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Ancient Christian monastery found in UAE

United Arab Emirates officials tour an ancient Christian monastery that’s thought to date pre-date the rise of Islam rose across the Arabian Peninsula. Associated Press/Photo by Kamran Jebreili

Ancient Christian monastery found in UAE

Archaeologists found a Christian monastery in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), officials announced Thursday, and carbon dating puts it sometime between 534 and 656 A.D. That puts the church possibly before the rise of Islam. It’s the second Christian monastery found in the UAE that could be as many as 1,400 years old. Timothy Power, an associate professor of archaeology at the United Arab Emirates University, helped investigate it. Power said the Arab tribes that lived in the region before the rise of Islam were Christian and some of them continued to be Christian for generations. 

What’s in the monastery? The stone walls of the monastery’s foundation rise a few feet out of desert sand. The floor plan suggests that Christians worshipped in a single-aisle church. Other rooms hold a baptismal, an oven for baking communion bread, and a place for an altar and communion wine. Next to the monastery, there is a second building with four rooms that could have been home to a bishop or a different church leader. 

Dig deeper: Listen to Paul Butler’s report on The World and Everything in It about significant archaeological discoveries from 2021.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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