A team of archaeologists and scientists say they have for the first time found pieces of a burial shroud from the time of Jesus in a tomb located in Jerusalem. The BBC's Bethany Bell reports.
The researchers, from Hebrew University and institutions in Canada and the US, said the shroud was very different from the controversial Turin Shroud. (Might it belong to Lazarus, ask some evangelical Christians?)
Some people believe the Turin Shroud to have been Christ's burial cloth, but others believe it is a fake.
The newly found cloth has a simpler weave than Turin's, the scientists say.
The body of a man wrapped in fragments of the shroud was found in a tomb dating from the time of Jesus near the Old City of Jerusalem, above the Hinnom Valley.
The tomb is part of a cemetery called the Field of Blood, where Judas Iscariot is said to have committed suicide.
Researchers believe the man was a Jewish high priest or member of the aristocracy who died of leprosy, the earliest proven case.
They say he was wrapped in a cloth made of a simple two-way weave, very different from the complex weave of the Turin Shroud.
The researchers believe that the fragments are typical of the burial cloths used at the time of Jesus.
As a result, they conclude that the Turin Shroud did not originate from 1st-Century Jerusalem.
The Turin Shroud has been the subject of much controversy.
Tests 20 years ago dated the fabric to the Middle Ages, but believers say the cloth, which bears the imprint of a man's face, is an authentic image of Christ.
Last month a Vatican researcher announced that she had found the words 'Jesus Nazarene' written on the shroud, proving it was the linen cloth which was wrapped around Christ's crucified body. It is shown at the top of this post.