JERUSALEM – A recent discovery by two American children on holiday with their families have archeologists and biblical scholars hopping with excitement.
Authorities with the Hebraic Institute for Christian Out of Place Artifacts (HICOOPS) say the children have found what appear to be petrified colored dinosaur eggs in caves just a few kilometers outside East Jerusalem.
The area, well known for the recent discovery of the controversial Talpiot Tomb, better known as The Lost Tomb of Jesus, is frequented by tourists from all over the world. The children, whose identities are being withheld until final confirmation from the scientific and religious communities, were purportedly playing around the caverns when they made their discovery.
The fossilized eggs, which measure approximately 13cm in length and 9cm in diameter, are painted with different designs and symbols, many depicting several species of giant Lepus common to the region. All of the eggs were surprisingly well preserved in the small limestone caverns, an ideal environment say geologists to protect them from the harsh desert elements and allow them to harden undisturbed. A total of 13 eggs so far have been found at the site.
“It certainly looks like a large furry thumper visited the Holy Land 2,000 years ago”, joked Cam Jameson, lead archaeologist who was first to study the find. “And if confirmed, we’ll certainly have to rewrite the entire history of the Easter tradition”, he continued.
Though fertility rites date back to antiquity, the current traditions of rabbits hiding eggs for Christian children to find dates back a mere 200 years to 17th century Germany. When compared to this most recent finding, a couple of centuries seems like yesterday.
Scientists from the University of Oxford using radiocarbon dating have reportedly estimated the age of the eggs to be somewhere between 15 B.C.E. and 150 C.E., which would put them squarely in the earliest days of Christianity.
“This is really very exciting”, said Harvey Lagomorph, one of the area supervisors for the archaeological dig. “To think that early Christians were hiding colored dinosaur eggs around the time of Jesus' crucifixion just boggles the mind”, he added.
Indeed, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars say the discovery of the eggs, if confirmed, will force a reexamination of early Christianity. Many admit that the discovery may upend some long-held cherished beliefs. Others say it only reaffirms their faith in the Easter Bunny.
To quote Paul in his Epistle of the Three Hares, “And if the bunny bring not baskets filled with goodies, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also in vain.”
Regardless of which side of the patch one might fall on, researchers say they promise to leave no stone/egg unturned in their quest to find the truth.
Whatever that might be.