Updated May 1, 2014 4:33 AM CDT (Newser) – Archaeologists exploring the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchu believe they have uncovered one of the earliest images of Jesus ever found. Year Painted: c.4th century. Art is an amazing way through which we may better pray and contemplate the depths of Christianity. 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A group of Spanish archaeologists claim they may have recovered one of the earliest images of Jesus Christ, painted on the inside of a 6th Century, underground structure near burial tombs in Upper Egypt alongside Coptic inscriptions and plant motifs. The large drawing was found in the remains of the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus in Egypt which was originally located on a ceremonial… Alexamenos graffito, 1st century. In 2010, Tabor and Jacobovici entered the sealed tomb without actually opening it. Even earlier images of Jesus Christ have been found from the 2nd and 3rd Centuries in the Roman Catacombs. Is this the first ever portrait of Jesus? “In order to carry out future campaigns, it is necessary to excavate an attached structure. Finally, the archaeologists reached a rectangular crypt measuring about 26 feet long and 12 feet deep. Once inside, the archaeologists found five or six coats of paint on the walls, the last of which was from the Coptic period of the first Christians. Painted on the walls of a mysterious underground stone structure in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, about 100 miles south of Cairo, the image shows a young man with curly hair and dressed in a short tunic. They date the image to somewhere between the 6th and 7th century. Using 8-inch, custom-made diamond tooth drills, the team drilled two holes into the basement floor above the burial. “He raises his hand as if making a blessing,” said Egyptologist Josep Padró, who has spent over 20 years excavating sites in the area. There are several ways to read the inscription, but according to Tabor, almost all of them have to do with resurrection, some linking directly to Jesus. Translators are currently decoding the Coptic inscriptions adorning the structure's walls to determine if the text poses any reference to the image of the curly-haired man. All Rights Reserved. It contained nine carved burial niches with skeletal remains and several limestone ossuaries, or bone boxes. 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