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Jerusalem dig unearths Christian icon

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/jerusalem-dig-unearths-christian-icon/story-e6frg6so-1226181938178 Jerusalem dig unearths Christian icon From: AP
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2011
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      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/jerusalem-dig-unearths-christian-icon/story-e6frg6so-1226181938178

      Jerusalem dig unearths Christian icon

      From: AP
      November 01, 2011 12:00AM

      A TINY, exquisitely made box found on an excavated street in Jerusalem
      is a token of Christian faith from 1400 years ago, Israeli archeologists
      say.

      The box, carved from an animal bone, decorated with a cross on the lid
      and measuring 2cm by 1.5cm, was probably carried by a Christian around
      the end of the 6th century AD, according to Yana Tchekhanovets of the
      Israel Antiquities Authority, one of the directors of the excavation
      where the box was found.

      When the lid is removed, the remains of two portraits are visible in
      paint and gold leaf. A man and a woman, they are probably Christian
      saints and possibly Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

      The box was found outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City in the
      remains of a Byzantine-era road. Uncovered two years ago, it was treated
      by preservation experts and researched before it was unveiled at an
      archeological conference last week. The box offers the first
      archeological evidence that the use of icons in the Byzantine period was
      not limited to church ceremonies.
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      Part of a similar box was found in Jordan three decades ago, but this is
      the only well-preserved whole example found so far. Similar icons are
      carried today by some Christians, especially from the eastern Orthodox
      churches.

      The relic was found in the City of David excavation, named for the
      biblical monarch thought to have ruled a Jewish kingdom from the site.

      The politically sensitive dig is in the Palestinian area of Silwan, just
      outside the Old City walls in east Jerusalem, the section of the city
      captured by Israeli forces in 1967 and still claimed by Palestinians as
      their capital.
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