Archaeologists unearthed a 1,500-year-old structure, believed to be a church, in the northern city of Acre, Israel.
It is the first time the Israel Antiquities Authority has found solid proof that the city of Acre played a role in early Christianity.
“This is an important discovery for the study of Acre,” said Nurit Page, head of the excavation, according to Israel’s Haaretz Daily Newspaper.
Page noted that this discovery is particularly important because “no remnants from the Byzantine Period had been found other than living quarters near the [Mediterranean] Sea.”
The ancient structure is believed to be a church because of its size, which indicates that it is a public building, and the style of the building, including the roofing tiles.
Excavation teams regularly find ancient church and tombs in Israel, which naturally lead to comparisons with Bible stories for historical accuracy.
Last February, archaeologists found a wall in Jerusalem that dates back to the time of King Solomon and matches the Bible’s description of that era. The wall was unearthed outside of Jerusalem’s Old City and dates back about 3,000 years, said archaeologist Dr. Eliat Mazar.
Mazar said the passage in I Kings 3:1 describes a city that is most likely connected with the ancient wall of the City of David that surrounds the temple and new palace built by King Solomon. The wall is located between the City of David and the south wall that surrounds the Temple Mount.
Uncovering the ancient wall was a joint project between the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and Hebrew University.