It seems like Egypt's Christmas present this year is the unearthing of a Neolithic-era cave drawing depicting the oldest nativity scene ever discovered in Egypt's Sahara desert.
A group of Italian researchers have revealed a 5,000-year-old cave painting found on the ceiling of a small cavity in Egypt's Sahara desert, during an expedition to sites between the Nile valley and the Gilf Kebir Plateau. The researchers claim the reddish-brown painting might be the oldest nativity scene ever found, according to the travel and exploration website Seeker.
The discovered rock art depicts a newborn between its parents, a star in the east, and two animals. "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, told Seeker.
Morelli supposedly found the cave drawing in 2005. However, his team has only now decided to unearth the find. "The discovery has several implications as it raises new questions on the iconography of one of the more powerful Christian symbols," Morelli said.
The researchers called the site the "Cave of the Parents."
"No doubt it's an intriguing drawing," Morelli said. "We didn't find similar scenes until the early Christian age."