.- The official archeologist for the community of Avila, Spain, Rosa Ruiz Entrecanales, said this week that excavators have discovered the ruins of what could be the oldest early-Christian church in that city. Initial studies indicate that the church dates to the 4th or 5th century, during the times of Priscilian, the first Bishop of Avila.
The archeological excavations began after a few discoveries were made during the early stages of the re-modeling of a central square of the city located behind the Basilica of St. Peter. Speaking to the EFE news agency, Rosa Ruiz said, “For now it is too soon to come to a conclusion about the origin of the ruins,” but they could date to the 4th or 5th century.
She said the ruins had characteristics common to the Visigoth period, but that they appeared to pre-date that era “because of the tombs that are associated with the church.”
Rosa Ruiz noted that the ruins are located just a few feet from the Visigoth Church of Santa Maria la Antigua in Avila and that therefore “we are dealing with a church that was the model for the planning of all of the subsequent churches in this area.”
The Spanish archeologist underscored that the excavations were of a “purely investigative nature,” as “there is little information in Spain about the paleo-Christian world and the churches with these characteristics are few in number. After the archeological study, she said, “the ruins would most probably be covered up.”