Construction workers in the Gaza Strip have discovered what Palestinian tourism officials say they believe to be a Christian religious site, dating back to the sixth century.
ABC News reports that the workers uncovered the site while working on construction of a shopping center.
Heyam al-Bitar, the research director for the Hamas-run Tourism and Antiquities Ministry, said that the discovery of the ancient church included remnants of marble Corinthian pillars and a foundation stone over 35 inches long bearing a Greek symbol for Christ.
Haaretz.com reports that 15 pieces of the ancient site have been uncovered with excavations continuing.
“Our first thought is that the site is a cathedral or a church from the Byzantine period,” said Jamal Abu Rida, the general director of the Antiquities Ministry.
“During that era, there was a great interest among the Byzantine rulers to build churches in the Gaza Strip.”
The artifacts will be taken to the Ministry’s museum for further study.
Although the discovery was of a Christian church, today the Gaza Strip is primarily home to Muslims, with only a small Christian community.
Publication date: April 5, 2016