Bible and archaeology news
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists have discovered a Byzantine-period church during excavations near Abu Ghosh, a town just outside of Jerusalem in Israel. The 1,500-year-old church, which measures about 52 feet in length, includes a side chapel with a baptistery shaped like a four-leaf clover.
The Byzantine church sat along a road built in the Roman period that connected Jerusalem to the Mediterranean coast.
“Along this road … other settlements and road stations have previously been discovered that served those traveling the route in ancient times,” said IAA archaeologist Annette Nagar, who headed the excavations, in a press release.
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The church was once decorated with frescoes, as indicated by red plaster remains found throughout the site. Oil lamps, coins, glass vessels, marble fragments and mother-of-pearl shells were also discovered in the building. Rooms uncovered to the west of the church were likely used as residences and for storage, according to the archaeologists.
“The finds have been documented, and we shall be studying them,” said Pablo Betzer, IAA district archaeologist for Judah. “A decision has been made with the National Roads Company to cover over the site and preserve it for future generations.”
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