The Nails from Jesus’ Cross

The cross was used by the Romans as an instrument of punishment.  Crucifixion was the most painful form of execution, since a crucified person would stay alive on the cross for many hours.

According to historical records, only the vilest criminals were crucified.  However, exceptions were made to this rule since historical evidence shows that persons guilty of robbery, piracy assassination, perjury, sedition, treason, and even desertion were crucified. Christ was crucified as an enemy of Rome, since he was considered to be the King of the Jews.

In crucifixions, people were either bound or nailed to the cross.  The New Testament says that Jesus was nailed to the cross.  After Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection, Thomas, who was absent at the time, said: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25).

In crucifixions, three or four nails were used to nail a person on the cross.  Thomas alluded to two nails, one in each hand.  Generally, the two feet were fastened with one nail.

Recently, Simcha Jacobovici, the Naked Archaeologist, announced that he probably found two of the iron nails that were used to nail Jesus to the cross.  According to Jacobovici, these nails were found at the same time two ossuaries were found in 1990.  An ossuary is a stone box where bones of people were preserved.

The two ossuaries found carried the inscriptions “Caiaphas” and “Joseph son of Caiaphas.”  Since Caiaphas was the high priest at the time Jesus was crucified, and since the two Roman nails were found in the cave where Caiaphas was buried, Jacobovici surmises that these two nails were the nails used to pin Jesus to the cross.

Watch this video in which Jacobovici speaks about the Roman nails.

Personally, I believe that Jacobovici’s claim is exaggerated and that there is no evidence that these nails are the real nails from the cross of Christ.  There are three reasons for my conclusion.

First, the nail from Christ’s cross has been found and I have the picture to prove it.  See the real nail here (but even this one was not the real nail).

Second, the archaeology behind this discovery is very weak.  Just because the nail was found in the cave with the ossuaries, it does not prove that these nails were the same nails used by the Romans to crucify Christ.  There is no archaeological or historical evidence to prove the authenticity of these nails.

Third, on previous occasions, Jacobovici has announced the he has found the tomb of Christ and the lost city of Atlantis.  Only people who believe that Jacobovici has found the tomb where Jesus was buried will also believe that he has found the nails used to crucify Christ.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

This entry was posted in Archaeology, Cross, Crucifixion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Nails from Jesus’ Cross

  1. Daniel says:

    I don’t see how anyone would be able to “prove” the nail was from the cross of Christ. The medieval era was awash with relics purported to have come from Christ or one of the saints. Like the old saying, “If one took all the pieces of the cross claimed to be authentic you would have enough wood to build Noah’s ark.”

    Jacobovici has interesting programs but, in terms of archaeology, they are almost worthless. Good archaeology is so much more cautious in drawing conclusions. It really is a shame since he seems a reasonably intelligent and likeable guy. I would really like to see him learn some good principles and methods of archaeology and then produce a show. Unfortunately, the show would be far less marketable and thus profitable.

    In an age where so many can make a reputation (for what it’s worth) and some money from these sort of claims, it is hard to take it seriously.


    • Daniel,

      I agree with you. The fact is that when someone makes a claim of finding a piece of the cross, it makes news and it sells. But, in the end, it is worthless archaeology because the claim is based on supposition. The same has happened with the claim that the nails came from the cross of Christ.

      Claude Mariottini


  2. Mariano says:

    I have often heard that crucifixion was invented by the Persians and fine tuned by the Romans.
    Yet, everyone stops there and provides no evidence.
    Yet, there is some in Ezra 6:1, 11,
    “Then King Darius issued a decree…that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this.”
    I wonder if this is the earliest record of a crucifixion (or, proto-crucifixion).

    Enjoy your new cyber-home prof.



    • Mariano,

      Thank you for your comment. Crucifixion is older than the Romans, but they perfected it. Hanging from a tree was not crucifixion, but the passage in Ezra is not the oldest record of proto-crucifixion. Deuteronomy 21:23 says: “Never leave his dead body hung on a pole overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone whose body is hung on a pole is cursed by God.”

      Claude Mariottini


  3. Mariano says:

    Indeed, I had forgotten about that. It is even reiterated in Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”


  4. Mike says:

    Jacobovici has tried to mislead believers, but nothing can snatch us away from God our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. We are in Him, and He is in us. We stand firm and are unified with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Word is Him who was among us in the flesh, and who will return soon. God’s Word is flawless. May God bless Jacobovici that he may come to a knowledge of the truth…and use his influence to inform his audience of the truth.


    • First, let me apologize for the delay in answering your comment. I stopped blogging for a while and then worked on my new web page. It has taken me several days to answer all the comments in my blog. I really appreciate your comment.

      I believe that those nails are not the nails that were used on the cross. Jacobovici likes to deal with controversial topics.

      My blog has moved to my new web page. Visit the new site of my blog, read my post today, then subscribe to my blog and receive all my posts as they are published. My new site is Dr. Mariottini.

      Claude Mariottini


  5. John says:

    If this is indeed the nails that nailed Jesus Christ, is there a possibility that some scientists will use the DNA in the cross to clone Jesus paving the way for the creation of the third Anti-Christ? I saw a movie that cloned Jesus Christ using DNA found on the nails. The movie was called Revelation. By the way, I just saw BBC’s Bible Mysteries regarding Revelation. Do you agree with what they have documented?


    • John,

      I want to apologize for the delay in answering your comment.

      I do not believe for one moment that these are the nails that nailed Jesus. I am sorry, but I did not see the program.

      My blog has moved to my new web page. Visit the new site of my blog, read my post today, then subscribe to my blog and receive all my posts as they are published. My new site is Dr. Mariottini.

      Claude Mariottini


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