Skip to comments.'Church of the Ark' found on West Bank (Israel)
Posted on 12/04/2006 6:07:52 AM PST by NYer
Archaeologists claimed yesterday to have uncovered one of the world's first churches, built on a site believed to have once housed the Ark of the Covenant.
The site, emerging from the soil in a few acres in the hills of the Israeli occupied West Bank, is richly decorated with brightly coloured mosaics and inscriptions referring to Jesus Christ.
According to the team, led by Yitzhak Magen and Yevgeny Aharonovitch, the church dates to the late 4th century, making it one of Christianity's first formal places of worship.
"I can't say for sure at the moment that it's the very first church," said Mr Aharonovitch, 38, as he oversaw a team carrying out the final excavations before winter yesterday. "But it's certainly one of the first." He said the site contained an extremely unusual inscription which referred to itself, Shiloh, by name.
"That is very rare and shows early Christians treated this as an ancient, holy place," said Mr Aharonovitch. According to the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, was kept by the Israelites at Shiloh for several hundred years.
It was eventually moved to the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple that the Bible says was built by King Solomon around 1000 BC. When the temple was sacked by the Babylonians 400 years later, the Ark was lost, sparking theories about whether it had been hidden or destroyed.
The team at Shiloh is considering whether to dig under the beautiful mosaics that they have uncovered, in order to find traces of the Ark. "We have to decide whether to fix the mosaics here or take them to a museum," said Mr Aharonovitch.
Jewish residents in the modern settlement of Shiloh, which sits on a hill amidst Palestinian villages, want the team to keep digging.
David Rubin, a former mayor of Shiloh, said: "We believe that if they continue to dig they'll reach back to the time of the Tabernacle," referring to the portable place of worship where the Israelites housed the Ark.
Eastern Catholic Ping List
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list
Good Grief Guys.
That is a very Arabesque looking mosaic..........
Yeah me too.
Declaration that this is the 1,217th holiest site in Islam -- and that all non-Muslims, especially Joooos, must never set foot there ever again -- in 5, 4, 3...
Thanks for the reference!
Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.
Don't forget, Arabs and Jews are really 'blood brothers,' and that's one reason they hate each other. That old Ishmael thing, ya know.
More proof that the Bible is the word of God.
I would love to visit Israel someday and see the sights.
How'd they make them perfect overlapping circles back then?
They didn't use Microsoft Paint, did they?
I think it has more to do with that whole region, than with the Arab people. Sure, the Arabs brought that style with them when they were conquering regions. Spain, for example, has wonderful examples of what was considered Moorish architecture and ornamentation, but I don't think it's exclusively ARAB.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.