British Archaeologist - Dr Ken Dark discovers Jesus’s childhood home
British Archaeologist - Dr Ken Dark has identified what he believes could have been the house where Jesus was raised. He said that the humble first century home in Nazareth, Northern Israel, could have been where Mary and Joseph brought up the son of God. The Reading University archaeologist said that an ancient text described precisely how it was located between two tombs and below a church. Clerics from the Crusader period and the Byzantine era also put the ruins in the cellar of their churches, suggesting that it was of great significance and needed to be protected.
In an article Dr Ken Dark said that there was ‘no good reason’ why the courtyard style house was not the boyhood home of Jesus. He has been researching the ruins since 2006 and published his findings in Biblical Archaeological Review, a respected journal. Should Dr Dark’s analysis be correct, it will solve a mystery which has baffled Christians for centuries. They believe that Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth when the angel Gabriel revealed that Mary would give birth to the son of God, a baby to be named Jesus.
According to Dr Dark, the house is located beneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent which is across the road from Church of Annunciation in Nazareth. He describes it as having been cut out of a limestone hillside and having a series of rooms and a stairway. Overall the design was typical of early Roman settlements in the Galilee, Dr Dark says. The house was first identified as a site of special significance in the 1880s after the chance discovery of an ancient cistern at the convent, after which the nuns ordered an excavation.
Jesuit priest Henri Senes carried out more work in 1936 and then Dr Dark’s team followed up in 2006, discovering broken cooking pots, a spindle whorl and limestone artifacts. The limestone items suggest a Jewish family lived there as Jews believed that limestone could not be impure. Dr Dark also found that subsequent generations after the first century took great care to look after the site.
In the article he wrote: ‘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. ‘Both the tombs and the house were decorated with mosaics in the Byzantine period, suggesting that they were of special importance, and possibly venerated.’ The key piece of evidence linking the site to Jesus is pilgrim text called ‘De Locus Sanctis’ written in 670 AD by abbot Adomnàn of Iona, the island off the West coast of Scotland.
It was supposedly based on a pilgrimage made to Nazareth made by the Frankish bishop Arculf and talks about a church ‘where once there was the house in which the Lord was nourished in his infancy.’ In the article Dr Dark says that the text describes two churches in Nazareth, one of which was the Church of Annunciation. He writes: ‘The other stood nearby and was built near a vault that also contained a spring and the remains of two tombs.
‘Between these two tombs was the house in which Jesus was raised. From this is derived the more recent name for the church that Adomnàn described.’ The Sisters of Nazareth Convent matches this because there is evidence of a large Byzantine church with a spring and two tombs in its crypt, Dr Dark writes. The house he believes was Jesus’ boyhood home stands in between the two tombs which also matches with Adomnàn’s account.
Dr Dark, a specialist in first century and Christian archaeology, writes: ‘Was this the house where Jesus grew up? It is impossible to say on archaeological grounds. ‘On the other hand, there is no good archaeological reason why such an identification should be discounted.’ The last attempt to identify the house where Jesus grew up was in 2009 when archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority found another 1st century home they believed had been occupied by a Jewish family. However they were only able to say that Jesus may have lived near to the site as they did not have the link to the ancient texts that Professor Dark found. Source Matters India
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