TEKRIT, Iraq, April 23 (UPI) -- An Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities spokesman says 30 rare Christian archaeological artifacts have been found in Tekrit.
Ministry spokesman Abdulzahra al-Talaqani said the artifacts were located by municipal workers laying down pipes in the city, which had a large Christian population until the late 12th century, the Iraqi newspaper Azzaman reported Thursday.
Saood al-Azzawi, the city's Antiquities Department representative, said among the discovered items are frankincense burners, silver rings and perfume vessels.
A number of them bear cross engravings, while others contain precious stones, Azzawi added.
The antiquities official told Azzaman the recent discovery should offer insights into the city's Christian period. He also said he was hopeful the find would result in excavations of Christian sites in the region.
Azzawi said the Salahuddin province, which counts Tekrit as its capital, contains more than 800 sites deemed archaeologically significant.