Relics researchers feature in new CNN series
Wednesday 26 April, 2017
Members of Keble’s Relics Cluster have been featuring in the second commissioned series of CNN’s acclaimed hit series “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact and Forgery”. Georges Kazan and Tom Higham were in three of the 6 episodes, showcasing the work of the cluster team in using the latest scientific methods to explore some of the key relics of the Christian world.
The programmes have been screening in the US over the last 5 weeks, pulling in over 1 million total viewers per episode, ranking 2nd in the ratings. The series focuses on 6 topics, including the tomb of King Herod, the bones of St Peter, the Pilate stone, the tomb of Lazarus and the relics of ‘doubting Thomas’.
The series was produced by London-based television company Nutopia. Amongst the bones the team analysed were a famous St Thomas relic in Bari. The Acts of Thomas, written in the 3rd century, record that after Thomas was martyred in India his bones were taken ‘to the west’, to Edessa. After Edessa was sacked by the Turks in 1146, the relics were removed to Chios in Greece, and then in 1258 to Ortona in Italy. As part of the CNN series, the Relics Cluster team were given permission to radiocarbon date a humerus attributed to Thomas held in Bari’s Basilica di San Nicola. The results placed the relic in the 2nd to 3rd centuries AD, making it one of the earliest venerated relics ever analysed. More work is being done on linking this bone to others attributed to Thomas to explore networks of movement of precious early human relic remains.