In 2007, a skeleton of a crucifixion victim from the Roman era was discovered during an excavation for a pipeline that was being placed. Romans used crucifixion as a popular form of torturous death. But what many of us don’t realize is that we have only found two skeletons in quality to even allow study. This lack of quality remains makes this finding something equally terrifying and exciting to historians.
In the image below from Ferrata University, the skeletal remains have a nail hole and fractures in the heel. This indicates that he was a victim of the horrific death that could take many days.
The bones show that as the nail exited his body and went into the cross, the nail bent down, crushing the bone under it as he was fixed to it.
Unfortunately many things hoped to be discovered from this man are not possible due to the poor condition of the bones. Researchers speculate that his arms were also nailed to the cross through his wrists.
Most victims of crucifixion begin supporting themselves with their legs. They end up hanging from their arms as they are slowly dislocated. The nails tear the wrists and hands of the one being crucified. Because of these facts, it makes sense that this man’s wrists and arms are in poor condition.
Another image from Israel University show the skeletal remains of a heel with a nail implanted from the crucifixion.
In 1968, remains revealed a crucifixion victim who had a nail implanted in the heel of his foot. This was an unexpected find. The Romans were known to remove the nail either to reuse for the next victim. It was also believed to be bad luck to not remove the nails from the victims. Romans believed that spirits would come after those who left the nail in the broken bodies of their victims.
Since the finding, scientists have placed the age of the man to his early 30’s. They’ve dated his death at about the same timing as Christ 2000 years ago. Today, researchers hypothesize that this man was a malnourished slave, based on his stature.