Israeli and US researchers discovered a 1,500-year-old church of the Byzantine-era on the northern shore of Israel's Sea of Galilee lake, as reported Wednesday by the Kinneret Academic College (KAC).
The researchers, Mordechai Aviam, a professor with the KAC, and Steven Notely, a professor with Nyack College in New York, said the church, unearthed in the ancient village of Bethsaida, was built by the Byzantines "in honour of the apostles of Jesus Christ", the Xinhua news agency reported.
So far, the southern rooms of the church have been discovered. The church had ornate mosaic floors, some of which are well preserved.
A fragment of the marble chancel screen, decorated with a wreath, was found, as well as glass tessera gilded in gold that belonged to a wall mosaic.
In addition, the excavators also revealed an ancient Jewish village and found 20 Ottoman silver coins and five French gold coins beneath the concrete floor of "Bek's House" which was built in the 19th century.
According to Aviam, the findings have a significant contribution to the historical and archaeological knowledge of the ancient Jewish community in the Galilee region, and of great importance to the study of Christianity.