(LiveScience) Engravings of a cross and a menorah carved thousands of years ago were recently found in a cave in Israel, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Though the two figures were etched close together on a cistern wall, they were likely created hundreds of years apart, the archaeologists said.
Hikers unexpectedly came upon the ancient carvings while exploring subterranean passages in southern Israel. Archaeologists with the IAA dated the menorah carving to the second century A.D. and the cross to the fourth century A.D. The menorah, which has seven arms and three legs, represents the traditional candelabra that stood in the Second Temple in Jerusalem, IAA experts said in a statement. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]
The discovery of two side-by-side symbols associated with Judaism and Christianity, respectively, coincides with a rare overlap of the Hanukkah and Christmas holidays in 2016, with the first night of Hanukkah falling on Christmas Eve.
Advertisement - story continues below