A nail believed to have been used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has been unearthed in the secret chamber of a monastery, the Sun newspaper reports.
Archaeologists claim to have made the find while working in the Milevsko monastery in the Czech Republic. The six-inch-long piece of nail was discovered in a box in a cavity in the vault of the monastery, and is inscribed “IR” — which translates to ‘Jesus is King’.
The Sun said experts claim the hidden room was used to hide rare artefacts from raids by Hussite troops in the early 15th century.
Expats.cz said the six centimetre nail is decorated with a small inlaid cross made of 21-karat gold and that researchers have dated the oak wood used to make the shrine to between 260 and 416 AD.
Radio Prague reports that researchers cannot confirm whether the nail came from the “True Cross”, but say the discovery is “even greater than the reliquary of St Maurus”.
The Maurus Reliquary is a large gold box containing fragments of the bodies of Saint Maurus, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Timothy.
The Sun wrote that archaeologists have previously uncovered dozens of nails claimed to be linked to the crucifixion, leading experts to remain skeptical about the new find. Jirí Šindelár, who took part in the discovery, told CTK news agency: “Because the Hussites destroyed the archive, there was no information that such a thing was here.”
Experts will verify the findings next year, he added.
This comes after a study revealed that nails controversially linked to the crucifixion have fragments of 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 nails went missing after the cave was excavated in 1990.