Dr. Zvi Greenhut, Head of the IAA Artifacts Treatment and Conservation Department, explains that the two nails shown in the film by director Simcha Jacobovici are nails that were stored in Professor Nicu Haas’ laboratory in the Jerusalem Medical School until the late 1970s, and their provenance is unknown.
Dr. Greenhut rejects the claims put forth by Simcha Jacobovici in a press conference held on April 13 in which Simcha maintains that he found the nails allegedly used to crucify Jesus inside an ossuary in a burial cave in Jerusalem.
Dr. Greenhut explains that in 1975 Professor Nicu Haas was severely injured in an automobile accident. He makes it clear that shortly thereafter, in the late 1970s, Joe Zias, Curator in charge of State of Israel archaeological collections and responsible for physical anthropology in the then Israel Department of Antiquities, was asked to transfer the nails from Professor Haas’ laboratory in the Jerusalem Medical School to the National Treasures, which was the responsibility of the Department of Antiquities and Museums in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.
These nails were under the supervision, responsibility and custody of that curator for at least 15 years, until they were transferred in the beginning of the 1990s, at the behest of the then director of the IAA, to the Tel Aviv University Anthropology Department, where they have been until the present.
Furthermore, the fact that the nails that appear in the film are unregistered, without any mark of identification, as opposed to what is described in the preliminary archaeological report by the excavator of the site, reinforces the fact that the nails did not come from a proper archaeological excavation.
Therefore, the claim presented in the film that the provenance of the nails presently located in the Tel Aviv University physical anthropology laboratory and shown in the film was from the tomb of Caiaphas, discovered in the Jerusalem Peace Forest in 1990, is unsubstantiated and has no factual basis. The data shows exactly when and how the nails came to be in the Medical School lab approximately 15 or more years before the tomb of Caiaphas was excavated.
For further details, kindly contact Itzhak Rabihiya, acting spokesman of the Israel Antiquities Authority, 054-7999209.
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