This is a Mosaic pavement of a 6th century synagogue at Beit Alpha, Jezreel Valley, in Northern Israel. It was discovered in 1928. Signs of the zodiac surround the central chariot of the Sun (a Greek motif). The corners depict the 4 "turning points" ("tekufot") of the year, solstices and equinoxes, each named for the month in which it occurs--tequfah of Tishrei, (tequfah of Tevet), tequfah of Ni(san), tequfah of Tamuz. Created by NASA

A dwelling in Nazareth? Very interesting

Israel: First Jesus-Era House Found in Nazareth
Monday, December 21, 2009
By Diaa Hadid, Associated Press

Nazareth, Israel (AP) - Days before Christmas, archeologists on Monday unveiled
what they said were the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be
dated back to the time of Jesus -- a find that could shed new light on what the
hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a

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."

The discovery so close to Christmas has pleased local Christians.

"They say if the people do not speak, the stones will speak," said a smiling
Father Jack Karam of the nearby Basilica of the Annunciation, the site where
Christian tradition says Mary received the angel's word.

Alexandre's team found remains of a wall, a hideout, a courtyard and a water
system that appeared to collect water from the roof and supply it to the home.
The discovery was made when builders dug up the courtyard of a former convent to
make room for a new Christian center, just yards (meters) away from the

It is not clear how big the dwelling is -- Alexandre's team have uncovered about
900 square feet (85 square meters) of the house, but it may have been for an
extended family and could be much larger, she said.

Alexandre said her team also found a camouflaged entry way into a grotto, which
she believes was used by Jews at the time to hide from Roman soldiers who were
battling Jewish rebels at the time for control of the area.

The grotto would have hid around six people for a few hours, she said.

However, Roman soldiers did not end up battling Nazareth's Jews because the
hamlet had little strategic value at the time. The Roman army was more
interested in larger towns and strategic hilltop communities, she said.

Alexandre said similar camouflaged grottos were found in other ancient Jewish
communities of the lower Galilee such as the nearby Biblical village of Cana,
which did witness battle between Jews and Romans.

At the site, Alexandre told reporters that archaeologists also found clay and
chalk vessels which were likely used by Galilean Jews of the time. The
scientists concluded a Jewish family lived there because of the chalk, which was
used by Jews at the time to ensure the purity of the food and water kept inside
the vessels.

The shards also date back to the time of Jesus, which includes the late
Hellenic, early Roman period that ranges from around 100 B.C. to 100 A.D.,
Alexandre said.

The absence of any remains of glass vessels or imported products suggested the
family who lived in the dwelling were "simple," but Alexandre said the remains
did not indicate whether they were traders or farmers.

The only other artifacts that archeologists have found in the Nazareth area from
the time of Jesus are ancient burial caves outside the hamlet, providing a rough
idea of the village's population at the time, Alexandre said.

Work is now taking place to clear newer ruins built above the dwelling, which
will be preserved. The dwelling will become a part of a new international
Christian center being constructed close to the site and funded by a French
Roman Catholic group, said Marc Hodara of the Chemin Neuf Community overseeing

Alexandre said limited space and population density in Nazareth means it is
unlikely that archeologists can carry out any further excavations in the area,
leaving this dwelling to tell the story of what Jesus' boyhood home may have
looked like.

The discovery at "this time, this period, is very interesting, especially as a
Christian," Karam said. "For me it is a great gift."

(I got this from a person that enjoys history and especially things "archeological")

Some information about Nazareth

Jesus spent his boyhood years in Nazareth before beginning his ministry when he was about 30. After moving his home to Capernaum, Jesus returned to teach in the synagogue of Nazareth twice more, but was rejected both times. One time, the townspeople were so outraged at Jesus that they tried to throw him off a cliff to his death. What could he have been teaching that was so enraging? We have an idea the more you get to know Jesus through the scriptures... He was very bold in bringing the message he did, but many believed him because of the acts he performed. He had proof he wasn't just making things up, but had stamp of God with him.

Now, we find a Byzantine church that was built over the place where it is believed that the angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary. In 1966 the Roman Catholic Church began constructing a new basilica over these remains and today this church is the largest church building in the Middle East. The Greek Orthodox Church nearby is built over the town's water source. We see churches and different things built over older ruins in much of that region in the world. We saw some places like that in Greece also just this last summer when I went there. In different places, newer buildings, sometimes whole towns are built on top of others. We know this happened in Italy too in some places, etc.

As far as ancient sources go, we know little about Nazareth. For now, its limited to the New Testament which is a great ancient source, but there is some dispute over this of course. I have not seen good reasons to disregard it as an ancient source, just because it seems to conflict with what many would like to believe about history. Nazareth is mentioned in the Byzantine period, 4th Century A.D. Archaeological excavations have confirmed that the city was only a small agricultural village during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Nazareth was a relatively isolated village in the time of Jesus, with a population of less than two hundred. Its location was inside a "bowl" atop the Nazareth ridge north of the Jezreel valley. Now, the location of upper Nazareth is home to thousands of Jewish residents. Over 60,000 Israeli Arabs live in Nazareth area today.

I found it interesting that Nazareth is also known as En Nasira, Japhia, Mash-had, en-Nasirah, Nazerat, Nazareth of Galilee, Nazareth in Galilee, Yafti en Nasra. This will help in the researching of Nazareth. So keep that in mind as you are learning and reading more.

Find out more about Nazareth

Click this link, to find some great information out about Nazareth, then and now.

On that site, are many more links to study up more about Nazareth.


Was there ever such a town, as told in the Bible, named Nazareth?
I am putting up information here on Nazareth because I have heard some interesting things about it lately, while hearing from others that it may not have ever even existed? Truth being the goal, see what I see as more information comes forward.

Thank you for stopping by, and please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts.