Bound to bring a fierce debate between archaeologists, theologists and indeed the general public, a Jerusalem-based geologist has allegedly discovered traces of Jesus’ and Mary Magdalene’s bones.
The geologist, Aryeh Shimron is convinced he has made that connection by identifying a well-defined geochemical match between specific elements found in samples collected from the interiors of the Talpiot Tomb ossuaries (urn for bones) and of the James ossuary.
Having become known as the Talpiot Tomb, the burial chamber believed to be of Jesus contained ten ossuaries. Some of them bore inscriptions that have been interpreted as ‘Jesus son of Joseph’, ‘Mary’ and other names associated with New Testament figures.
The very claim that this was the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth was rejected by most archaeologists and experts, who cited that such names like Jesus and Mary were very common during that period.
Bearing the Aramaic inscription “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus,” the James ossuary is owned by an Israeli collector. He claims to have bought it from an East Jerusalem antiquities dealer in the 1970’s. More than a decade ago, the government Israel Antiquities Authority declared the “brother of Jesus” part of the inscription a forgery and pressed charges against the collector. However a Jerusalem court ruled in 2012 that the state had failed to prove its case.
When discovered, the Talpiot ossuaries were covered by a thick layer of a type of soil, Rendzina, that is characteristic of the hills of East Jerusalem. This was enough to impose a unique geochemical signature on the ossuaries buried beneath it.
“I think I’ve got really powerful, virtually unequivocal evidence that the James ossuary spent most of its lifetime, or death time, in the Talpiot Tomb,” Dr. Shimron, 79, said in an interview about his as-yet unpublished findings.
The geologist based his study on the premise that an earthquake that shook Jerusalem in A.D. 363 filled the Talpiot Tomb with heaps of soil and mud; dislodging its entrance stone and, unusually, covering the chalk ossuaries entirely.
The burial remains, including bone matter, of Jesus of Nazareth suggest that there could have been no bodily resurrection. Additionally, there is speculation that one of the bone boxes found in Talpiot belonged to Mary Magdalene, while another with the inscription “Judah son of Jesus”, has only added to the general controversy of the discovery.