By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Feb 4, 2011
A 1,500-year-old church was discovered in Israel and has surprisingly well-preserved mosaics of various animals and other depictions, according to media reports this week.
Archaeologists say that the church was used between the fifth and seventh centuries AD, adding that the ancient site of worship was built atop a synagogue that was used 500 years before, according to The Associated Press.
The Byzantine church was discovered during excavations of Horbat Midras in the Judean Hills.
"Researchers believe that in light of an analysis of the Christian sources ... the church at Horbat Madras is a memorial church designed to mark the tomb of the prophet Zechariah," the Israel Antiquities Authority said, according to AFP.
The well-preserved mosaic was believed to be the floor used at the church, say archaeologists. Photos of the mosaic showed various animals, including what appear to be a lions, pheasants, and fish.
"It is unique in its craftsmanship and level of preservation," Amir Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority told AP.