Spanish archaeologists believe they have stumbled upon the earliest known image of Jesus Christ while doing work in an ancient Egyptian tomb.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the University of Barcelona scientists believe the tomb was the final resting place for a scribe and several priests, due to the type of artifacts they were able to dig out.
The archaeologists are attempting to translate the inscriptions that are written around the figure they believe is the early Jesus Christ image and confirm who the man really is.
Another reason the Catalan group believes this could possible be a sixth or seventh century image of Jesus Christ is the tomb's location. It sits on a processional route used by pilgrims between the Nile river and an ancient temple in the city of Oxyrhynchu.
Dr. Josep Padró, Emeritus Professor at the University of Barcelona, told La Vanguardia newspaper that the image is that of "a young man with curly hair, dressed in a short tunic and with his hand raised as if giving a blessing," and added, "We could be dealing with a very early image of Jesus Christ."
The group of researchers made up of experts from the University of Barcelona, the Catalan Egyptology Society, and the University of Montpellier are not sure of what the purpose of the building was, but said that the underground structure made of stone is of "excellent" quality.
Is this the earliest image of #Jesus? Have they compared it to #ShroudOfTurin? http://t.co/mpm2FEUBiZ pic.twitter.com/5mymHtJA1T
— AmericasMostHaunted (@amhaunted) May 1, 2014
This images believed to be an early image of The Lord Jesus Christ discovered by Spanish archeologist. pic.twitter.com/sbp2nAceTa
— Anwar Antoun (@AntounAantoun) May 1, 2014
An early image of #Jesus is found in an Egyptian tomb. Read here: http://t.co/jgX8XrMuSl #discovery #archaeology pic.twitter.com/Hf3G0Eotf5In recent years, scientists have attempted to accurately come up with an image of what Jesus Christ actually looked like, as throughout the centuries he is mostly depicted as a white man with long hair, very fair skin, and many times, blue eyes. This may be highly unrealistic, considering the area of the world he came from.
— Mappamundi (@MappamundiUK) May 1, 2014
Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, Mohamed Ibrahim, is now personally involved in the dig, and the country's Ministry will continue to develop the site to preserve the early Christian artwork.
According to the Bible, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt to flee from King Herod, after he ordered all male children to be killed when he learned of the birth of the new King. Images of Jesus Christ in Egypt are common when depicting the Nativity.
[Image via Twitter]