A team of Catalan archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be one of the earliest depictions of Jesus in an ancient tomb in Egypt.
The researchers uncovered an underground structure in a series of buried tombs that date to the 6th and 7th centuries. Among the Coptic, or early Christian, images painted on the walls was what lead researcher Josep Padró described as "the figure of a young man, with curly hair, dressed in a short tunic and with his hand raised as if giving a blessing."
"We could be dealing with a very early image of Jesus Christ," Padró told La Vanguardia.
Archaeologists believe the tomb belonged to a well-known writer and a family of priests in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, according to The Local.
The researchers removed 45 tons of rock to access the tombs, which are situated among several sites Padró has been excavating for the last 20 years.
The drawing is under lockdown while researchers begin to translate the inscriptions surrounding it.
In 2011, archaeologists working near the Sea of Galilee discovered a 2,000-year-old booklet with what was then thought to be one of the earliest depictions of Jesus. The booklet reportedly bore the inscription ‘Saviour of Israel’ and was found in a cave in Jordan among other ancient artifacts.
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