- Two nails dating back to the Roman era have been found in a burial cave and may be linked to Jesus' crucifixion.
- Historical record points to tens of thousands of people being crucified but until now, there has only been one piece of evidence to support it.
- Although the nails are of the right period, no bone residue was attached to them.
Two Roman nails dating back 2,000 years, found in the burial cave of the Jewish high priest who handed Jesus over to the Romans, may be linked to the crucifixion, an Israeli filmmaker has claimed.
The gnarled bits of iron, which measure around three inches (eight centimeters) each, were shown to reporters in Jerusalem on Tuesday at the premier of a television documentary series examining the question of whether they could have been the nails used to crucify Jesus.
The series is to air from Wednesday in the United States, Canada and South America, and in Israel from May 15.
The two nails were first found in Jerusalem 20 years ago when archaeologists uncovered a family tomb believed to be that of Caiaphas, the high priest who handed Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified.
One nail was found inside one of 12 limestone coffins found inside the cave, while the second was lying on the floor of the tomb.
"Two iron nails were found inside that tomb," said Israeli documentary maker Simcha Jacobovici, who presented the popular series called "The Naked Archaeologist" which was broadcast on The History Channel.
"Somebody went to his grave with that nail among his bones and nobody reported it," he told reporters.
The length of the nails and the fact they were bent at one end were both consistent with the crucifixion of hands, he said.
Since Caiaphas is only associated with one crucifixion -- that of Jesus -- the assumption is that these were the nails used, Jacobovici said. "If these were found in any other tomb, we would not be here today."
The discovery of the nails was noted in the original archaeological report, but shortly afterwards they went missing before being photographed or sketched.