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First Jesus-era house found in Nazareth

Archaeologists on Monday have discovered the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus.

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 four acres (1.6 hectares). It was evidently populated by Jews of modest means who kept camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, said archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Based on clay and chalk shards found at the site, the dwelling appeared to house a “simple Jewish family,” Alexandre added, as workers at the site carefully chipped away at mud with small pickaxes to reveal stone walls.
Nazareth holds a cherished place in Christianity. It is believed to be the town where Christian tradition says Jesus grew up and where an angel told Mary she would bear the child of God.

“This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with,” Alexandre said. A young Jesus may have played around the house with his cousins and friends, she said. “It’s a logical suggestion.”

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