The plate is believed to have been used to hold Eucharistic bread as it was consecrated in early Christian rituals. It measures 22cm in diameter and fragments of it were unearthed outside the southern Spanish city of Linares, ABC newspaper reports.
Scientists working for the FORVM MMX project found it inside a building used for religious worship in what remains of the ancient town of Castulo. The find made scientists "review the chronology of early Christianity in Spain", FORVM MMX project director Marcelo Castro told El Mundo newspaper. Maybe Paul did make it to Spain as some believe. The 4th century would be only about 300 years after the Crucifixion of Jesus, and perhaps less than that after the death of Paul.
The pieces were in an excellent state of preservation - 81% of its original area has now been pieced together by scientists.
|Hands holding an ancient plate|
El Mundo notes that Christ looks very different from later depictions: he has no beard, his hair is not too long and he is wearing a philosopher's toga.
|Reconstruction of images on plate|