ROME, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Archaeologists working for the Vatican discovered in Rome what they said may be the remains of the apostle Paul.
The remains were found in a tomb believed to date back to 390 A.D. in a crypt beneath the basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls, the largest church in Rome after St. Peter's, the BBC said Friday.
St. Paul was an influential Christian who traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean area during the first century. His letters, included in the Bible's New Testament, are some of the most influential in Christian thinking. According to Christian beliefs, St. Paul was beheaded by the Roman Emperor Nero.
Archaeologists and others thought crypt contained St. Paul's tomb, but an altar hid it. For the past three years, archaeologists have been excavating beneath the basilica's altar to remove huge slabs of marble.
The sarcophagus of St. Paul is on public view for the first time in nearly 1,700 years, researchers said.