Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Relic Linked to Ten Commandments

Archaeologists have uncovered a marble shrine at a church site containing an artifact that may be associated with the presentation of the Ten Commandments to Moses.

Archaeologists from Innsbruck University in southern Austria found the artifact beneath an altar in the chapel atop Burgbichl, a tiny hill in the town of Irschen.

According to a press statement from Innsbruck University, the shrine contained an ivory box decorated with Christian symbols dating back 1,500 years.

Irschen lies in the Carinthian Drava Valley, and researchers from the University of Innsbruck have been conducting archaeology digs there since 2016.

The lead archaeologist, Gerald Grabherr, said they know of around 40 ivory boxes of this kind worldwide. As far as he knows, the last time one was uncovered during digs was around a century ago—the few that exist are in cathedral treasures or exhibited in museums.

Symbols from the Bible follow a pattern that portrays a man bending over, his hand reaching into the heavens, and then placing an object in the space between his arms.

This is the usual depiction of Moses receiving the tablets on Mount Sinai, according to Grabherr.

The final motif shows a man riding a chariot pulled by two horses. In the same vein, the theme depicts the same hand reaching down from the sky and lifting the figure into heaven.

Two Christian churches, a cistern, and artifacts from the previous residents were unearthed by the archaeologists.

In a release, Grabherr mentioned that towards the end of the Roman Empire, when circumstances were less assured, the inhabitants sought refuge on higher fortified hilltops, leaving the valley behind.

The provenance of the ivory, metal, and wood found in the marble box is an ongoing mystery, and researchers are digging deeper to uncover the truth.