The first physical remains of a biblical character were discovered in Jerusalem when workers constructing a road through a park came across a tomb containing 12 limestone bone boxes with the names of 63 people. The most ornately decorated of the boxes was inscribed with the name “Joseph son of Caiaphas” and contained the bones of a 60-year-old man. (see image at http://www.bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_palace_of_caiaphas.html)
Ancient historian Josephus records this name as the full name of the High Priest who led the plot to kill Jesus. King Darius I ruled the Persian Empire from 522 to 486 B.C. His tomb was one of three cut into a cliff near Persepolis, Iran. (See image at http://flickr.com/photos/56905260@N00/873542149) The inscription reads, “King Darius states: King, whoever you are, who may arise after me, protect yourself well from lies. Do not trust the man who lies… Believe what I did and tell the truth to the people. Do not conceal (it). If you do not conceal these matters, but you do tell the people, may Ahura Mayda protect you.”
Caesar Augustus ruled the Roman Empire from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14. When Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, it was Augustus’s census decree they were obeying. (Luke 2:1-7) Augustus built a large mausoleum, 143 feet high and 248 feet across, on the banks of the Tiber River in Rome, the remains of which still exist in the Piazza Augusto Imperatore. (See image at http://picasaweb.google.com/cwendeln/Rome#5101382744136553442) An urn in the center contained his ashes; other rulers’ urns were placed in a corridor around the mausoleum. Some urns were still in place when the building was excavated.