Biblical archaeology offers a fascinating lens into the lives of key individuals living during Old and New Testament times. Of late, numerous items have been discovered that are heralded as offering important context to the holy book's contents. The latest find comes from archaeologists working in Turkey who believe they may have have uncovered the most fascinating relic yet -- a piece of Jesus Christ's cross.
Professor Gülgün Köro?lu holding a piece of the chest that is said to possible hold a piece of Jesus Christ's cross (Photo credit: NBC News)
This particular item, found in a stone chest, was uncovered in the ruins of Balatlar Church in Sinop, Turkey, LiveScience reported. The container, found at the house of worship that was constructed in A.D. 660, is described as housing "a piece of a cross."
"We have found a holy thing in a chest. It is a piece of a cross, and we think it was [part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified]," lead excavator Professor Gülgün Köro?lu told Hurriyet Daily News. "This stone chest is very important to us. It has a history and is the most important artifact we have unearthed so far."
NBC has more about the fascinating discovery:
Köro?l is a art historian and an archaeologist at the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts in Turkey. She said that the chest that was found is a symbolic coffin -- one that houses the relics of a person who was revered as "holy" (in this case, Jesus or a saint).
The items within the chest, described by NBC as "fragments," are said to be associated with Christ's crucifixion. The chest was transported to a lab, where it will be examined further.
The educator and her team have been working at the site since 2009.
The claim that this is a portion of Christ's cross is of course controversial and will likely be debated. This isn't the first time that scientists and archaeologists have claimed to possibly possess a piece of the coveted wooden cross on which the Christian savior was crucified.
This is the latest in a slew of Bible-era finds (read more about these archeological discoveries).