Archaeologists in Turkey say they have found a piece of a cross they believe was used to crucify Jesus Christ.
NBC News reports that a chest of artifacts was discovered at 1,350-year-old Balatlar Church in the Turkish province of Sinop.
“We have found a holy thing in a chest. It is a piece of a cross and we think it was [part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified]," excavation team leader Gülgün Köroğlu said to the Hurriyet Daily News.
NBC News reports that Köroğlu, a historian and professor at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, said the team suspects the chest "served as a symbolic coffin for the relics of a holy person."
The chest been given to a laboratory for further examination. Köroğlu also showed reporters at the site a stone with crosses carved into it.
Ruins of an ancient Roman bath were also recovered, along with more than 1,000 human skeletons.
"This stone chest is very important to us. It has a history and is the most important artifact we have unearthed so far,” Köroğlu said.
Michael Smith is a writer in the news section of DeseretNews.com. A 2013 graduate of the University of Utah, he will be attending Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in the fall.