He makes the case in a documentary, which he sold to the History Channel. The filmmaker, Simcha Jacobovici, says the two Roman-made nails were found in a tomb believed by some to be the final resting place of Caiphus, a Jewish high priest that the Gospels say gave Jesus to the Romans.
"I think I have out together a compelling journalistically sound hypothesis, and now it's up to the scientists to do the science," Jacobovici said.
But antiquities experts say the tomb could have belonged to someone else. In that period, nails were commonly found in coffins with the dead.
"There is no chance that the nails that are in the laboratory at Tel Aviv University are the nails which I found in the excavation of the Caiphus tomb in 1990," said Zvi Greenhut of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The filmmaker has courted controversy before. In a 2007 film made with Hollywood director James Cameron, he suggested Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.