Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Late-antique church found in Gaza

ARCHAEOLOGY: Remnants From Ancient Church Unearthed in Gaza by Construction Workers. Archaeologists think pillars discovered say may be part of a Byzantine church dating from around 1,500 years ago (Reuters).
Construction workers in Gaza have discovered ancient ruins that archaeologists say may be part of a Byzantine church dating from around 1,500 years ago, the Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said Monday.

The findings include segments of marble pillars with ornate Corinthian capitals, one nearly three meters long, and a 90-centimeter foundation stone bearing a Greek symbol for Christ. Fifteen pieces have been uncovered, with excavations continuing.

“Our first thought is that the site is a cathedral or a church from the Byzantine period,” said Jamal Abu Rida, the general director of the antiquities ministry.


The discovery was first made on Saturday, as construction workers prepared the ground for a shopping center. The antiquities ministry was called in and immediately uncovered three large pieces. Then a dozen more were found.

Abu Rida said the preparation for a shopping center may have to be halted should excavations lead to the discovery of more pieces. Construction workers showed no sign of stopping Monday, with diggers shifting huge mounds of earth.

“Our mission is to preserve our Palestinian history before Islam and after Islam,” said Abu Rida.