News24

Ancient church found - claim

2011-02-03 09:32

Jerusalem - The pursuit of a gang of grave robbers has led to the discovery of an ancient church outside Jerusalem that may contain the burial place of the biblical prophet Zechariah, Israeli authorities said on Wednesday.

The hill-top church was destroyed by an earthquake some 1 300 years ago and lay partly buried until detectives from Israel's Antiquities Authority, pursuing a gang of antiquity thieves, noticed an elaborate doorpost poking through the earth.

The robbers got away - they were caught a few months later at a site nearby - but after weeks of digging, archaeologists uncovered the remains of the church. It was about the size of a basketball court and contained fallen marble pillars and a nearly pristine 10m-long mosaic floor.

Beneath the church's altar is a burial chamber that the Antiquities Authority said may have been the tomb of the prophet Zechariah, known from the eponymous book in the Bible, written around 520 BC.

The claim, which a number of experts have based on Christian sources and an ancient diagram known as the Madaba Map, has not been proved and is still being studied, they said.

Unique discovery

"It's been years since we've made a find like this," said Amir Ganor, head of the Antiquities Robbery Prevention unit.

Ganor is an archaeologist who carries a handgun. His team spends much of its time trying to catch thieves, spending nights lying in ambush or setting up stings for crooked antiquities dealers. The thieves often vandalise or destroy archaeological remains before Ganor's unit can catch them.

But in this case, he said, a group of Palestinians from the West Bank who were plundering ancient coins revealed the location of the lost church, some 40km south of Jerusalem.

Shai Bartura, Ganor's deputy, said the building, which was used between the 5th and 7th Century AD, was a unique discovery because of its size and good condition.

Like many ancient structures, it was built on even older foundations dating back to the Roman Empire and the period of the second Jewish Temple. It includes a subterranean complex of caves and tunnels used by Jewish rebels fighting the Romans in the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132 AD.

Comments
  • Mayaziwe - 2011-02-03 10:01

    Eishhhh...you poor fool. I'll pray for you.

      pointblankza - 2011-02-03 12:02

      Rather pray for murderers and rapists...

      pointblankza - 2011-02-03 12:02

      ...and then tell me how that is working out for us.

  • Mark - 2011-02-03 10:03

    Archaeology is one of the most fascinating sciences, and the discovery of any historic building or artifact is fascinating, especially as very little written information from those periods is available. History is a very important aspect of our modern lives. Mazaltov.

      ctjohn01 - 2011-02-03 10:47

      Pity how few people realize it. Robbers that vandalize are certainly not stealing to put food on the table. So sad that they dont even care about the irreparable damage they are doing, and information lost for EVER through their damage.

  • kingoftomorr - 2011-02-03 10:54

    @otterkebotter, and the day will come when u realise that you have wasted this beautiful time on the beautiful rock bogged down by a book written and rewritten by some of the most evil men over the last 2000 years, what ever man good luck! i dont need dogmitic draconian rubbish to give my life meaning

      Barry M - 2011-02-03 11:33

      I take it you mean dogmatic!? At least you got draconian right!

      otterkebotter - 2011-02-03 11:38

      You poor dwaas, you will never really know what a meaningfull life is, although you think you do, you will always be a step behind and your life will tumble and you wouldnt understand why, I am truly from the bottom of my heart sorry for you, but I still believe that the Mighty all God have the power to help you!

      pointblankza - 2011-02-03 12:07

      @otterkebotter, yawn.... Self righteous rubbish.

