Dr. Boaz Zissu, The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
MIRIAM, THE NEW KID IN TOWN. This unprovenanced ossuary, or bone box, was about to appear on the antiquities market when the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) confiscated it. Despite the fact that it had been looted, the IAA nonetheless deemed it worthy of study, calling on Yuval Goren to determine its authenticity. The Aramaic inscription that runs along the top edge of the box’s long side reads “Miriam, daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Ma‘aziah from Beth ’Imri.” Using an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) and an Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS), Goren concluded that the inscription is authentic. Why didn’t Goren use an ESEM and an EDS to inspect the James ossuary inscription, which he has declared to be a forgery?