From an article in the Telegraph today:
The remains – small fragments of a skull, bones from a jaw and an arm, and a tooth – were discovered embedded in an altar in the ruins of the ancient monastery, on the island in the Black Sea.
A Greek inscription on the stone casque contains a reference to June 24 – the date on which John the Baptist is believed to have been born.
"We found the relics of St John the Baptist - exactly what the archaeologists had expected," said Bozhidar Dimitrov, Bulgaria's minister without portfolio and a former director of the country's National History Museum, who was present when the stone urn was opened.
"It has been confirmed that these are parts of his skeleton."
Exactly how the relics ended up on the island is a mystery, but Mr Dimitrov said they may have been donated by the Christian Church in Constantinople when Bulgaria was part of the Byzantine Empire.
But other experts cast doubt on the claim, saying carbon dating tests were needed before the bones could be identified as belonging to Christ's baptiser.
Many countries around the Mediterranean claim to have remains of St John, including Turkey, Montenegro, Greece, Italy and Egypt.
Most famously, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul purportedly has bones of the Baptist. Undoubtedly the Sveti Ivan Island monks believed the bones were authentic, placing them within the altar of their monastery.
From a CNN report on the find:
Fabrizio Bisconti, superintendent of the Vatican Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology, told CNN that the commission "will wait until a more thorough study has been conducted, including anthropological analysis, before it will express an opinion on the finding."
Bisconti also said there are thousands of alleged relics of John the Baptist scattered around the world. He said the pontifical commission has not been contacted by the Bulgarian archaeologists, and that it normally does not get involved in the sacred archaeology studies carried outside of Italy.
Christians believe John the Baptist heralded the arrival of Christ and baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. According to the Gospels, John was put to death by beheading on the orders of the local ruler, Herod Antipas. He is considered a particularly significant figure in the Orthodox Church.
The newly discovered reliquary is made of alabaster and dates from approximately the middle of the 5th century, [Excavation leader Kazimir] Popkonstantinov told reporters. The southern Black Sea coast was then part of the Byzantine Empire, ruled from Byzantium, now Istanbul in Turkey.
The bones will be installed today at Sozopol's Church of Saint George, which also contains a supposed piece of the true cross and relics of St. Andrew.