Breaking News from Syria
Wednesday January 23rd 2008, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Archeology

Third century, Christian, Aramaic inscriptions … I suspect this is gonna be significant.

DAMASCUS, Syria – Archaeologists in northeast Syria have unearthed a 3rd century cemetery in the shape of a cross, the country’s official news agency reported Wednesday.

Ten skeletons, along with pottery and coins, were found at the site in Hassaka, 441 miles northeast of the capital Damascus, SANA reported.

Some of the artifacts contained inscriptions in the ancient Aramaic language, it said.

Wednesday’s find came a day after SANA reported that archaeologists had found a Roman-era cemetery in Latakia, northwest of Damascus. That cemetery was believed to date back about 1,000 years, SANA said.

Also according to the report, Wednesday’s find is not the same as that of another cemetery, of the same era and on the same location, announced last November.

That Roman-era cemetery in this history-rich country were archaeological discoveries are common, was also in the shape of a cross. It was not immediately clear how far from each other the two cemeteries are.


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Thsi is a significant find indeed. For one thing, most scholars insist that the cross was not used as a Christian symbol until the fourth century, because they have no evidence of its use earlier. Well, it looks like now they have some evidence of earlier use.

Secondly, I suspect (though I cannot prove it) that by the late third century large swaths of what is now Syria and Turkey had Christian majorities. The fact of an openly Christian cemetery certainly bolsters my theory.

Comment by Carl Sommer 01.24.08 @ 10:46 am



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