Archaeology, z320
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Ring portraying Jesus as the Good Shepherd discovered in a 1,700-year-old shipwreck

Good Shepherd ring found in a shipwreck off the coast of Israel
Credit: Dafna Gazit/Israel Antiquity Authority

Israel Antiquity Authority has announced some interesting discoveries from two shipwrecks discovered off its coast in the Mediterranean Sea.

One of the shipwrecks is 1,700 years old and the second is 600 years old. Both were discovered near the ancient Roman port of Caesarea and were probably destroyed in a storm as the crew was trying to get their ships into port.

The Daily Mail reports that archaeologists discovered a stunning gold ring with a green gemstone on the older wreck. On the gemstone was an intricately carved image of Jesus holding a lamb on His back. He is portrayed wearing a Roman tunic.

This image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is found throughout the Gospels. Perhaps, the most famous is the parable involving the story of the Good Shepherd who would leave his flock of 99 to find the one lost sheep:

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. (Luke 15:3-6 NIV).

According to the archaeologists working at the underwater site, the portrayal of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is one of the oldest symbols used to represent Christ.

The smaller size suggests it was worn by a woman, and it was discovered along with coins dated to the third century.

Though Christianity was still not legal at this time, Rome was becoming more tolerant of other religions, allowing an obviously rich person to wear the ring in public.

Along with the ring, IAA also found coins and several bells used to ward off evil spirits.

READ: Stunning ‘Good Shepherd’ ring that depicts a young Jesus holding a sheep is found on two shipwrecks that sank in Israel’s ancient port of Caesarea

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