First Jesus-Era House Found in Nazareth

Excavators for the first time have found the remains of a home from the time of Jesus in Nazareth, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

Up until now, archaeologists only found tombs but not remains of homes from the time of Jesus in Nazareth, where he spent most of his life. Archaeologists, however, did not draw any direct connection between the home and Jesus. Rather, the building sheds light on the environment that Jesus likely grew up in.

"It reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth and thereby sheds light on the way of life at the time of Jesus," commented Yardenna Alexandre, excavation director at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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Excavators began working on the dwelling in the summer, but weren't sure the building was from the time of Jesus until this month.

Alexandre said the building is "small" and "modest," and probably typical of the dwellings in Nazareth at the time.

Remains from the building consisted of two rooms and a courtyard where a cistern collected rainwater to be used in the house. There were few artifacts recovered from inside the building, but fragments of pottery from the Early Roman period were found.

The discovery of the dwelling together with other tombs found in the areas suggested that Nazareth was a rural small village of about 50 houses on about four acres. Alexandre also noted that residents of Nazareth were Jews of modest means based on the clay and chalk shards found in the building. There were no remains of glass vessels or imported products, which suggested the inhabitants were "simple."

The remains of the building were found near the Church of Annunciation, where many Catholics believe the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would conceive a child that is the Son of God.

The site will be preserved as part of a new Christian center that will be built nearby.

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