Archaeologists claim to discover one of Rome’s first churches

Archaeologists claim to discover one of Rome’s first churches
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The remains of what could be one of Rome’s earliest churches have been discovered on the banks of the Tiber, close to where an epic battle led to Christianity being adopted as the Roman Empire’s official religion.

The routine digging of a trench for an electrical cable revealed the find — a 1,600-year-old building with brick walls and exquisitely rendered floors made of red, green and honey-coloured marble from Sparta, Egypt and what is now Tunisia.

After months of excavations, archaeologists found a small cemetery with several tombs, including one with a giant amphora for a lid that contained the skeleton of a Roman man.

The splendour of the decoration, the size of the structure and the presence of the graves has led them to speculate that it was a church built in the fourth century AD.

“It was definitely a building for public use and we think it may have been a place of worship,” said Marina Piranomonte, the director of the dig.

“It’s incredible that the digging of a small trench for an electrical cable can bring to light discoveries like this.”

The building was constructed just a few decades after the historic Battle of the Milvian Bridge, which took place about 100 yards away at a crossing over the Tiber in AD 312.

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