1,500-year-old 'Christ, born of Mary' inscription discovered in Israel

1,500-year-old ‘Christ, born of Mary’ inscription discovered in Israel

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1,500-year-old ‘Christ, born of Mary’ inscription discovered in Israel

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered the ruins of a stunning 1,500-year-old church with beautiful mosaic floors and Greek inscriptions.

The Byzantine church was discovered in Ramat Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, with a mosaic inscription to a mysterious “glorious martyr” and a special cross-shaped baptismal font. The results of a three-year excavation project at the site were revealed this week.

The remains of a 1,500-year-old monastery and church with ‘outstanding’ mosaic floors (pictured) and marble imported from Turkey have been uncovered in Israel

The inscription to the “martyr” was uncovered in the church’s courtyard.

In a statement obtained by Fox News, Benjamin Storchan, who directed the excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority, said, “The martyr’s identity is unknown, but the exceptional opulence of the structure and its inscriptions suggest that this individual was a significant figure.”

The church is one of only a few discovered in Israel with a fully intact crypt, he added.

The first stage of the church’s construction took place during the reign of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century A.D., according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. A beautiful side chapel was added later, during the reign of Emperor Tiberius II Constantine.

Experts at the Israel Antiques Authority say the mosaic floor (pictured), which is decorated with birds, leaves, and pomegranates, is incredibly well preserved for its age

A Greek inscription found at the site explains that Tiberius II Constantine provided financial support for the church’s expansion.

“Imperial involvement in the building’s expansion is also evoked by the image of a large eagle with outspread wings – the symbol of the Byzantine Empire – which appears in one of the mosaics,” Strachan added.

Other items found during the excavation include Byzantine glass windows and lamps. An exhibition of artefacts from the site opened at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem this week.

A number of well-preserved architectural elements were found, including a marble pillar base decorated with crosses (pictured centre), and marble window screens

The Ramat Beit Shemesh site is one of a number of amazing archaeological locations in the region, many of which shed light on early Christianity.

Last year, a previously unknown 1,500-year-old painting of Christ’s face was uncovered at a Byzantine church in Israel’s Negev desert.

Also in 2018, archaeologists announced the discovery of a large 1,500-year-old pool and elaborate fountain at the site of an ancient church near Jerusalem.

Archaeologists uncovered a stunning 1,500-year-old Christian mosaic that was once the floor of a church or monastery in the ancient coastal city of Ashdod-Yam in 2017.

Also in 2017, an ancient Greek inscription was found on a 1,500-year-old mosaic floor near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. The inscription mentions the Byzantine emperor Justinian, who ruled in the 6th century A.D., and commemorates the building’s founding by a priest called Constantine.

Excavations conducted by the team, with the help of more than 1,000 teenage volunteers, uncovered the remains of walls built using large worked stone masonry (pictured)

A 1,500-year-old church was discovered at a Byzantine-era rest stop between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in 2015. In 2014, the remains of another church from the same period were uncovered in southern Israel.

A team of American and Israeli archaeologists recently said that they have found the Church of the Apostles, which is said to have been built over the house of Jesus’ disciples Peter and Andrew near Israel’s Sea of Galilee

In a separate project, experts also believe they have found the lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, which was the home of Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip

Earlier this year, Palestinian officials reported that an ancient 1,500-year-old Byzantine baptismal font had been discovered during renovation work at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on the West Bank.

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P. Natasha Covers Classical Archaeology news and has been with Histecho since 2017. She has a Master's degree in MA Archaeology from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. A California native, she also holds a Bachelor of science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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