Archaeologists working in Jesus’ home town of Nazareth have identified a home dating back to the first century that may have belonged to Mary and Joseph.
The house was first uncovered by nuns at the Sisters of the Nazareth convent, but it wasn’t until 2006 that archaeologists and University of Reading professor Ken Dark dated the home and identified it as the possible home of Jesus. Whether or not Jesus actually lived in the home is unknown, though Dark claims it’s possible.
“Was this the house where Jesus grew up? It is impossible to say on archaeological grounds," Dark wrote. "On the other hand, there is no good archaeological reason why such an identification should be discounted."
Dark added that during the Byzantine Empire, centuries after Jesus’ time, people decorated the house with mosaics and constructed a protective church over it. Crusdaers who ventured into the Holy Land in the 12th century repaired the church, which Dark believes signifies their belief in the property as Jesus’ childhood home.
Further evidence, including limestone vessels used by Jewish families because of their belief in the “pure” stone, suggest that Jesus may have lived in the house.
"Great efforts had been made to encompass the remains of this building within the vaulted cellars of both the Byzantine and Crusader churches, so that it was thereafter protected," Dark wrote. "Both the tombs and the house were decorated with mosaics in the Byzantine period, suggesting that they were of special importance, and possibly venerated.”
Dark explained that the house was sandwiched between two tombs and below a church, which fits the description of Jesus’ home made by Frankish bishop Arculf.