A hillside house dating back to the early first century CE in northern Israel may have been the Nazareth home where Jesus was raised, according to researchers.
The stone and mortar house, first identified in the 1880s, is likely to have been the home in which Mary and Joseph brought up their son, claims Dr. Ken Dark, a British 1st century and Christian archaeology specialist, who has been researching the ruins since 2006, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
Cut into a limestone hillside, the house contains a series of rooms and a stairway. A part of the original chalk floor, as well as a doorway, have survived.
While it is impossible to say for certain, there is “no good reason” not to believe it was Jesus’ home, Dark wrote in the latest issue of the Biblical Archaeological Review.
Suggesting the site was of particular significance, ruins of the house were incorporated into churches during the Byzantine era and again during the 12th century Crusades period.
“Great efforts had been made to encompass the remains of this building. Both the tombs and the house were decorated with mosaics in the Byzantine period, suggesting that they were of special importance, and possibly venerated,” Dark wrote.
Dark said a seventh century text supports his claim that the humble house was indeed the childhood home of the founder of Christianity. Written in 670 AD by Irish abbot Adomnan of Iona, the De Locis Sanctis (Concerning Sacred Places) chronicles the Gaulish monk Arculf’s travels to the Holy Land, in which he describes Jesus’ home as located between two tombs and below a church.
According to the Reading University archaeologist, the house matches up with the monk’s account.
One of the churches Adomnan described was the Church of the Annunciation, located across the road from the site. It is also located beneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent, which matches the description of the second church, built near a vault containing a spring and the remains of two tombs.
The house was originally found by chance by a group of nuns in the 19th century, after which first excavations were carried out. Further digs were conducted by Jesuit priest Henri Senes in 1936.
Since beginning their research in 2006, Dark and his team have discovered various limestone artifacts on site, suggesting a Jewish family lived there, as Jewish people at the time believed limestone items to be pure, according to the report.
Although Dark is not able to say with absolute certainty that Jesus indeed grew up in the much examined home, he says “there is no good archaeological reason why such an identification should be discounted.”