An unknown face painting of Christ aged 1,500 years has been found in a Byzantine church in the Negev desert of Israel.
Inventions in the ancient Byzantine village of Shivta have made archeologists happy. Even though the painting was fragmented, experts from the University of Haifa Israel were able to see the facial lines. Their research was published recently in the journal Ancient era.
The painting, believed to be from the sixth century AD, describes Jesus as a short-haired young man.
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"The face of Christ in this painting is an important discovery in itself," they explained in their paper. "This belongs to the short-haired iconographic scheme of Christ, which is especially widespread in Egypt and Syro-Palestine, but goes from later Byzantine art."
The painting was recorded in 1920, but now has more analysis. In their research, the University of Haifa archeologist explained that Christ was portrayed alongside a much larger figure, who might be John the Baptist. "The location of the scene – above [church’s] The cross-shaped Baptist letter – indicates its identification as the baptism of Christ, "said the study's author.
Experts describe the discovery of the painting as very important, noting that it preceded religious iconography used in the Orthodox Christian Church. "So far, it is the only scene of baptism-of-Christ in the present place with confidence in the pre-iconoclastic Holy Land," they said in the study. "Therefore, it can illuminate Shivta's Byzantine Christian community and Early Christian art throughout the region."
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The painting is the most interesting archeological discovery in Israel. Ship carvings, for example, were recently discovered in an ancient water tank found in a city in the Negev desert.
In a separate project, archaeologists have recently confirmed the first full spelling of "Jerusalem" on an ancient stone inscription excavated in the area of the Jerusalem International Convention Center, known as Binyanei Ha & U39.
In another project, experts found a site that might offer new insights into the ancient biblical kingdoms of David and Solomon. In separate archaeological excavations, a collection of bronze coins, the last remnants of an ancient Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire, were recently discovered near the Temple Hill in Jerusalem.
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In February, archaeologists announced the discovery of a clay seal that might have the biblical signature of Isaiah.
Other recent discoveries include the skeleton of a 3,200-year-old pregnant woman, in the Timna Valley of Israel, in a place formerly called the King Solomon's Mine.
At the location of an ancient city in the West Bank, archaeologists are also hunting for evidence of a tabernacle that was once home to Ark of the Covenant.
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Some experts also believed they had found the lost Roman city, Julias, formerly the village of Betsaida, which was the home of the apostles Jesus, Peter, Andrew and Philip.
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