These photos are becoming commonplace, and now Jim has ’em who also has a press release:
The front of the ossuary bears an Aramaic inscription from the time of the Second Temple saying “Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priests of Ma’aziah from Beth Imri.”
The high priest Yehosef Bar Caiaphas is known for his involvement in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, but the prime importance of the inscription is the discovery that the Caiaphas family was related to the Ma’aziah priestly course, one of the 24 divisions of Kohens that took turns maintaining the schedule of offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is the first reference to the Ma’aziah course in an epigraphic find from the Second Temple period, which was the last of the twenty-four priestly courses that served in the First Temple.
The list of courses was formulated during King David’s reign and appears in the Bible in I Chronicles 24:18.
This week the research was published in the Israel Exploration Journal, Volume 61, confirming its authenticity and summarizing the importance of the find.
The Antiquities Authority has expressed distress that this important find, stolen from its original provenance, was removed from its exact archeological context, so it is not possible to know the full story of the burial cave.