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Thursday, September 27

The foundations of a basilica and three early Christian baptismal fonts were uncovered at an ancient fortress on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. One of the fonts was found within the basilica, and two of the fonts are cross shaped. A residence where a bishop may have lived was also found.

Some scholars doubt the authenticity of a fragment of Coptic text in which Jesus mentions his wife, based upon the handwriting, grammar, shape of the papyrus, and the color of the ink. The papyrus on which the text is written is about the size of a business card, and is said to date to the fourth century. Earlier articles on the fragment said that it was too fragile for chemical testing, but now those tests will be conducted. The text is owned by an anonymous collector.

Another object owned by a private collector is in the news—this one is said to be a statue of the pre-Buddhist god Vaisravana that was carved 1,000 years ago from a meteorite that fell near the border of Siberia and Mongolia. Known as the Iron Man, that statue was discovered in Tibet in 1938 on a Nazi-supported expedition led by archaeologist Ernst Schafer. “It is extremely impressive, it was formerly almost completely gilded—there is a great mystery represented by it,” said Elmar Buchner of the University of Stuttgart.

Renovations at New York’s Onondaga Community College revealed the remains of 80 people who had been buried near the Onondaga County Poorhouse between 1826 and 1840. “The coffins were almost non-existent. We found coffin wood on the underside and horribly rusted nails. The first thing we found were bones,” said Daniel Seib of Binghamtom University. After analysis, the remains were reburied in a nearby cemetery.

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