2,000-year-old ring ‘may belong to Pontius Pilate’ archaeologists say

Archaeologists have confirmed a 2,000-year-old ring found 50 years ago in the West Bank could have belonged to Pontius Pilate.

The artefact, which is made from copper-alloy, bears the inscription “of Pilatus” which experts believe refers to the brutal governor Pontius Pilate, the man responsible for putting Jesus to death, according to the Bible.

The ring, believed to be a stamping ring used to sign official documents, was originally discovered in 1969 by Professor Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at a fortress Herod built named Herodion.

King Herod, the biblical Roman-Jewish king who ruled Jerusalem from 37 to 4 BC
Image:
King Herod, the biblical Roman-Jewish king who ruled Jerusalem from 37 to 4 BC

Thousands of artefacts were discovered at the site and the ring was one of many found in Herod’s burial tomb.

The engraving was only revealed recently, when the ring was cleaned and examined, showing the words surrounded by a picture of a wine vessel.

A stamping ring represents status in the Roman cavalry, to which Pilate belonged.

Professor Danny Schwartz told Haaretz: “I don’t know of any other Pilatus from the period and the ring shows he was a person of stature and wealth.

“You can see he had a natural link to the Herodion. Even for Herod it was more than just a tomb site with a palace. It was also a significant site of government. You can see the unusual significance this site had.”

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