Caiaphas, the High Priest, is mentioned 9 times in the Gospels and is one of those before whom Jesus appeared before being condemned to death by Pilate (Matthew 26; John 18). A few years ago a “bone box” (ossuary) was found, along with 11 others, in a Second Temple tomb located two miles south of Jerusalem on a hill that today is called “the Hill of Evil Counsel” (John 11:49–50). On it, the name “Joseph ‘son’ of Caiaphas” was inscribed!
The ossuary has a slightly curved cover that is etched with designs. The front of the soft limestone ossuary is beautifully carved with rosette and leaf designs. Note the red paint is still visible in some places.
The bones of six(!) individuals were found inside of the ossuary: 2 infants, 1 child, 1 teen-aged boy, 1 adult woman, and a man—approximately sixty years old.On one of the short sides, and on the back, the name Caiaphas had been etched into the stone with a nail—see the image. It is evident that the ossuary was prepared in a workshop, but then when the bones were placed inside the name was inelegantly scratched on it.
The Aramaic inscription on this side of the ossuary reads “Joseph the ‘son’ of Caiaphas.”
יהוסף בר קפא
Most scholars believe that the Caiaphas mentioned here is the same one that is mentioned six times in the New Testament as well as in Josephus. Ronny Reich argues that the person was named “Joseph” and had a nickname “Caiaphas.” Caiaphas was High Priest from 18 to 36 CE and was the one before whom Jesus was tried and is famously quoted in John 11:50
For an accessible discussion of the name Caiaphas, plus others appearing on ossuaries, see Reich, Ronny. “Caiaphas name Inscribed on Bone Boxes.” Biblical Archaeology Review 18, no. 5 (September/October 1992): 38–44.