      Irené - 2011-02-03 12:15

      Otter whatever- Whether or not you want to accept it- a person can lead a good and fruitful life without the guidance by some outdated book and highly contested book- (and king of tomorrow is right) written by warmongers over the centuries who wanted to profit from keeping the peasants meek and mild through threats of eternal damnation. Sure there are some lovely passages in the bible that focus on loving each other and doing onto others as you want them to do onto you- but the rest of the text is made up of human sacrifices, wars, plundering and pilaging cultures that are not Jewish etc. What a load of crock that we need that s*** in our life to guide us on the right path. I like to think that us non-believers were blessed with reason and can therefore tell right from wrong- its called a conscience. I do good because I want to not because a God threatened me with fire and brimstone. How pathetic you people are, you are so selfrighteous, yet you cannot think for yourselves. And let's not start on the serious concerns I have about anyone who KNOWS what GOD wants. I think you guys confuse you EGO with a GOD. Oh and once again I have to ask this- why does god help some, and leave others over to the mercy of the world? Like Haiti/ what did those poor people do to deserve that?? Next time youre in touch with good, ask him for me wont you?

      Barry M - 2011-02-03 15:05

      @Irené - abso-bloody-lutely - Can't believe such a bunch of dimwits who sincerely believe every living species on this planet (with the exception of the unicorn) lived within walking distance of Noah's Wendy-House. What a crock of sh!t.

      Frank - 2011-04-06 09:57

      @all against the Bible. This Book you refer to has been accurate in its prophecies, it prophecied even about you. If you know the Book so well then you would realise everything going on in the world write now was spoken of thousands of years ago by Gods prophets. they all talk about the end times when these things would happen. Funny enough When paul wrote about the end times he was right in referring to you.. In the last day scoffers will come,..... Check it out It is in there.

  • otterkebotter - 2011-02-03 11:52

    @Prava Ja: That would not be doing myself a favor, I will not influence myself with the sources that knock people off the right path. It was not meant as judging but rather informing of what they are missing as their eyes are clearly closed. Ill tell you what is an eye opener for me, the way you guys are standing up for nothing! Strongs bru, you gonna need it!

      A THEIST - 2011-02-18 04:04

      REALITY CHECK OTTER !

  • mikeas7 - 2011-02-03 12:52

    @otterkebotter: When you were small, your parents told you about Father Christmas, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny. And you believed in them. Then as you got older and began to question, you discovered the truth: Your parents had just made them up in order to manipulate you: "if you aren't good, Father Christmas won't bring you a present". Now it is time for you to re-examine that old book and associated beliefs that your parents and your church have told you about. Research its origins, its original political purpose, its validity, etc and if you still believe then that is your right, BUT please try to keep from bashing those who no longer accept these myths. After all, the greatest contradiction of christianity is the fact that tolerance is central to the christian ideology, but is often not practised by christians ... like you.

      otterkebotter - 2011-02-03 13:22

      Whatever, load of crap, you people really funny, you in the same boat and will be in the same storm, if my talk dont convice you my walk will confuse you...

      Mork - 2011-02-03 13:35

      @otterkebotter: Where you were born totally dictates what religion you believe... It is a throw of a dice! If your parents are indian and live in India, you'd be hindu. If you were born in the middle east, you'd be muslim. Circumstance and upbringing dictates religion... And then if you were to do a little research you'd find that most religions are based on Early Eqypt religions and later Pagan sects, Constantine used most of the values and lore from this and called it christianity. Anyway, it is always a good idea to be open minded, and to question, don't take anything for granted for the sole reason of 'because that is what I was told'. The human species is not that special that we should have a special place where all that glitters is gold etc... we are self serving self destructive animals... Extremely naive and easily duped by charlatans of the worst kind. amen

      Shistirrer - 2011-02-03 14:28

      OK, now you non-believers/atheists/whatever have got me confused. Uhhh... The Bible "made up" by Constantine? Really? If you take the three desert religions: Christianity, Judaism, Muslim - they all have EXACTLY the same origin. So Constantine made up three religions - yeah, right. Or is it only Christ you don't believe in, but God the Father is OK, because there's no way Constantine could have made Him up for three religions? Tell me, how is it possible that three religions that diverged more than 2000 years ago, tell exactly the same story of the Old Testament? What about the Dead Sea Scrolls? A hoax to scare children? In my opinion you are all "closet" believers, because only a fool would discount all the evidence, but you choose not to believe, so you don't have to be accountable for any immorality.

