leaning against a wall in the back corridor of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalema stone slab only showed evidence of graffiti left by crowds of pilgrims over the ages.
But the 2.5m x 1.5m stone turned out to be more valuable when its other side was revealed during recent renovations of the church, the traditional crucifixion and burial site of the church. Isa.
Researchers believe that the elaborate decorations they found on the hidden part of the slab indicate that it was once an ornate facade of a medieval altar that was highlighted centuries ago at one of the world’s holiest sites. Christianity.
“You can’t see it now, but it was originally decorated with pieces of precious marble, pieces of glass and small pieces of marble,” Amit Reem, a regional archaeologist in Jerusalem told the Jerusalem Antiquities Authority. Israel.
“It was glowing and this was a really cool artifact,” said Rehm, who led the research with Ilya Berkowitz of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
They identified the unique decoration method as “Cosmatesque”, which combines classical, Byzantine and early Islamic art, in which finely cut colored marble tiles are used to fill the circular reliefs on the stone.
“She was upstairs, in the precinct of the church (the Holy Sepulcher),” Reem said.
The researchers said that similarly decorated altars have been found inside churches in Rome dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries.
They believe that the antiquities in Jerusalem correspond to archaeological finds from the past and pilgrimage accounts of the consecration of the church by the Crusaders and the formation of its main altar in 1149.
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