Heel bone pierced by an iron nail

Heel bone pierced by an iron nail
Givat Hamivtar, Jerusalem, Israel
1st century CE
Bone, iron nail
L (of nail): 12 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 95-2067/5

Photo © IMJ, by Avraham Hay

In the course of excavations of a burial cave in northern Jerusalem, an ossuary was found inscribed with the name of the deceased: Yehohanan ben Hagkol. Examination of the remains preserved within the ossuary revealed that the right heel bone was pierced by a large iron nail, to which fragments of wood were attached at either end. The find attests to the fact that Yehohanan had been put to death by crucifixion. This humiliating and excruciating form of execution was used to punish rebels, thieves and captives. Though many met their fates in this manner, this find represents the sole archaeological evidence for the practice of crucifixion discovered to date.

Publications:
Israeli, Yael, and Mevorach, David, Cradle of Christianity, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel, 2000, English/Hebrew
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

Exhibition:
The Cradle of Christianity, 30/03/2006 - 13/08/2006.