'Jesus' face' uncovered at ancient church in the Israeli desert

'Jesus' face' uncovered at ancient church in the Israeli desert

- A 1,500-year-old painting claimed to be Jesus’ face has been found at an ancient church in the Isreali desert

- By the said painting, Jesus is said to be wearing a short-hair and looking like a youth

- Archeologists at the University of Haifa have said the painting also has a larger figure with Jesus which is suspected to be John the Baptist

A previously-unknown 1,500-year-old painting of Christ’s face has been uncovered at a Byzantine church in Israel’s Negev desert, according to a report by foxnews.com.

The discovery in the ancient Byzantine village of Shivta has reportedly thrilled archaeologists.

Although the painting is fragmented, experts from Israel’s University of Haifa were able to make out the facial outline, according to the report.

The Baptistry Chamber (on right) where the painting was found. Photo credit: Fox News

The Baptistry Chamber (on right) where the painting was found. Photo credit: Fox News

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Their research was reportedly published recently in the journal Antiquity.

The painting, which is believed to date from the sixth century A.D., depicts Jesus as a short-haired youth.

Christ’s face in this painting is an important discovery in itself, It belongs to the iconographic scheme of a short-haired Christ, which was especially widespread in Egypt and Syro-Palestine, but gone from later Byzantine art,” they explained in their paper

The painting was briefly noted in the 1920s, but has now undergone more analysis. In their study, the University of Haifa archaeologists explain that Christ is depicted next to a much larger figure, which is probably John the Baptist.

The face of Christ with proposed reconstruction. Photo credit: Fox News

The face of Christ with proposed reconstruction. Photo credit: Fox News

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The location of the scene—above the [church’s] crucifix-shaped Baptist font—suggests its identification as the baptism of Christ,” said the study’s authors.

Experts describe the painting’s discovery as extremely important, noting that it predates the religious iconography used in the Orthodox Christian Church.

Thus far, it is the only in situ baptism-of-Christ scene to date confidently to the pre-iconoclastic Holy Land,” they said in the study.

“Therefore, it can illuminate Byzantine Shivta’s Christian community and Early Christian art across the region,” the study's authors added.

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The painting is the latest fascinating archaeological discovery in Israel. Engravings of ships, for example, were recently found on an ancient water cistern discovered in a city in the Negev desert.

In a separate project, archaeologists recently confirmed the first full spelling of “Jerusalem” on an ancient stone inscription excavated in the area of Jerusalem’s International Convention Center, known as Binyanei Ha'Uma.

In another project, experts discovered a site that may offer fresh insight into the ancient biblical kingdom of David and Solomon.

In a separate archaeological dig, a trove of bronze coins, the last remnants of an ancient Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, were recently discovered near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

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