Weird and rare.
This is how the Israel Antiquities Authority described a Roman-era gold ring with an image that early Christians used as a symbol of Jesus. The piece was found by archaeologists on the Mediterranean coast of Israel.
The agency stated that the jewel has a green gemstone carved in the form of a shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulders.
Jesus describes himself in the Bible as the “Good Shepherd.”
The ring was one of the items discovered in two shipwrecks near the ancient port of Caesarea.
Other treasures found include hundreds of Roman silver and bronze coins in the middle of the 3rd century and a large shipment of silver coins in the early 14th century.
Archaeologists have also found figures from the Roman era, in the form of an eagle and a stage actor in a comic mask. As well as bronze bells to repel evil spirits and a red gemstone ring carved with a lyre.
The Israel Antiquities Authority said that the remains of ships’ hulls and their cargo were found scattered at the seabed at a depth of about 4 meters.
“The ships may have docked nearby and were destroyed by a storm,” Jacob Charvet of the agency’s marine archeology unit said.
Caesarea was home to one of the first Christian communities and, according to the New Testament, was the place where the apostle Peter Cornelius the centurion was baptized, the first non-Jews (not a Jew, pagan, or foreigner) to convert to the Christian faith.
“This was the first case in which a non-Jew was accepted into the Christian community,” Charvet explained. “Since then, the Christian religion began to spread throughout the world.”
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