Israeli archaeologists said Monday that they have uncovered remains of the first dwelling in the northern city of Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus.
The find sheds a new light on what Nazareth might have been like in Jesus' time, said the archaeologists, indicating that it was probably a small hamlet with about 50 houses populated by poor Jews.
The remains of a wall, a hideout and a cistern were found after builders dug up an old convent courtyard in the northern Israeli city, said archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Israel Antiquities Authority workers at the excavation site (AP)
Alexandre told reporters that archeologists also found clay and chalk vessels used by Galilean Jews of the time - an indication the home belonged to a simple Jewish family.
"It was likely Jesus and his childhood friends would have known the house," said Alexandre.
"From the little written evidence available we know that first century Nazareth AD was a small Jewish village located in a valley," Alexandre said, adding that "until now a few Jesus-era graves were revealed, but never have we unearthed the remains of contemporary residences."
Father Jacques Icaram, left, stands near Israel Antiquities Authority workers at the excavation site (AP)
A pit made in the rock was also found, the entrance to which was likely hidden, in which contemporary clay work was found. Alexandre estimated that the pit was made as part of the Jews' preparations ahead of the Great Rebellion against the Romans, in 67 C.E.
Father Jacques Icaram at the excavation site (Getty)