A small handful of bones found in an ancient church in Bulgaria may belong to John the Baptist, the biblical figure said to have baptized Jesus.There is a documentary on this to air in National Geographic UK:
There's no way to be sure, of course, as there are no confirmed pieces of John the Baptist to compare to the fragments of bone. But the sarcophagus holding the bones was found near a second box bearing the name of St. John and his feast date (also called a holy day) of June 24. Now, new radiocarbon dating of the collagen in one of the bones pegs its age to the early first century, consistent with the New Testament and Jewish histories of John the Baptist's life.
The human bones in the box included a knucklebone, a tooth, part of a cranium, a rib and an ulna, or arm bone. The researchers could only date the knucklebone, because radiocarbon dating relies on organic material, and only that bone had enough collagen for a good analysis. The researchers were able to reconstruct DNA sequences from three of the bones, however, showing them to be from the same person, likely a Middle Eastern man.
He was loved by the public and feared by those in power, this revolutionary popularised a practice that ultimately became central to Christianity.Any UK-based readers feel free to comment after the program has aired with any details regarding the DNA testing done on the remains.
But he was not Jesus; he was John the Baptist, whose story shows how he threatened the Roman Empire to such an extent that King Herod Antipas claimed his life, supposedly before parading his head in front of his guests during a party.
There, the story ends abruptly. Or does it? Where was this famous saint buried, and what happened to his body?
Find out in the UK premiere of Head Of John The Baptist on Sunday 17 June at 8pm, as experts reveal how a rumour emerged that John the Baptist’s body was retrieved.