The Pilate stone is a damaged block (82 cm x 65 cm) of carved limestone with a partially intact inscription attributed to, and mentioning, Pontius Pilate, a prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from AD 26 to 36. It was discovered at the archaeological site of Caesarea Maritima in 1961. The artifact is particularly significant because it is an archaeological find of an authentic 1st-century Roman inscription mentioning the name "[Pont]ius Pilatus". It is contemporary to Pilate's lifetime, and accords with what is known of his reported career. In effect, the inscription constitutes the earliest surviving, and only contemporary, record of Pilate, who is otherwise known from the New Testament, the Jewish historian Josephus and writer Philo, and brief references by Roman historians such as Tacitus.
It is likely that Pontius Pilate made his base at Caesarea Maritima - the site where the stone was discovered, since that city had replaced Jerusalem as the administrative capital and military headquarters of the province in AD 6, Pilate probably travelled to Jerusalem, the central city of the province's Jewish population, only when necessary.The Pilate stone is currently located at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Plaster-cast replicas can be found at the Archaeological Museum in Milan, Italy, and on display in Caesarea Maritima itself.