Experts in Israel have identified a ring that may have belonged to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who oversaw the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Haaretz reports that the bronze ring was discovered 50 years ago during excavations in the Herodion fortress in the desert of Judea.
Initially uncovered in an excavation led by Professor Gideon Foerster of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the ring was handed over to a team researcher currently working on Herodion, which is headed by Roi Porat, also from the Hebrew University. Intensive cleaning and a special camera of the Israeli Antiquities Authority have revealed the secrets of the ring.
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A wine ship and the Greek inscription "Pilate" can be clearly seen on the ring after Haaretz.
As prefect of the Roman province of Judea, it is quite possible that the ring belonged to the notorious Pontius Pilate. Experts also speculate that a member of the Pilatus court may have signed documents on behalf of the Prefect.
A photograph of the ring clearly shows the inscription of a "crater" – a vessel used to dilute wine.
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The latest research on the Ring has been published in the Israel Exploration Journal.
The Herodion, the winter palace of the biblical King Herod, sits on a conical hill that still stands out in the barren landscape of the Judean Desert near the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank.
Part of the imposing fortress and mausoleum was used by the Roman officials, who ruled ancient Judea, to Haaretz to allow a connection with Pontius Pilate.
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The Ring is just the latest intriguing discovery from the biblical era in Israel. In February, archaeologists announced the discovery of a clay seal mark that could bear the signature of the biblical prophet Isaiah.
In the place of an ancient city in the West Bank, archaeologists are also looking for evidence for the Tabernacle, which once housed the Ark of the Covenant.
Some experts also believe that they have found the lost Roman city of Juliet. formerly the village of Bethsaida, where the apostles of Jesus Peter, Andrew and Philip were at home.
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The discovery of an ancient skeleton in northern Italy could also shed new light on brutal Roman crucifixions toss. There is relatively little archaeological evidence of crucifixion, the method used in the Christian tradition to carry out Jesus Christ.
A new analysis of a heel bone found at Gavello near Venice in 2007 could provide new insights into the brutal execution method that was widespread in the Roman Empire.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers