A number of ancient valuables have been found near Israel’s port of Caesarea including a gold ring containing an engraving of the Good Shepherd. The discovery of the treasures was the result of efforts by the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The usage of the image of the Good Shepherd is one of Christianity’s oldest known images representing Jesus as the kind shepherd of humanity. The port of Caesarea is also of high historical significance in Christianity as it used to shelter one of the earliest Christian communities and also acted as one of the first Christian centers.
CBN News reports:
The Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority discovered ancient treasures from two shipwrecks off the coast of Caesarea in Israel. According to Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Marine Archaeology Unit, “The ships were probably anchored nearby and were wrecked by a storm.”
The artifacts included a special gold ring engraved with the figure of the Good Shepherd. The theme of the Good Shepherd is throughout the Bible, in the Old Testament, Isaiah 40:11 says “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” The image is also one of the earliest and oldest images used in Christianity for symbolizing Jesus as humanity’s compassionate shepherd. Jesus even called himself a shepherd, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11.
The ring was discovered near the port of Caesarea, a site of great significance in Christian tradition as it was one of the earliest centers of Christianity and housed one of the first Christian communities. At first, only Jews belonged to this community and it was here, that the apostle Peter baptized the Roman centurion Cornelius in Caesarea Acts 10.
Other valuables that were found included hundreds of silver and bronze Roman coins from the mid-third century CE and about 560 silver coins from the 14th Century Mamluk period. A bronze figurine in the form of an eagle, symbolizes Roman rule, and a figurine of a Roman pantomimus in a comic mask.
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