Interesting Headlines , June 2008

Amman, Jordan reports that archeologists have uncovered a cave that was positioned underneath one of the oldest churches in the world. Could it be a significant link to early Christians? In this article, you will also learn the latest news on the former planet, Pluto.

Ancient Cave in Jordan , an Important Link to Early Christians?

The rumors are abuzz that that the site is of great significance to Christian worship even though experts looking from the outside stress caution for those backing this claim. The cave was unearthed in a city in Jordan named Rihab , situated in the north. It took three months of excavation to uncover what researchers believe is proof of early Christian rituals.  

The cave is located under St. George’s Church , with a supposed date that reaches back as far as the year 230. The actual date has been a subject of many debates and is widely disputed to this day. This is because the church would hold the title as one of the oldest churches in the world. Another church was discovered in the southern port of Aqaba (in 1998), which is joined by an Israeli discovery in 2005.

However, a handful of people claim there is evidence that the underground cave served 70 disciples of Jesus during the first century after the death of Christ. Now, this would date the church and cave site as the oldest Christian site of world found in the entire world.

Some of the features described of the find include a circular worship site, decorated by stone seating that was separated from an area used for living. A long tunnel was found and deduced to have provided a link to a source of water. It is the belief of some that early Christians used this setting as a hiding place to avoid persecution. An inscription on the floor is done in mosaic tile. It is found on the later church of St. George and refers to “the 70 beloved by God and the divine.”

Then there are other researchers, such as an historian from North Carolina State University, who played a role in uncovering the church in Aqaba. He stresses that to make such a great claim, there is a great need of solid evidence. It seems that until all of the artifacts have been studied and concrete dated evidence investigated , there will be a lot of people skeptical of this claim that the church served as the oldest site in the world. Researchers certainly have a difficult task ahead of them since dating such items is a rather difficult process.

Pluto Gets a Name Change

Instead of referring to the planet formally known as Pluto , it has received a new moniker. Thanks to the International Astronomical Union, we should get used to the term “plutoid,” which is now the name given to dwarf planets like Pluto. Can you believe that it has been only two years since Pluto has lost its title as a planet? If you are interested in their explanation of this change, consider the following:

“Plutoids are celestial bodies in orbit around the sun at a distance greater than that of Neptune that have sufficient mass for their self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that they assume a hydrostatic equilibrium (near-spherical) shape, and that have not cleared the neighborhood around their orbit.” Basically , if you are small and found past Neptune (but still orbit the sun) , you are considered a plutoid.