After a group of Israeli farmers sought last year to expand their property in the hills near Jerusalem, they discovered an archeological gem beneath the dirt.
Modern Israeli farmers were first to unearth this temple from the fifth or sixth century.
A team led by Daniel Ein Mor barely had to scratch the surface before finding the remains of a Byzantine monastery, he told CNN on Wednesday.
"The excavation at Nes-Harim supplements our knowledge about the nature of the Christian-Byzantine settlement in the rural areas between the main cities in this part of the country during the Byzantine period," including Jerusalem, Mor said.
The church is believed to have been built in the late fifth or sixth century, and is decorated with "breathtakingly beautiful mosaics," according to a description from the Israel Antiquities Authority, which hired Mor.
He said studying coins and pottery pieces will help determine the church's age more accurately. Other monastic sites have been excavated in the region, which was part of the Byzantine Empire.
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