A volunteer at the Museum of London's Archaeological Archive recently discovered two symbols etched into a piece of pottery that was dug up back in the 1970s that show that Christians were likely living in Londinium — what is now London — in the 4th century.
Despite being unearthed in the Brentford area decades ago, it wasn't until researchers discovered two noteworthy symbols on the piece of pottery that it was given greater attention, according to CBN News.
"At first we noticed there was some sort of mark on the pot and then quickly realized the significance of what we had," Adam Corsini, manager of archaeology collections, told the Daily Mail.
He added, "Christian symbols from the Roman period are rare, especially from sites within Londinium’s surrounding hinterland, and there are only a few examples in our collections relating to London."
Important evidence of early Christian community in Roman London on display for first time here this #EasterWeekend. https://t.co/VUhY7Mupf6— Museum for London (@Museum for London)1458832383.0
So, what, exactly, are these noteworthy symbols on the pottery?
According to CBN News, they are a monogram of chi (X) and rho (P) — the first two letters of the word "Christos," which means Christ in Greek. The symbols were reportedly popular among early Christians.
The find indicates that Christ followers were living in the area during Roman times, though the extent to which cannot be known.
As the Museum of London explained, Londinium, known as Roman London, was founded around A.D. 50, and included a mixture of families, soldiers, sailors, slaves, workers and civilians.
Not much is known about the origins of the pottery, though it was likely produced in the area and not imported.
"Although we can't say from one object that Roman London and its Hinterland were practicing Christianity, it does suggest that Christians were at least present at some point in 4th Century Roman Brentford," Corsini added.
It is possible that there could be other fragments among those collected in 1970 while Brentford's roads were being widened; volunteers will reportedly continue analyzing and exploring, the Daily Mail reported.
The fragment in question was put on display by the Museum of London over Easter weekend.
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: