Gaza Construction Workers Unearth Ruins of 1,500 Year Old Byzantine Church

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Gaza Construction Workers Uncover Byzantine Church

Gaza -- Construction workers in Gaza discovered a Byzantine church dating back 1,500 years.  The findings included segments of marble pillars with ornate Corinthian capitals and a foundation stone with the Greek symbol for Christ.  So far, fifteen pieces of the church have been found.

"Our first thought is that the site is a cathedral or a church from the Byzatine period," said Jamal Abu Rida, the general director of antiquities ministry.  "During that era, there was a great interest among Byzantine rulers to build churches in the Gaza strip."

During that time, Gaza was a seaport with a diverse population of Greeks, Romans, Jews, Egyptians, and Persians.  Pagen temples were destroyed in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and church building was on the uptick.

"I dare say the place is of historical value," said Abu Rida.  He estimates the ruins were from the 395-600AD era.

The discovery was found this past weekend when construction crews were preparing the ground for construction of a shopping center.

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