The James ossuary is a 2,000-year old chalk box that was used for containing the bones of the dead. The Aramaic inscription: Ya'akov bar-Yosef akhui diYeshua (English translation: "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus") is cut into one side of the box. The inscription is considered significant because, if genuine, it might provide archeological evidence of Jesus of Nazareth. According to the Los Angeles Times, most scholars hold the last part of the inscription to be a forgery.
The existence of the ossuary was announced at an October 21, 2002 Washington press conference co-hosted by the Discovery Channel and the Biblical Archaeology Society. The initial translation of the inscription was done by André Lemaire, a Semitic epigrapher, whose article claiming that the ossuary and its inscription were authentic was published in the November/December 2002 Biblical Archaeology Review. Authenticity of the inscription has been challenged. The Israeli Antiquities Authority determined in 2003 that the inscriptions were forged at a much later date.
The owner of the ossuary is Oded Golan, an Israeli engineer and antiquities collector. In December 2004, Golan was charged with 44 counts of forgery, fraud and deception, including forgery of the Ossuary inscription. On October 3, 2010 court proceedings for the trial of Golan and a co-defendant concluded.
On March 14, 2012, Golan was acquitted of the forgery charges but convicted of illegal trading in antiquities. The judge said this acquittal "does not mean that the inscription on the ossuary is authentic or that it was written 2,000 years ago." The ossuary was returned to Golan, who put it on public display.
More information, including on the analysis, investigation, trial of Oded Golan and Discovery Channel program, on the Wikipedia page