December 23rd, 2020–The relic has apparently remained undiscovered all these years because the monastery where it was kept got looted during the Hussite Wars and the monastery’s archives were destroyed in the process.
An item that may be related to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has recently been discovered by archaeologists at the Milev monastery in the Czech Republic, Czech News Agency reports.
According to the media outlet, the artefact in question, a “six-inch-long piece of a nail”, was found in a cavity in the monastery’s vault, stored in a box made of oak wood dated approximately to the 4th-5th century.
The lid of the box was originally made of a solid gold plate with a wrought inscription IR, with Jiri Sindelar, an archaeologist who took part in the discovery, noting that these letters are likely “an abbreviation for Latin – Jesus Rex, i.e. Jesus King”.
Due to Milev monastery’s past wealth and prominence, researchers argued that the claim that it harbored a nail from the so-called True Cross, the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, is “realistic”, the media outlet notes.
During the Hussite Wars, the monastery was looted, with Sindelar suggesting that the destruction of the monastery’s archives during the looting might explain why “there was no information” that the relic was there.
Researchers excavating the scene say that they cannot confirm if the nail came from the ‘True Cross,’ but note the discovery ‘is even greater than the reliquary of St. Maurus, reports the Czech News Agency (ČTK).
The Maurus Reliquary is a large box made of gold that holds fragments from bodies of three saints: Saint Maurus, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Timothy.
There has also been dozens of nails uncovered that are linked to Jesus’s crucifixion, leading scientists to be skeptical about the recent find.
Archaeologists have been working at the Milevsko monastery for several months and recently uncovered a secret passage that led to the treasury room.
The monastery was built in 1187, but was captured by Hussites in 1420 and taken over by the group’s nobility.
However, before losing their place of worship, those who called the monastery home built a secret room to hide rare and priceless artifacts.
After analyzing the box through radiocarbon dating, the team found it was made with two types of wood.
The larch wood, which is found in Israel’s subtropical climate, dates back between 1290 and 1394 AD.
The second sample, which is oak, was found to originate from 260 to 416 AD.
A similar discovery was unearthed in October when a team found nails with ancient bone and wood embedded in them.
The nails were allegedly found in Jerusalem, in a first-century burial cave believed to be the resting place of Caiaphas, the Jewish priest who sent Jesus to his death in the Bible.
So, is this a holy relic, or just a piece of rusty iron? No one really knows, but further scientific tests will be carried out to determine the age of the nail.