Excavations find 1500 year old etchings on church wall near Gaza

Excavations find 1500 year old etchings on church wall near Gaza

A 1,500 year old Byzantine-era etching of a ship has been found on a wall at an archaeological dig at a church near Gaza.

The site which is just south of the Bodouin city of Rahat in the Negev desert. It is believed that the church to be one of the first stops for Christian pilgrims doing tours of the Holy land. It's likely they would have arrived at the nearby port via the Gaza sea.

The image was discovered while archaeological work was taking place at the church.

The ancient church lies just south of the Bedouin city of Rahat, in an area earmarked for the development of new neighbourhoods.

The ancient church is not far from an old Roman road that led to Beersheba from the coastal port in Gaza.

It's thought this church and the Rahat area would have been the first stop for pilgrims after disembarking, before they traveled to see Christian sites like the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem and the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

The etching of the ship would have been a mark from one or a group of pilgrims left to show how they arrived.

Ships themselves have also been used as Christian symbols and were used in ancient times to represent the Church tossed about in a sea of worldly disbelief carrying human souls.