Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fifth century cathedral discovered in northeastern Syria

A small cathedral with a skeleton remains in it, dating back to the Byzantine era, was unearthed by the Syrian excavation team in Tal Al-Hasaka site, northeastern Syria.

The cathedral, which dates back to the fifth century, is 18 meters long, and includes a four meter wide northern hall, a 6.5 meter wide middle hall and a three meter wide southern hall, Al-Hasaka Archeology Director Abdul-Maseeh Baghdo said in a press release on Saturday.

It also includes two column bases, and the floor is inlayed with reddish-yellow baked clay.

In the cathedral's northern hall, an entrance leading to the service area was discovered where a grape squeezer and a skeleton of a human who died of torture were found.

The excavation team also found the cathedral's stairway exit consisting of four steps, with another four steps facing them the opposite way.

Moreover, the team found intact columns reaching five meters in height with ornaments, as well as the cathedral's collapsed ceiling which was built from baked clay and basalt stones.

A bimah - a platform where a religious preacher stands - was uncovered, confirming that this site is a cathedral, according to the Archeological director.