(Fox News) A previously-unknown 1,500-year-old painting of Christ’s face has been uncovered at a Byzantine church in Israel’s Negev desert.

The discovery in the ancient Byzantine village of Shivta has thrilled archaeologists. Although the painting is fragmented, experts from Israel’s University of Haifa were able to make out the facial outline. Their research was published recently in the journal Antiquity.

The painting, which is believed to date from the sixth century A.D., depicts Jesus as a short-haired youth.

“Christ’s face in this painting is an important discovery in itself,” they explained in their paper. “It belongs to the iconographic scheme of a short-haired Christ, which was especially widespread in Egypt and Syro-Palestine, but gone from later Byzantine art.”