A team of Catalan archaeologists have discovered what they believe to among the oldest depictions of Jesus made by the earliest Coptic Christians in Egypt.
The researchers uncovered an underground structure in a series of buried tombs that date to the 6th and 7th centuries. Among the Coptic, or early Christian, images painted on the walls was what lead researcher Josep Padró described as “the figure of a young man, with curly hair, dressed in a short tunic and with his hand raised as if giving a blessing.”
The researchers removed 45 tons of rock to access walls where the painting was found, which are situated among several sites Padró has been excavating for the last 20 years.
The drawing is under lockdown while researchers begin to translate the inscriptions surrounding it.
In 2011, archaeologists working near the Sea of Galilee discovered a 2,000-year-old booklet with what was then thought to be one of the earliest depictions of Jesus. The booklet reportedly bore the inscription ‘Saviour of Israel’, but its authenticity was later questioned.