An archaeological dig has turned up a rare discovery in Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus and the largest Arab city in northern Israel.
The excavation, which began last summer, has unearthed the remains of a wall, a courtyard, a water system and a hideout belonging to a modest Jewish home dating back to Jesus' era, according to The Associated Press. In unveiling the site Monday, researchers said they also found pottery shards with chalk marks indicating the vessels had been used to ensure the ritual purity of food and water.
While of great archaeological value, the religious significance of the house is probably nil. There is no indication that it is Jesus' boyhood home, but scientists believe they're digging in the right neighborhood.
Nazareth has 65,000 residents today, but because it was a relatively small town 2,000 years ago, many houses from that period were potentially "next door" to where Jesus grew up. Archaeologist Yardena Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities Authority told the AP that "This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with."
No one is about to say that Jesus slept here. But the newly excavated house gives clues about how a Jewish family of humble means lived 2,000 years ago. Beyond that, it's all a matter of faith.