Caiaphas Ossuary The first-century ossuary was an oblong box, usually carved out of softened limestone for the purpose of storing the bones of the dead, which had lain in a tomb for a year. Though many were plain, or featured a simple geometric design, this particular example is extraordinarily elaborate in its decoration. The reasoning for this may be found in the starkly crude letters carved into the side, which call to mind Matthew 26:3: “Joseph, son of Caiaphus.”