Muslims’ intolerance for Christians is widely practiced around the world these days.
Remember the thousands of Christians, and other religious minorities, summarily executed by the Muslims in ISIS in the Middle East? How about the Christian herders and farmland workers in Africa summarily killed by raging Muslim gangs?
Now, it appears, that antipathy goes back to the very early years of Islam.
The report documents a new archaeological discovery that revealed a brass weight weighing about 160 grams.
It was found in Sussita during excavations organized by the University of Haifa, he wrote.
But the brass weight, dating to the 7th century, “contained a surprise.”
“More or less by chance, we discovered a stain covering the cross on the obverse of the weight,” Michael Eisenberg, of the university research team, said.
He’s head of the Hippos-Sussita excavations, and told the Jerusalem Post, “At first we were convinced that it was just dirt, but in fact the stain was made deliberately to conceal a cross, a Christian religious symbol used by the Christian population, so that they could continue to use the weight in their contacts with the new Muslim rulers. This is the first time that we have found a weight featuring this type of concealed element.”
The relic was found by Bradley Bowlin using a metal detector and was forwarded to Alexander Lermolin of the Conservation Laboratory at Haifa University’s Archaeological Institute.
He discovered under a dark stain was a cross inlaid in silver.
“At first we thought this was random pollution. We intended to simply remove the dark stain and then continue the preservation process. But something smelled strange to us, so we decided to take time out,” Eisenberg said.
It turns out the stain was a metallic paste made of lead and tin.
“The melting temperature of the paste was around one-third the melting temperature of the other components of the weight,” Professor Sariel Shalev, an expert in metallurgy, told the Jerusalem Post.
“Since people during this period had a strong mastery of craftsmanship, it was clear that the stain had been made deliberately. Moreover, small sections of the silver cross had been chiseled out to ensure that the weight of the object remained unchanged. In short, there was no chance that the stain was coincidental.”
“The cross was deliberately covered by church officials during the early Islamic period so that they could continue to use the weight, together with other weights in the official city weights set kept at the central church in Hippos, as well as in their contacts with the Muslim administration in Tiberias,” Eisenberg explained in the report.
“This situation offers a precise illustration of the dividing line during this period of regime change between considerable religious and cultural freedom and the point when a Muslim official might be forced to hold an object displaying an overtly Christian emblem.”
It’s on display at the university now, officials said.