Researchers discovered an ancient Christian monastery on Siniyah Island off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

The second monastery ever found in the country, it’s nearly 1,400 years old and possibly pre-dates Islam.

Timothy Power, associate professor of archaeology at the United Arab Emirates University who helped investigate the newly discovered monastery, said:

“The fact that something similar was happening here a 1,000 years ago is really remarkable and this is a story that deserves to be told.”

Carbon dating of samples taken from the monastery’s found date between 534-656. Historians say Muhammad was born about 570 and died 632.

Based off the floorplan of the monastery, it once had a small church, rooms with baptismal fonts, ovens for baking communion wafers, an altar, and an attached residence for the abbot.

These early Christian churches and monasteries once sprawled along the entire Arabia peninsula all the way to India.

As the region slowly converted to Islam, these Christian monasteries were lost to the sands of time.

“It’s a really fascinating discovery because in some ways it’s hidden history — it’s not something that’s widely known.”

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