Archaeologists uncover 1,200-year-old church in Syria

Archaeologists in central Syria have unearthed a 1,200-year-old church believed to be the largest ever discovered in this Mideast country, an antiquities official said Thursday. Walid al-Assaad, the head of the Palmyra Antiquities and Museums Department said the church, dating back to the 8th century BC, was discovered recently by a joint Syrian-Polish archaeological team. The discovery took place at an excavation site in the ancient town of Palmyra, some 153 miles (245 kilometers) northeast of the capital Damascus, the official said but did not provide a more specific timing. The church is the fourth to be discovered in Palmyra - once a regional trade center and now an archaeological treasure trove that even contains oldest layers from the prehistoric era in Syria.