Ossuary of Jesus son of Joseph

UnknownHerodian period, 1st century CE

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Israel

Family burial caves were used for generations and many ossuaries accumulated in them. The ossuaries were sometimes incised with the names of the deceased in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew – the three common languages of the time. The names of the deceased were occasionally accompanied by the individual's lineage, place of origin, or profession. Such inscriptions are a rich source of information on the structure and diversity of Jewish society at the time. Many of the names of members of Jesus' family and circle as we know them from the New Testament appear on ossuaries of this time.


  • Title: Ossuary of Jesus son of Joseph
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Herodian period, 1st century CE
  • Location: Jerusalem
  • Type: Ossuary
  • Rights: Israel Antiquities Authority, Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  • External Link: Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  • Medium: Soft limestone, Aramaic inscription
  • Dimensions: H: 30.5; W: 58; D: 35.5 cm
  • Curator: Mevorah, David

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