The image depicts Jesus with short hair. Image Credit: Facebook / Dror Maayan / University of Haifa
Archaeologists have partially reconstructed a 1,500-year-old depiction of Jesus when he was a young man.
The 6th-century image, which is so weathered that it is barely visible, was discovered on the wall of an ancient Byzantine church in the village of Shivta, Israel.
It is considered to be an important find because depictions of the young short-haired Jesus, while common in Egypt and Syro Palestine, were very rarely found in later Byzantine artwork.
The reconstruction of the image was put together by researchers at Israel's University of Haifa.
"The figure has short curly hair, a prolonged face, large eyes, and an elongated nose," the study authors wrote. "The neck and upper portion are also observable."
"To the left of the figure, another, much larger face surrounded by a halo is visible. Paint traces throughout the apse suggest that these faces were part of a wider scene, which could contain additional figures."
With enough time, it should be possible to reconstruct more of the original image.
"It is the only in situ baptism-of-Christ scene to date confidently to the pre-iconoclastic Holy Land," the study authors wrote. "Therefore, it can illuminate Byzantine Shivta's Christian community and Early Christian art across the region."
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