Round-Up: Talpiot Tomb and James Ossuary Latest

Round-Up: Talpiot Tomb and James Ossuary Latest March 15, 2012

Here’s my round-up combining the latest from the blogosphere on two key archaeological topics that are featuring prominently in news and blogs: the Talpiot tombs and their ossuaries, and the conclusion of the James ossuary forgery trial.

James Tabor makes an attempt at satire, but I don’t think it works very well. He also draws attention to the release of new photos, and clarifies that some images previously circulated were created based on multiple photos taken from a variety of angles.

Bob Cargill discusses the base of the vase (or seaweed-engulfed head of Jonah), followed up by Steve Caruso depicting what happens when you adjust the angle/perspective on the fish/vase on the Talpiot ossuary.

Mark Goodacre spotted a mislabeled ossuary which had caused some confusion. He provides further details from both himself and James Tabor in a follow-up post.

Christopher Rollston discusses the four-line inscription on the ASOR blog.

See also the round-up by David Meadows at RogueClassicist, as well as images and information he has shared on Pinterest.

There’s an article about the topic in the Jewish Daily Forward.

Bible History Daily has reactions from Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch (the latter says he plans to sue the IAA).

The IAA response to the trial verdict has been reposted on the ASOR blog (original here).

Note that the article “Authenticity Examination of the Inscription on the Ossuary Attributed to James, Brother of Jesus” is accessible online on

Jim Davila reflects on the verdict, as do Michael Heiser, John Byron, The Archaeological Review and many others.

Matthew Kalman has reposted on his blog his pieces in The Independent and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Ferrell Jenkins sums up the current situation: “Today, and in the months to come, the reaction to this court decision will likely be along this line. Those who “knew” that the ossuary inscription was a fake, still think it is a fake. Those who thought the full inscription is genuine, still think it is genuine. Those who did not know whether the inscription was genuine or a fake still do not know. That is where I stand.”

Channel 4 has a video on the subject.

Bible and Interpretation has collected a range of articles on the James ossuary and the trial.

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  • The t is the taw symbol sign of the cross and if you go to the jewish encyclopedia and type in Agabus you will see he was a prophet.I believe Jesus was buried out side the old city of Jerusalem.Whose to say that Joseph didn’t remove his body and send it on to a place closer to his home?Just saying.Didn’t they take Joseph’s remains out of Egypt.

  • Jon Hendry

    The fish/vase reminds me most, if vaguely, of the depiction of Halley’s comet on the Bayeux tapestry.

  • Paul

    Interesting how the Heathers (Cargill, Verenna, Goodacre et al) have become less strident in recent days. The first reaction was so over the top: accusations of fraud, avarice and so on.

    The irony of course was thick. They said a group of scholars who debated about the tomb for months or years jumped the gun, but they had their minds made up in one day.

    They said the fish made no sense because there are elements that don’t look like a fish. But then they were certain it was a tower, and …oops…let’s try to forget that. Next it was a perfume container. But if the lack of preciseness in the fish image was a disqualifying factor for the fish theory, the lack of preciseness should also disqualify a perfume container with a ball on the bottom, no?

    I have no idea what the image is, but I hope the debate turns a little more rational going forward.

  • I have been watching these discussions with interest in recent days and have decided to solve your little mystery for you and replace it with a much larger controversy. You have discovered something that none of you understand. Now I bring comprehensive proof of the correct solution to this mystery. Sadly for religious leaders, it completely exposes pivotal ancient lies.

    If you actually want to understand what these symbols mean, you first need to understand ancient symbology. No one involved in this project seems to have a clue and thereby all assertions about ancient Hebrew symbols and their interpretations are without any factual support. 

    I will demonstrate that this “fish or vessel” image in fact purposely portrays the merger of both a fish and a vessel and it is Hebrew, not Christian. To fully understand what this image represents, it must be viewed correctly with the “ball” at the bottom, just as it was drawn. Changing its position breaks the meaning of the symbolic code. Consider that the ball is the sun rising above the horizon at the spring equinox. Notice that the ball is drawn just above the line (horizon…) below it? The fish/vessel is the constellation Pisces, and thereby this shows the spring equinox sun, rising into Pisces, which is how you determine the current age on the zodiac. The bottom of that fish image plus the two handles is a very good rendition of the actual shape of the constellation Pisces. This is a composite symbolic image designed as a verifiable code with verifiable correct answers.

    This image represents a zodiacal/astrological time stamp pointing to the second temple period, which was at the start of the age of Pisces. The fish thereby represents the constellation Pisces, and the vessel shape holds the “waters” of that age. Water symbolizes the flow of deeds through time, and a vessel holds a measured quantity of water (or other liquids like wine and oil). The measured period of time is the 2160 years of the age of Pisces, which ended 2001. This image is a perfect symbolic code for the age of Pisces and the time and deeds (waters…) it represents. 

    The vessel aspect of the image matches the symbolism of the very next age, which is Aquarius the water bearer, which began in 2001. Thereby, this image actually merges two zodiac ages, the previous and the current. It also perfectly matches the astrological time-codes long hidden within the symbolism of Revelation and related Hebrew symbolic texts. It encodes a period of time stretching from the second temple period until now using stars, angels, and seals as its codes. This image encodes the exact same time code, using these two correct zodiac houses to represent the period of time from the second temple (11th 360-year cycle) until now, the early years of the 17th 360-cycle on the Hebrew calendar. That same time period is symbolized by the seven stars, angels, and seals within the Book of Revelation.

    The second temple period was the 11th 360-year cycle on the Hebrew calendar. That is why the Dead Sea Scrolls were buried in exactly 11 caves, during the 11th cycle, which is also symbolized by the 11 stars in Genesis. The 11th cycle was also the beginning of the age of Pisces, and it is well known that the zodiac was used by those who buried the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as other groups throughout the region. The 17th cycle (the seventh star, angel, seal of Revelation) began in 2001. This archeological proof validates my work and completely exposes many core assertions of Christianity.

    The symbology of that image is not Christian, but instead a symbolic time code pointing to the ages of Pisces (time of burial) and Aquarius (now) and related details. The zodiac is the true source of the fish symbolism used by early Christians and later recast by Church leaders to hide the astrological source and associations with those most call the “Essenes.” Visit my website ( and download a free copy of my ebook to learn the basic rules for this ancient symbology. They prove all previous interpretations are erroneous, though both a fish and a vessel were correct guesses.

    This image provides key proof that Christian assertions about the fish and related symbology have always been wrong. I’ll publish more details soon.

    Here are more insights.

    Here is Wisdom…

    Buddy Page
    Seven Star Hand