Many bones have been found at the 2nd-century shrine of St. Peter during archaeological excavation but none had been confirmed to be Saint Peter’s with absolute certainty, until June 26, 1968 when Pope Paul VI announced that the relics of St. Peter had been identified.
The Vatican publicly unveiled a handful of bone fragments purportedly belonging to St. Peter on Sunday, reviving the scientific debate and tantalizing mystery over whether the relics found in a shoe box truly belong to the first pope.
The relics were discovered during excavations begun under St. Peter’s Basilica in the years following the 1939 death of Pope Pius XI, who had asked to be buried in the grottoes where dozens of popes are buried, according to the 2012 book by veteran Vatican correspondent Bruno Bartoloni, “The Ears of the Vatican.”
The scholar of Greek antiquities, Margherita Guarducci, who had deciphered the engraving continued to investigate and learned that one of the basilica workers had been given the remains found inside the casket and stored them in a shoe box kept in a cupboard. She reported her findings to Paul VI who later proclaimed that there was a “convincing” argument that the bones belonged to Peter.
The main reason the remains are being hailed as “convincingly” the bones of the first Pope of the Church, Saint Peter, is that archeologists found a casket during the excavations with the engraving “Petros eni” (“Peter is here”)
Other archeologists dispute the claim saying no pope has ever allowed for a proper study of the bones because of a curse to whomever disturbs the tomb of St. Peter. The 1,000-year-old curse is described in secret and apocalyptic documents which (supposedly) describes that anyone who disturbed the peace of Peter’s tomb will have misfortune. Sounds like a bunch of hooey to keep out thieves for the lucrative trade in holy relics.