A newly uncovered artwork in the catacombs of Rome has some experts believing it’s the oldest image of the Christian apostle Paul.
The faded image shows a man with a triangular-shaped face and pointed beard as he looks straight ahead.
According to published reports in Europe, the fresco dating back to the 4th century was discovered during restoration work at the Catacomb of St. Thekla but was kept secret for 10 days. The catacomb, or Christian burial place, is close to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, which is said to be built on the location where Paul was buried.
Vatican archaeologists used a laser to remove centuries of grime from the artwork before announcing the discovery through their official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
Barbara Mazzei, director of the work at the catacomb, told the London Telegraph:
We had been working in the catacomb for some time and it is full of frescoes. However the pictures are all covered with limestone which was covering up much of the artwork and so to remove it and clean it up we had to use fine lasers.