An Italian team of archaeologists have discovered a 5,000-year-old depiction of a nativity scene in a small cave in Egypt.
ChristianToday.com reports that the cave drawing, done in reddish-brown ocher, is particularly remarkable since it dates from 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, presumably relying on Old Testament prophecy.
It was actually discovered in 2005 in the Nile valley, but only recently made public.
“The discovery has several implications as it raises new questions on the iconography of one of the more powerful Christian symbols," stated geologist Marco Morelli, director of the Museum of Planetary Sciences in Prato, Italy.
"It's a very evocative scene which indeed resembles the Christmas nativity. But it predates it by some 3,000 years,” he continued.
The cave painting features two figures which appear to me a mother and father, with a baby being raised aloft--signifying new life. The scene also features a star in the east and a headless lion--a mythical beast common in other cave art from the same period.
"No doubt it's an intriguing drawing," Morelli said. "We didn't find similar scenes until the early Christian age."
Publication date: December 29, 2016