Sitting and kneeling among a scattering of stones large and small, a small group of archaeologists, students and volunteers gradually dug and scraped their way down to reveal the remains of what was likely a paved road that was used by some of the earliest Christian apostles. They were digging at a site just 2 km from the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel.
Leading the group was Dr. Nicolae Roddy of Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. They were focusing on features recently revealed in an area labeled “Area C” of the excavation site plan. He and his excavation colleagues were assigned to carefully uncover and explore an area that contained finds of the Roman period of ancient Bethsaida, the fishing town that was, according to the Biblical account, the home of the New Testament Christian apostles Peter, Andrew and Phillip, and likely James and John as well. Read more.
Varna archaeologists working at a site of an ancient fortress near Cape Saint Atanas in Byala on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast have found early Christian baptismal fonts, estimated to date from the fifth to sixth centuries CE, as well as the foundations of a basilica.
The discovery of the fonts is unique in the country and one of few in the field of early Christian archaeological studies, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said on September 27 2012.
Also found near the basilica site were the foundations of accommodation, believed to have been the housing of a local bishop. Other discoveries included a spring believed to have been used as a source for holy water, a winery, bath and a kiln for ceramics. Read more.
An ancient Christian burial site with preserved murals has been uncovered during excavation work for the electricity network of the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.
The archaeological find, provisionally dated 4th c. AD, is part of the southern necropolis of ancient Philippopolis and measures 1 by 2 metres.
Its two large walls are covered with a depiction of the Resurrection of Lazarus, painted in five colours.
The two short walls are covered with a number of Christian symbols, but the Lazarus murals are believed to be unique for Bulgaria, said archaeologist Maya Martinova.
The burial site has actually been uncovered in early May, but the process of study has lasted till now due to the complicated urban infrastructure it is entangled in. Read more.
Long-unrecognized lettering confirms that first-century artifacts found within an ancient Jerusalem tomb are the earliest representations of Christianity ever found, researchers say.
Two Hebrew scholars who examined photographs showing the inside of the tomb agree that markings on an ossuary — a box made to hold human remains — are stylized letters that spell out the name of Jonah, the researchers said Thursday (April 19). Jonah was the Old Testament prophet whose story of being swallowed by a great fish was embraced by the early followers of Jesus.
The tomb, located 6.5 feet (2 meters) below an apartment building in the East Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem, was discovered in 1981 but resealed after Orthodox Jewish groups opposed its excavation. Two decades later, the group got license to enter the tomb, which has been dated to before A.D. 70. Read more.
Bulgarian archaeologists have uncovered what they believe is the oldest Christian monastery in Europea near the village of Zlatna Livada in southern Bulgaria.
According to latest archaeological research, the St. Athanasius monastery, still functioning near the village, has been founded in 344 bySt. Athanasius himself, reports the BGNES agency.
Until now, the Candida Casa monastery, founded in 371 AD in Galloway, Scotland, was believed to be the oldest Christian monastery in Europe, followed by the St. Martin monastery in the Pyrénées-Orientales, France (373 AD).
Archaeologists have examined objects in a hermit’s cave and shrine located near the present St. Athanasius monastery in Bulgaria, and found evidence that the great saint might have resided there. Read more.
The archaeological examination by robotic camera of an intact first century tomb in Jerusalem has revealed a set of limestone Jewish ossuaries or “bone boxes” that are engraved with a rare Greek inscription and a unique iconographic image that the scholars involved identify as distinctly Christian.
The four-line Greek inscription on one ossuary refers to God “raising up” someone and a carved image found on an adjacent ossuary shows what appears to be a large fish with a human stick figure in its mouth, interpreted by the excavation team to be an image evoking the biblical story of Jonah.
In the earliest gospel materials the “sign of Jonah,” as mentioned by Jesus, has been interpreted as a symbol of his resurrection. Jonah images in later “early” Christian art, such as images found in the Roman catacombs, are the most common motif found on tombs as a symbol of Christian resurrection hope. In contrast, the story of Jonah is not depicted in any first century Jewish art and iconographic images on ossuaries are extremely rare, given the prohibition within Judaism of making images of people or animals. Read more.
A team of Derry archaeology enthusiasts have discovered what they believe could be the oldest known church bell in the world.
Templemore Archeaology (TA) discovered the bronze bell stored in a farmyard in Shantallow, where it has remained without being studied by experts since being excavated as part of a building project in the 1930s. The artefact, which measures around one foot in height, is in good condition and shows evidence of Christian design.
Ian Leitch, of Templemore Archaeology, explains that four symbols decorate the bell and one is quite clearly visible as “Our Lord on the cross”. “Another may be St Patrick,” he added.
The team believes the bell dates from 15th century - 1411 to be exact - and may have been made in France. Mr Leitch adds: “According to the Guinness Book of Records 2009, there is a set of bells in Ipswich in England and one of the five bells has a date of 1440. This bell is said to be the oldest church bell in the world.”
“This year marks the 600th anniversary of the bell. It is written that somewhere North of Derry city there once stood an abbey or church within the Greater Shantallow area and it is said to have been inhabited by either nuns or monks.” Read more.
Fifteen Anglo-Saxon skeletons unearthed in Oxfordshire last year have been re-interred in a church memorial garden.
A requiem mass was held on Saturday before a wicker coffin containing all the remains was buried at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Bicester.
The Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, whose diocese covers Bicester, led the Roman Catholic ceremony.
The burial led to a disagreement with the church and local archaeologists, who wanted the bones put in a museum.
The skeletons, exhumed from what is thought to be an old Christian burial ground, were reinterred to respect the original burial rites.
James Lewis of Thames Valley Archaeological Services said: “As archaeologists we’d much rather they had gone into a museum, which would be available for future analysis. Read more.