Pontius Pilate was the Roman prefect (governor) of Judea who, washing his hands clean of the matter, infamously ordered the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion.
Enough archeological evidence has been discovered to prove he was the actual historical figure ruling Judea at the time, giving increased credibility to the Gospel stories.
But now archaeologists have found an actual ring with his name on it at a dig site near Bethlehem that they say he owned during his time as governor.
Historians and archaeologists know for a fact that Pontius Pilate reigned as prefect of Judea at some point from 14 to 37 AD.
They know this because of the discovery of a stone fragment found in a section of steps leading to the amphitheater at Caesarea Maritima, an ancient Roman city along the Mediterranean coast of Israel.
Written in Latin on the stone fragment is the following inscription: “Pontius Pilatus, Prefect of Judea, has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.”
Tiberius would have received this honor at a time when he was Emperor of Rome which we know from many other sources to be from 14 to 37 AD.
Further, the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus writes that “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…”
Jewish historians Philo and Josephus also both mention Pontius Pilate as the governor of Judea during this time.
Now historians have one more piece of evidence to corroborate the accounts of Pilate we find in the Bible.
The ring was actually unearthed in 1967 shortly after the Six Day War at a dig site at the Herodion fortress in the West Bank run by Professor Gideon Foerster from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
It is a type of stamping ring used at the time to affix an official wax seal to letters and documents as a way of signing off on the documents.
But only recently has the magnitude and significance of the discovery been understood.
It wasn’t until Dr. Roi Porat, the director of a new dig at the site, requested the ring be re-examined through a careful cleaning process and special camera technology that the Israel Antiquities Authority labs deciphered what was on the ring.
On the ring is the image of a wine vessel and Greek letters that spell out the name “Pilatus.”
“We have a ring inscribed with the name Pilate and the personal connection just cries out,” said Dr. Porat. “I don’t know of any other Pilatus from the period and the ring shows he was a person of stature and wealth,” said professor Danny Schwartz.
The ring was found with a selection of glass, ostraca, pottery, iron arrowheads, coins and other artifacts in a room dating to no later than 71 A.D.
The archeological dig is unearthing the “Herodion fortress” which was likely used by Pilate as a government administrative headquarters.
“You can see he had a natural link to the Herodion,” said Dr. Roi Porat. “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.”
The more and more archaeologists and historians search for evidence of the Bible, the more discoveries are made that prove it to be true.
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