Byzantine era statue of lamb found in Caesarea.
(photo credit: VERED SARIG)
In what could be described as a Christmas Eve miracle, archaeologists on Thursday unearthed a Byzantine-era statue of a lamb linked to ancient Christian culture near the Caesarea port.
The marble relic, missing its forelegs, was excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation near the site of the former entrance to the ancient port city.
Archaeologists estimate that the sculpture of a male lamb could have been used as ornamentation for a Byzantine church located in the area during the 6th to 7th centuries (CE).
The motif of a lamb has been commonly used in Christian artwork and tradition to represent Jesus Christ, who is also referred to as "the Lamb of God" in the New Testament.
IAA archaeologist Peter Gandelman said Caesarea continues to surprise archaeologists with newly-discovered artifacts.
"This morning, by chance, we discovered the amazing marble statue of a lamb," he said in reference to the Christian holiday.