March 3, 2015
Archeologists in Nazareth say a first century house discovered in the 1880s could be the home of Mary and Joseph where Jesus was brought up.
"Was this the house where Jesus grew up? It is impossible to say on archaeological grounds," writes Ken Dark, a professor at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, in Biblical Archaeology Review, referring to a first century "courtyard house" containing limestone pottery that was first uncovered in the 1880s by nuns at the Sisters of Nazareth convent, according to Live Science.
It was Dark who led a team of archaeologists in 2006 that dated the house to the first century.
The team also discovered that the people who lived there centuries after Jesus' time believed Jesus was brought up in that house.
"On the other hand, there is no good archaeological reason why such an identification should be discounted," Dark wrote in the article published in the latest edition of the magazine, as quoted by Live Science.
The house "had been constructed by cutting back a limestone hillside as it sloped toward the wadi (valley) below, leaving carefully smoothed freestanding rock walls, to which stone-built walls were added," Dark added.
"The structure included a series of rooms. One, with its doorway, survived to its full height. Another had a stairway rising adjacent to one of its walls. Just inside the surviving doorway, earlier excavations had revealed part of its original chalk floor."
After another Jesus-era house was found in Nazareth in 2009, The Associated Press reported that the dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest that Nazareth was an out-of-the-way hamlet of around 50 houses on a patch of about 1.6 hectares.
In Nazareth, Jews of modest means lived and they kept camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority, was quoted as saying.
"This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with," Alexandre went on to say, adding that Jesus as a child may have played around the house with his cousins and friends. "It's a logical suggestion."