'Santa's Bone' Remains Dated to Same Era as St. Nicholas

After years of unvetted stories from several sources claiming to have Nicholas's remains, researchers at Oxford University used radio carbon dating on the pelvic bone fragments (owned by the Father of a church in Illinois) and determined that the relic is from around the fourth century AD.

Scientists at the Oxford Relics Cluster at Keble College have analysed a fragment of pelvis said to belong to St Nicholas of Myra, whose life provided the basis for some Santa Claus legends.

While they can not categorically prove they are from the Christian saint, the team said the results pinpoint the relic's age to the fourth century AD - the time that some historians allege that St Nicholas died (around 343 AD).

An ancient bone fragment found in France and owned by a priest in IL could belong to Saint Nicholas, the religious figure who inspired the myth of Santa Claus. When he died, his remains were buried in a church in Demre.

Archaeologists made headlines after finding an empty chamber under the St Nicholas Church, which they reckon could be hold "the untouched body of Saint Nicholas".

In some countries, such as Germany, children receive candies and small gifts not on December 25, but on Saint Nicholas' day, the anniversary of the saint's death, believed to have happened December 6, 343 A.D.in the town of Myra in modern day Turkey.

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In an announcement earlier this week, Oxford experts proved the bone to fit into the timeline of the saint's death - which many historians say occurred in December 343.

The living, breathing historical figure lived in Turkey (waaaaay back when, mind you) where it's believed he became a bishop.

According to legend he was a wealthy man who was widely known for his generosity - a trait that inspired the story of Father Christmas as a bringer of gifts on Christmas Day. His relics were carried away by a group of Italian sailors and transported to Bari, where the bulk of them sit to this day in the Basilica di San Nicola. The absence of the saint's full pelvis from the relics in Bari, which only features the left ilium, suggests the bone may belong to the same individual.

Dr Georges Kazan, another director of the Oxford Relics Cluster, said: "These results encourage us to now turn to the Bari and Venice relics to attempt to show that the bone remains are from the same individual". "We can do this using ancient paleogenomics or DNA testing". The relic originally came from Lyon in France.

Until recently, holders of the relics have resisted testing.

Perhaps Higham puts it best when he said, "science is not able to definitely prove that it is, it can only prove that it is not, however".

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