Strata
Cave Yields Cross Carvings and Holy Stones
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Last March, a team led by University of Haifa archaeologist Adam Zertal happened upon a small, unassuming entrance of a cave while conducting an archaeological survey in the Jordan Valley north of Jericho. Peeking through the narrow opening in the rock face, however, Zertal quickly realized he had made a big discovery—a really big one.
Zertal and his team had stumbled across the largest manmade cave ever discovered in Israel, outside of Jerusalem, a massive underground hall of more than an acre with a 10-foot-high ceiling supported by 20 giant rock-hewn pillars.
The cave’s walls were covered with several Roman and Christian symbols, including Latin letters, a zodiac design, a possible depiction of a Roman legion banner and more than 30 crosses.
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