A fragment of bone stated to belong to the fourth-century saint who impressed the story of Father Christmas might certainly be from the legend himself, scientists have stated.
Researchers on the College of Oxford radiocarbon tested the relic, lengthy commemorated because of the bones of St Nicholas and found it does date from the proper historic interval.
Whereas they can’t categorically show they’re from the Christian saint, the crew stated the outcomes pinpoint the relic’s age to the fourth century AD – the time that some historians allege that St Nicholas died (around 343 AD).
“Many relics that we examine prove to date to a period considerably later than the historic attestation would recommend,” stated Professor Tom Higham, director of the Oxford Relics Cluster at Keble College Superior studies Centre.
“This bone fragment, in contrast, suggests that we could possibly be stays from St Nicholas himself.”
St Nicholas, some of the revered Christian saints, is believed to have lived in Myra, which is now modern-day Turkey.
Based on the legend he was a rich man who was extensively known for his generosity – a trait that impressed the story of Father Christmas as a bringer of gifts on Christmas Day.
Most of his remains have been held within the Basilica di San Nicola, in Bari, Italy, since 1087, the place they’re buried in a crypt beneath a marble altar, but over the years relic fragments have been acquired by church buildings worldwide.
As many as 500 of St Nicholas’s bone fragments are believed to be held in Venice.
The bone analyzed in Oxford – a pelvis fragment – is owned by Father Dennis O’Neill, of St Martha of Bethany Church, in Illinois, United States.
Dr. Georges Kazan, another director of the Oxford Relics Cluster, stated: “These outcomes encourage us to now flip to the Bari and Venice relics to try to indicate that the bone remains are from the identical particular person.
“We are able to do that utilizing historic palaeogenomics or DNA testing.
“It’s thrilling to assume that these relics, which date from such a historic time, could actually be real.”
But there may never be any way of knowing whether the bones really were from the real St Nicholas.
Professor Higham added: “Science is not able to definitely prove that it is, it can only prove that it is not, however.”