Crucifixion Remains


heel and cross

Crucified victims were not provided burial. However, the family could obtain permission from Roman authorities to obtain the body for private burial. Otherwise, remains were left to scavenging animals. Thus, in spite of many thousands of people suffering the fate of crucifixion, there is little in terms of direct anthropological information from crucified victim remains. Implements of crucifixion, nails, whips, and crucifixion sites have been found, however.

The only known remains of a crucifixion victim were found in 1968, at Giv’at ha-Mivtar, in Israel. The English translation of the Hebrew inscription reads, “Jehohanan the son of Hagkol. A nail was driven through the calcaneus (heel bone), and remained in place since the nail bent and could not be removed for reuse by executioners. This specimen is thought to date to 6 A.D., contemporary with Jesus’ childhood.