Oldest church in North America -- medieval, in fact -- may lie beneath Newfoundland town

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North America's oldest church may lie beneath a small town in Newfoundland, according to information cobbled together from the research of a historian who recently died before publishing her seminal work.

An Italian friar and sailing companion of explorer John Cabot erected the church during his second trip to the continent in 1498, according to the late Alwyn Ruddock, said Evan Jones, a University of Bristol researcher who investigated and pieced together Ruddock's notes.

"To describe Alwyn Ruddock's claims as revolutionary would not be an exaggeration," Jones said."If Ruddock is right, it means that the remains of the only medieval church in North America may still lie buried under the modern town of Carbonear."

Ruddock, a historian with the University of London, was one of the world's foremost experts on Cabot's voyages until her death in late 2005...[Jones explores] her theories in a recent article published in the journal Historical Research.

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