Spanish and French archaeologists excavating at the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus have discovered what could be one of the earliest known images of Jesus Christ.
At the archaeological site, which is located about 160 km south-southwest of Cairo, the team led by Prof Josep Padro from the University of Barcelona unearthed an underground stone structure dating from between the 6th to 7th centuries CE.
The structure measures 8 m long and 3.75 m deep and holds what could be one of the earliest paintings of Jesus Christ.
“An underground room dating from the 6th century CE holds an image of a young man with curly hair, dressed in a short tunic and with his hand raised as if giving a blessing,” Prof Padro explained.
He and his colleagues believe the image was painted by Coptic Christians.
Another stunning find at Oxyrhynchus is the tomb of a scribe.
“The archaeological site of Oxyrhynchus is known for the thousands of papyri found there, but any scribe was found to date,” Prof Padro said.
The archaeologists also found working tools of the scribe including an ink pot, which is still full of ink, and two pens.
There were no inscriptions referring to the identity of the scribe, but the remains show that he was 17 years old and lived during the Coptic Roman period.