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An expert on ancient Roman coins say he has identified those that cover the eyes of the Man of the Shroud, providing more evidence that the ancient burial cloth could have been used to cover the body of Jesus.

Agostino Sferrazza, a numismatist, concludes in an interview with the French-language RCF Liège, the coins were minted in in the days of Pontius Pilate in the year A.D. 29.

Images of the coins were first observed in the eye sockets of the Man of the Shroud in 1976, when 3-D projection techniques were used to evaluate it. Researchers noted the presence of small bulges on the ocular orbit bones which wouldn’t match any possible morphological particularities. The hypothesis states these might have been leptons: small coins of low value that were common in Israel during the Roman occupation.

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coins,jpgUsing advanced technologies, researchers have tried to identify drawings and inscriptions on the coins. On the disc covering the right eye, apparently a “lituus” (a curved Roman-style augural staff) can be observed. On the disc over the left eye, there is what appears to be a sacrificial cup.

Besides the drawings, researchers have managed to read the letters YKAI in the coins. This is thought to be the visible part of the word “TIBERIOY KAICAPOC,” Greek for Tiberius Caesar. This would be a strong indication that these coins are comparable with other currencies from the Roman era, and might indeed be pieces that were being used at the time of Jesus’ Passion.

In his interview with RCF Liège, Agostino Sferrazza supports the theory of the authenticity of the pieces and dates them to the time of Pontius Pilate. This theory is based on the images produced by computer scientist Nello Balossino, an associate professor at the Turin Faculty of Sciences, who succeeded in bringing out an image of the sacrificial cup on the right eye of the Man of the Shroud. According to Agostino Sferazza, there is no doubt: these pieces were indeed coined in 29 A.D.

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