Israeli archaeologists announced Monday, December 21st, 2009 that they had uncovered remains of the first dwelling in the city of Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus.
The home is not far from Basilica of the Annunciation, where archaeologists found remains of a wall, a hideout behind a wall and a water system that appeared to collect rain water and condensation from the roof. Inside the home and nearby were found were clay and chalk vessels used by Galilean Jews of the time.
The findings indicate the home belonged to a simple Jewish family. They also suggest Nazareth was probably an extremely small village during this era based on evidence from the graves within the city. These graves suggest Nazareth at this time had an estimated 50 houses that were built on a plot of land that is less than four acres.
In antiquity Cities had honor ratings based on the size of the community. Since Nazareth was such a small village, it was at the bottom of the list. No small wonder one of Jesus’ disciple Nathaniel posed the question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Until this discovery, very little written evidence exists concerning Nazareth during Jesus’ lifetime. The only actual evidence prior to this discovery was obtained from graves of that era.
Only in the Bible do we have evidence that Jesus was in Nazareth. We now have an idea of what the town dwellings were like.
Alexandre works for the Israeli Antiquities Authorities at the dig in Nazareth and is directing this dig... He states the walls of the house itself and the pottery date this house to the early Roman period, which is to say, the era of Jesus. Palestinian Christians in Nazareth celebrated the announcement of this find as a Christmas gift to them from God.
He also stresses the Jewishness of the find based on the pottery and shards that have been found. Today Nazareth is currently mostly populated by Moslems and is the largest Arab city in Northern Israel with over 65,000 inhabitants. In this era it was a tiny Jewish village.
He also elaborates regarding the stone construction of this home. It suggests stability and the fact the residents were planning to spend their lives in this city. And though no glassware has been found, the stone construct implies permanency. Mud and wood constructed homes would have been built for residents planning on temporary dwellings.
The find gives credence to the fact that Jesus was a Jew living in a Jewish village. The clay and chalk vessels discovered there were used during his lifetime to ensure purity of food and water. The hiding places and caves discovered adjacent to some of the potential home sites bear out the division and politics between Jews and Roman that are outlined in the Gospels and exemplified in Jesus’ birth and death.
As with all discoveries of this nature, we draw closer and closer to actual physical evidence that is detailed in the Bible and sheds light on The Truth.