1st-century house unearthed in Nazareth could be Jesus’s childhood home

A stained-glass window depicting Jesus. Credit: Toby Hudson via Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) A leading archaeologist is hinting that a house dating back to the 1st century CE unearthed in Nazareth may have been the childhood home of Jesus. 

The house, which is made up of simple mortar and stone walls that was cut into a rocky hillside, was first discovered in the 1880s by nuns at the Sisters of Nazareth convent. In 1936, a Jesuit priest, Henri Senes, catalogued the site with drawings and notes that had been exposed by the nuns. Then in 2006, team of archaeologists led by Ken Dark, a professor at the University of Reading in the U.K., began an examination of the site based on Senes’s work, Live Science reported. 

“Was this the house where Jesus grew up? It is impossible to say on archaeological grounds,” Dark wrote in Biblical Archaeology Review. “On the other hand, there is no good archaeological reason why such an identification should be discounted.”

According to the archaeologists, the house was later decorated with mosaics during the Byzantine Period (roughly from the 4th century until the 7th century CE), and a church known as the “Church of the Nutrition” was constructed over the dwelling to most likely protect it. 

The site fell into disrepair following the Islamic invasions in the 7th century CE. Later, when the Crusaders conquered the Holy Land in the 12th century, the church was rebuilt, but then it was burnt again in the 13th century. 

Artifacts found inside the 1st-century house include a broken cooking pot, a spindle whorl, and limestone vessels, which suggest that it was home to a Jewish family because of the Jewish belief that limestone could not become impure. 

The archaeological evidence is also corroborated by a text from 670 CE written by a monk on the Scottish island of Iona, based on a pilgrimage to Nazareth made by the Frankish Bishop Arculf, which mentions the church “where once there was the house in which the Lord was nourished in his infancy.”

Posted on March 4, 2015 .