      Mork - 2011-02-03 15:24

      @Shistirrer: No-one side the Bible was made up by Constantine. Only that Christianty "The religion" was. And of course all religions will be more or less in line as they are all plagarised from previous religions. If anyone is in the closet, it is you sir... Perhaps you should hit the light switch. You state "but you choose not to believe, so you don't have to be accountable for any immorality." Screw you Buddy. You choose to believe for that very reason you have stated... becasue your fairy in the sky will forgive all your trangressions. I take full responsiblility for my life and my actions... no excuses.

      Phlegm - 2011-02-03 15:54

      Absolutely Mike, the good old judgmental Christians at it again! Sadly their religion stemmed from a chap who stood up around 2000 years ago and claimed to be the son of God, imagine trying to do that nowadays, everyone would think you are a chop!

  • Piet Smit - 2011-02-03 16:28

    Klomp dom bliksems is ook maar lekker naief.... hahaha.... Dom brode, julle sal brand in hell, en terwyl julle brand, sal julle terug dink aan die kans wat julle gehad het om dinge reg te stel... @Prava ja: It's actually the people that's NOT in church that's doing the raping and the murdering etc.... @kingoftomorr: idiot...

      Irené - 2011-02-03 16:47

      Liewe Piet Kom ek kyk of ek dit op jou vlak kan stel- julle is die naive bliksems. wanneer laas het jy jou bybel gelees? You have no right as an xtian to decide who goes to hell. Do you recall that saying in the bible about judge not lest you be judged. And you think you can decide whether or not we go to hell? let me say this again. this GOD you guys so lovingly refer to is right inside your heads its called the EGO. Because we disagree with YOU, we'll go to hell. Man glad to see that a lifetime in the church has brought you reason and understanding. NOT. you selfrigheous lot need a bible to dictate what is right and wrong? We have what we call a conscience, so we feel bad when we do bad, and feel good when we do good. Thats all guidance I need, not threats of eternal damnation. Pityful moron.

  • A THEIST - 2011-02-18 03:58

    Ancient Basket ball court ! that sounds more like it !

  • A THEIST - 2011-02-18 04:10

    Piet Pompies Smit darling ! you very funny !

  • guytheitguy2010 - 2011-02-18 10:52

    The 3 major religeons have their roots in Sacramental plants, the greeks and as a result the other side of western culture too. The jews, the sufi's and the christians. Peganum Harmala, the red in your flying persian rugs and smoke in your incense, Acacia trees, the wood in your ark and holy incense bowls and Arundo Donax, the music in your flute and the likes. Lets too not forget about "Kaneh Bosem" and the "hashishans"... Well done to you athiests for the voice of reason, but there is more to the tales than what meets the eye..

  • guytheitguy2010 - 2011-02-18 15:50

    Also read "the sacred mushroom and the cross" by John Allegro. He was the primary western translator and team leader in the Catholics Dead Sea scroll digs and translations for decades. Also take into account that the plant and archeological understandings have greatly improved sice then and there are quite a few new theories as to what plant combinations were actually used and depicted.

  • guytheitguy2010 - 2011-02-18 15:53

    Also read "the sacred mushroom and the cross" by John Allegro. He was the primary western translator and team leader in the Catholics Dead Sea scroll digs and translations for decades. Also take into account that the plant and archeological understandings have greatly improved sice then and there are quite a few new theories as to what plant combinations were actually used and depicted.

      guytheitguy2010 - 2011-02-18 21:01

      Admin please delete this and below, triple post, internet going up and down, browser resending cache sorry...

  • Thabo - 2011-02-18 15:55

    Also read "the sacred mushroom and the cross" by John Allegro. He was the primary western translator and team leader in the Catholics Dead Sea scroll digs and translations for decades. Also take into account that the plant and archeological understandings have greatly improved sice then and there are quite a few new theories as to what plant combinations were actually used and depicted.

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