A team of Italian researchers found an incredible image bearing uncanny resemblance to a nativity scene in 5,000 year old rock art. A newborn between two parents among animals under a star in the east should sound familiar to anyone with even a cursory understanding of Christianity.
Yet the rock art which depicts the scene pre-dates the birth of Christ by about 3,000 years.
A team of Italian researchers discovered the nativity depiction in a small cavern in Egypt back in 2005, but waited to reveal this incredible discovery until now. The researchers dubbed the site the “Cave of Parents.”
The scene, painted in reddish-brown ochre, was found on the ceiling of a small cavity in the Egyptian Sahara desert, during an expedition to sites between the Nile valley and the Gilf Kebir Plateau.
“It’s a very evocative scene which indeed resembles the Christmas nativity. But it predates it by some 3,000 years,” geologist Marco Morelli, director of the Museum of Planetary Sciences in Prato, near Florence, Italy, told Seeker.
The scene features a man, a woman missing the head because of a painting detachment, and a baby.
“It could have been interpreted as a normal depiction of a family, with the baby between the parents, but other details make this drawing unique,” Morelli said.
He noted the newborn is drawn slightly above, as if raising to the sky. Such position, with the baby not yet between the parents, would have meant a birth or a pregnancy.
“As death was associated to Earth in contemporary rock art from the same area, it is likely that birth was linked to the sky,” Morelli said.
Two animals, a baboon and a lion, are also featured in the rock art, the lion just above and the baboon very obviously part of the scene of the newborn, while in the east is a drawing of what appears to be a star.
“No doubt it’s an intriguing drawing,” Seeker quotes Morelli. “We didn’t find similar scenes until the early Christian age.”
Certainly not, as the rock art clearly represents something more than just a typical family.
The find raises questions about the iconic image of Christ’s birth and blurs distinctions between art, history, and prophesy.