Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici claims to have found the original nails used to crucify Jesus.
The Emmy award-winning journalist and filmmaker said that the nails found in 1990 while excavating a first century Jewish tomb could be linked to Jesus.
During a press conference in Jerusalem he held up the two corroded iron nails and said that those were nails used to bind the hands of Christ to the cross 2,000 years ago.
Some experts and scholars consider the claim false and more of a publicity stunt because he is using it to promote his new documentary, "The Nails of the Cross." The film is centered on the search for the missing crucifixion nails.
Two iron nails were found in what is said to be the tomb of the High Priest Caiaphas, who presided over the trial of Jesus. Construction workers had unearthed the tomb while building a water park.
The nails disappeared shortly after but Jacobovici said he tracked them down to a laboratory in Tel Aviv where forensic anthropologist Israel Hershkowitz had been studying them for the past 15 years.
“These are probably, possibly, the nails from that Caiaphas tomb,” Jacobovici said, according to The Media Line. “So, if you accept that this is the tomb of Caiaphas and, if you accept that these nails came from that tomb, given that Caiaphas is only associated with the crucifixion of Jesus they very well could be those nails.”
His claim is based on empirical data.
Jacobovici maintained that what they present in the film is "the best archaeological argument to show that these are two of the nails used to crucify Jesus."
Regarding extracting Jesus’ DNA from the nails, he said, “From what I understand you cannot get DNA from iron.
“Maybe in the future they will be able to. So no real testing beyond looking at the limestone has been done on these. I think they have been looked at to see if there is bone residue and none has been found. I don’t think you can get blood and flesh.”
According to the documentary’s guest archaeologist, Gaby Barkay, iron nails were rarely found in tombs and were normally used to carve names in the stone ossuaries.
“There’s no proof that the nails are connected to any bones or proof from textual data that Caiaphas had the nails for the crucifixion with him after the crucifixion took place and after Jesus was taken down from the cross,” Barkay said. “On the other hand, those are possible things.”
Jacobovici offered a theory, speculating that Caiaphas used the nails as a powerful talisman offering protection while alive and in the afterlife because he either became a follower or Christ or witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion.
But according to the Israel Antiques Authority, the organization responsible for all the antiquities of the country, the tomb has not been proven to belong to Caiaphas; iit could belong to another family with the same name.
IAA said in a statement, "There is no doubt that the talented director Simcha Jacobovici created an interesting film, at the center of which is a genuine archaeological artifact. However, the interpretation presented in it has no basis in the find or in archaeological research."
Jacobovici told The Christian Post in December that his purpose as a filmmaker is to help people understand the sources that will “connect them to the history [and] make people go back to the stories and look at it with new eyes.” He hopes that his new documentary will only encourage more research inevitably leading to facts.
“In the future things that look far-fetched today may become facts tomorrow.”
The film is scheduled to air on the History Channel on April 20 at 11 p.m., just a few days before Christians mark Good Friday. Along with following Jacobovici in his investigation, the documentary also explores the historical controversy about the role of Caiaphas in Christ's crucifixion.