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Pics: Mysterious relic possibly linked to Ten Commandments discovered

Tools archaeologists used to discover 13 sets of remains of possible Hessian soldiers from the 1777 Battle of Red Bank. (Dave Hernandez/
July 03, 2024

Archaeologists excavating the site of an ancient church have discovered a marble shrine along with a relic they believe could be tied to Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.

According to a press release by the University of Innsbruck, a 1,500-year-old ivory box with multiple Christian motifs was discovered inside the shrine. The press release noted that archaeologists from the University of Innsbruck have been working on excavations in Irschen, which is part of the Carinthian Drava Valley in Southern Austria.

The press release noted that the ivory box was discovered in August of 2022 underneath an altar in a chapel located at the summit of a small hill located in the municipality of Irschen.

Gerald Grabherr, the lead archaeologist on the excavation, said, “We know of around 40 ivory boxes of this kind worldwide and, as far as I know, the last time one of these was found during excavations was around 100 years ago – the few pyxes that exist are either preserved in cathedral treasures or exhibited in museums.”

After two years of careful conservation, the pieces of the ivory pyx have finally been able to be scientifically analyzed, leading to the discovery of the biblical motifs.

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According to the press release, one of the motifs shows a man turning away as a hand rises out of the sky above him and places something between his arms.

“This is the typical depiction of the handing over of the laws to Moses on Mount Sinai, the beginning of the covenant between God and man from the Old Testament,” Grabherr explained.

Another motif shows a man in a chariot being led by two horses. The motif also includes the same hand rising out of the clouds and pulling the chariot into heaven.

Grabherr said, “We assume that this is a depiction of the ascension of Christ, the fulfillment of the covenant with God. The depiction of scenes from the Old Testament and their connection with scenes from the New Testament is typical of late antiquity and thus fits in with our pyx; however, the depiction of the Ascension of Christ with a so-called biga, a two-horse chariot, is very special and previously unknown.”

Grabherr added, “The archaeological and art-historical significance of the pyx cannot be denied.”

Pictures of the ancient discovery have been shared on X, formerly Twitter, by Fox News.

Researchers working at the excavation have also discovered two Christian churches, a cistern, and various belongings of the people who are believed to have formerly inhabited the settlement.