Archaeologists excavating at the Balatlar Church in Sinop, Turkey say they found what they believe to be the cross Jesus was crucified on, reports the Hurriyet Daily News.
A number of human skeletons were unearthed in the dig as well as a stone chest with objects said to be connected to Jesus Christ. The items, or relics, are believed to have been kept by a “holy person.”
“We have found a holy thing in a chest,” said the head of the excavations, Professor Gülgün Köroğlu. “It is a piece of a cross, and we think it was [part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified]. This stone chest is very important to us. It has a history and is the most important artifact we have unearthed so far.”
Researchers aren’t sure yet of who owned the chest, but say that it was probably a religious person of some importance, and that person probably believed the cross relic was the real thing.
The Balatlar Church is an ancient seventh-century building located on the shores of the Black Sea. The items were sent back to a lab for testing a dating for further analysis.
Many churches claim to possess relics of the “true cross,” although their authenticity is not fully accepted by scholars and scientists. Those close to the site, however, believe the piece found is authentic and proves that Christ lived, died and was resurrected as the Bible goes.