Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Avraham Hay
Elaborate ossuary of “Joseph son of Caiaphas”
Talpiot, Jerusalem
1st century CE
Soft limestone, Aramaic
L: 74; W: 29 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1991-468
 
 
Joseph son of Caiaphas was the Jewish high priest from 18–36 CE. He is known chiefly for his involvement in the arrest of Jesus as described in the New Testament.
The Caiaphas family burial cave was discovered in southeastern Jerusalem. This is the most elegant of the 12 ossuaries found inside. The full name of the deceased – “Joseph son of Caiaphas” – appears twice. The name and the chest’s elaborate decorations suggest that this was indeed the ossuary of the Caiaphas from the New Testament.
“Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered.” (Matthew 26:57)

Publications:
Israeli, Yael, and Mevorach, David, Cradle of Christianity, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2000, English / Hebrew
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005
3x50@50: IMJ Collection Highlights, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2015

Exhibition:
Cradle of Christianity, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 28/03/2000 - 30/01/2001

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir