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Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world

Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world

Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world

Ancient Christian church discovered using 'muon radiography'

A 39-foot mysterious subterranean building located in the ancient Russian city of Derbent on the Caspian Sea, may actually be one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. Archaeologists have not been able to fully access the structure so instead, harnessed a non-invasive technique, muon radiography, to produce an image of the buried building. The results showed the building is in the shape of a cross, furthering the belief it could be a church.

The 39-foot building, located in the northwest sector of the medieval fortress of Naryn-Kala, is almost completely hidden underground and built of local-shell limestone; it dates to about 300 A.D.

Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world

View from the top of the mystery building in Naryn-Kala. (NUST MISIS)

If they can fully understand its structure, perhaps they could determine its use.

The results showed that the building is in the shape of a cross, furthering the belief that it could be a church. The space was found to be 36 feet high, 50 feet long and 44 feet wide.

Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world

3D-model of the underground room, obtained from the results of muon detection. ( NUST MISIS)

"As the archaeologists who began excavations say, during construction, the building was entirely on the surface and it stands on the highest point of the Naryn-Kala. What is the sense to put the tank on the surface, and even on the highest mountain? It is strange. Currently, there are more questions than answers," Polukhina added.

Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world

The Naryn-Kala citadel. (NUST MISIS)

The study's authors also emphasize that more muon detectors will need to be installed, in particular on the western slope of the fortress, in order to obtain a full-size underground picture.

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