Israel Antiquities Authority

Israeli geologist Avner Ayalon scrapes tiny flecks of ancient patina from an ossuary, or bone box, excavated in the Jerusalem area. Ayalon conducted oxygen isotope analysis on several ossuaries, including the “James brother of Jesus” ossuary; his results were a key factor in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s conclusion that the James inscription is a forgery. But geologist James Harrell points out that Ayalon’s data is ambiguous and several of his assertions are inaccurate.