“Crucifixion was an agonizingly slow punishment. It proved fatal, not so much due to loss of blood, since the wounds in the hands and feet did not lacerate any large vessel and were nearly closed by the nails which produced them, but by the slow process of complications in the nervous system and exhaustion.
“After the man’s death, the Roman custom was to leave the body on the cross until it was devoured by beasts and birds of prey.”
According to the expert, this was a powerful statement against anyone who might attempt to defy the might of the Roman Empire.
However, an exception was made for the Jewish people as their laws required anyone who died on a tree to be taken down by sunset.
Professor Meyer said: “Otherwise, the Israelites would be guilty of overspreading their land with the dead bodies of criminals.
“The Jews were permitted to bury their crucified countrymen on the day of their crucifixion.
“This usually made it necessary for the executioners to hasten their death, which was done by kindling a fire under them, or by letting hungry beasts attack them, or by breaking their bones with an iron mallet.”