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JERUSALEM: Israeli researchers say an inscription on an ancient ring discovered near Jerusalem may include the name of Pontius Pilate, the Roman official who Biblical accounts say sentenced Jesus to death.

It would be a rare example still in existence of an inscription with the name of the man believed to have sent Jesus to his crucifixion.

The researchers recently announced their analysis of the inscription on the ring — which was actually found some 50 years ago — in Israel Exploration Journal.

The journal is published by the Israel Exploration Society and the Institute of Archaeology at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

They say the copper-alloy ring, dated to around 2,000 years ago and used to apply a seal, was found at Herodium, an ancient palace built by King Herod near Jerusalem and Bethlehem, today located in the occupied West Bank. The palace later became a fortress for Jewish rebels fighting the Romans.

An inscription in Greek letters reads “of Pilatus”, while the ring also depicts a wine vessel known as a krater.

The researchers say it is unlikely that the ring belonged to Pilate himself, though possibly to a member of his administration or someone else entirely.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2018