Kathy Reichs

Cross bones

The eighth book in the Temperance Brennan series, 2005


As usual, I am deeply indebted to many of my colleagues, family, and friends for their time, expertise, and advice.

Dr. James Tabor, Chair, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, lit the initial spark forCross Bones, shared his personal notes and research findings, checked a thousand fine points, and gallantly squired me around Israel.

Dr. Charles Greenblatt and Kim Vernon, Science and Antiquity Group, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Dr. Carney Matheson, Paleo-DNA Laboratory, Lakehead University, coached me on ancient DNA. Dr. Mark Leney, DNA Coordinator, CILHI, Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, and Dr. David Sweet, Director, Bureau of Forensic Dentistry, University of British Columbia, answered questions about modern DNA.

Azriel Gorsky, Head (Emeritus), Fibers and Polymers Laboratory, Division of Identification and Forensic Science, Israel National Police, gave advice on hair and fiber analysis, and on the workings of Israeli law enforcement.

Dr. Elazor Zadok, Brigadier General, Director, Division of Identification and Forensic Science, Israel National Police, allowed a tour of their Forensic Science facility. Dr. Tzipi Kahana, Chief Inspector, Forensic Anthropologist, Division of Identification and Forensic Science, Israel National Police, familiarized me with the Israeli medical examiner system.

Dr. Shimon Gibson, Jerusalem Archaeological Field Unit, took me to sites throughout Israel, and answered many questions about his homeland.

Debbie Sklar, Israel Antiquities Authority, provided a private tour of the Rockefeller Museum.

Officer Christopher Dozier, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and Sergent-detective Stephen Rudman, Superviseur, Analyse et Liaison, Communaute Urbaine de Montreal Police (retired), supplied information on obtaining phone records.

Roz Lippel helped keep the Hebrew honest. Marie-Eve Provost did the same for the French.

Special thanks go to Paul Reichs for his insightful comments on the manuscript.

Credit must be given to two books mentioned in the text: Masada: Herod’s Fortress and the Zealots’ Last Stand by Yigael Yadin, George Weidenfeld amp; Nicolson Limited, 1966; The Jesus Scroll by Donovan Joyce, Dial Press, 1973.

Last, but far from least, heartfelt thanks to my editor, Nan Graham. Her advice madeCross Bones a far better book. Thanks also to my editor across the pond, Susan Sandon.

And, of course, to Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, Co-Head of the Worldwide Literary Department, Executive Vice President, and one of the first two women appointed to the Board of Directors of the William Morris Agency. Way to go, girl! Thanks for hanging in as my agent.

For Susanne Kirk, editor, Scribner, 1975-2004


For Dr. James Woodward, chancellor,

University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1989-2005

Thanks for the years of support and encouragement.

Enjoy your retirements!

Depart from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it.

– Jewish Holy Scripture,

Psalm 34:14

The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.

– New Testament, James 3:18

And make not Allah because of your swearing (by him) an obstacle to your doing good and guarding (against evil) and making peace between men, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

– Koran 2:224

The Facts

• From 1963 to 1965, Masada, site of a first-century Jewish revolt against the Romans, was excavated by Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin and a team of international volunteers. Yadin’s workers recovered the fragmentary and commingled remains of approximately twenty-five skeletons from a cave complex, designated Loci 2001/2002, located below the casement wall at the southern tip of the summit. Unlike other human remains found within the main complex of ruins at the northern end of Masada, these bones were not immediately reported to the press.

In the 1990s, a photo surfaced of a single intact skeleton that was also recovered from Loci 2001/2002 during the 1963 to 1965 excavation. That skeleton was never mentioned or described by the project’s physical anthropologist, Nicu Haas. It was not discussed by Yadin in his published reports or interviews.

* Formal field notes were not kept during the Masada excavation, but oral briefings took place regularly between Yadin and his staff. Transcripts of these sessions are archived at the Mount Scopus Campus of Hebrew University. Pages covering the period of the discovery and clearing of Loci 2001/2002 are missing.

* Neither the bones from the twenty-five commingled individuals, nor the articulated skeleton, nor the contents of Loci 2001/2002, are described in the six volumes of the final Masada excavation publication.

* Though Nicu Haas was in possession of the bones for more than five years, he published nothing on the commingled individuals or on the complete skeleton recovered at Loci 2001/2002. Haas’s handwritten notes, including a full bone inventory, indicate he never received the complete skeleton.

* In the late 1960s, Yigael Yadin stated in press interviews that carbon-14 dating was seldom done, and that it was not his job to initiate such tests. The journalRadiocarbon indicates that Yadin sent samples for carbon-14 dating from other Israeli excavations during that period. Despite uncertainty concerning the age of the Loci 2001/2002 remains, Yadin never sent samples for radiocarbon dating.

• In 1968, the skeletal remains of a “crucified man” were found during road construction north of the Old City of Jerusalem. The deceased, Yehochanan, died at approximately twenty-five years of age, during the first century. A nail and wood fragments were embedded in one of Yehochanan’s heel bones.

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