Israeli archaeologists believe they have discovered the 2,000-year-old ring of Pontius Pilate, the fifth prefect of Judaea under the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who by gospel accounts in The Bible reluctantly sent Jesus Christ to his death.
As Israel National News has reported, the copper alloy ring was initially recovered between 1968 and 1969 while archaeologists working under the direction of Professor Gideon Foerster of Hebrew University of Jerusalem were excavating Herodium, which was an ancient winter palace and tomb of King Herod in Judea that sat atop a large hill that is still visible in the Judean Desert even today. However, it is only now that the ring, which allegedly belonged to Pontius Pilate, has been properly examined so that it can be cataloged.
Included in this examination was a thorough cleaning of the ancient ring and a specialist camera was also utilized so that the ring could be deciphered in much greater detail.
It was archaeologist Roi Porat who was responsible for suggesting that the 2,000-year-old ring be examined again, and explained that as the name Pilate is engraved upon it, it is extremely likely that it once belonged to Pontius.
“We have a ring inscribed with the name Pilate and the personal connection just cries out.”
The jewelry discovered with the ring was found in a room that archaeologists have dated to around 71 BC, and other ancient relics were also found in this space including pottery, glass, ostraca, coins, iron arrowheads, and various metal artifacts.
Very little is known about Pontius Pilate as a historical figure. But archaeologists have one more artifact to add to the list of clues: a 2,000-year-old copper alloy ring bearing his name https://t.co/cCbXa0Mhcz
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 30, 2018
The ring believed to have once belonged to Pontius Pilate is decorated with a krater, or wine vessel, with the words “of Pilatus” (πιλατο) delicately engraved in Greek letters. Archaeologists have noted that faulty production on this ring may have caused some of the letters to be slightly deformed upon it.
According to Fox News, while the odds are certainly high that the ring was once in the possession of Pontius Pilate, there is also the possibility that people working in the court of Pontius Pilate may have also used the ring to sign documents in the prefect’s name in a much speedier fashion than if he had actually signed them all himself.
It is believed that Pilate tried unsuccessfully to campaign for the freedom of Jesus and was met with rage from members of the public who demanded his execution, after which Pontius shrugged and gave in, claiming no personal responsibility towards his crucifixion, according to the Gospel of Matthew.
“So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.'”
Details about the new research involved in the rediscovery and examination of the 2,000-year-old ring believed to have belonged to Pontius Pilate have been published in the Israel Exploration Journal.