two infants, a child between the ages of two and five, a youth aged 13 to 18, an adult female and a man about 60 years old. Given the name inscribed on the ossuary, together with the extravagance of its decoration, the excavators wondered whether the remains of the 60-year-old man might well be those of the high priest described in the New Testament as interrogating Jesus and then delivering him to the Roman authorities.