(SCIENCE) A marble tablet warning grave robbers away from tombs soon after the disappearance of Jesus’s body may not be what it seems. That’s the conclusion of a new chemical analysis of the marble, which finds that the object was quarried in Greece, not the Middle East. Instead, the famous “Nazareth inscription” was likely created to guard the grave of a Greek tyrant who died a few decades before Christ.
A former curator at the Louvre, Wilhelm Froehner, acquired the tablet in Paris in 1878, probably from an antiquities dealer from Greece or the Middle East, and kept it in his private collection until his death. He left behind a cryptic note that it “came from Nazareth.” That led the French archaeologist Franz Cumont to propose in 1930 that it was connected to Jesus’s disappearance.