A British archaeologist who has spent 14-years studying an excavation site in Nazareth, Israel believes that he has discovered the childhood home of Jesus.
Professor Ken Dark, from the University of Reading spent his years studying the remains of the 1st century dwelling beneath a modern-day convent, Metro News reported.
He said the ruins in the 19th-century were first suggested the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The idea was, however, dismissed by archaeologists in the 1930s, the BBC reported.
The site remained largely forgotten since then until Dark launched a project in 2006 to reinvestigate the site.
“I didn’t go to Nazareth to find the house of Jesus, I was actually doing a study of the city’s history as a Byzantine Christian pilgrimage center,” said Dark. “Nobody could have been more surprised than me.”
He said the ancient dwelling was located beneath a Byzantine-era church, which in turn lies beneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent.
Dark explained: “We know from written evidence this church was believed in the Byzantine period to have been built on the site of Jesus’ home and the dwelling preserved in its crypt.
“It’s almost certainly the Church of the Nutrition, which was dedicated to the upbringing of Christ, and mentioned in a 7th Century pilgrim’s account.”
Originally, the nuns of the Sisters of Nazareth Convent carried out excavations up until the 1930s, following the assertion of a famous biblical scholar, Victor Guérin, in 1888 that it was Jesus’ home.
They never found any proof but further work was carried out between 1936 and 1964 by a Jesuit priest.
Prof Dark said his work has identified the house as dating back to the 1st Century and reveals the building was carved into a rocky hillside.
He said whoever built the house had excellent knowledge of stone-working, the sort of thing expected of someone who would have been called a tekton, the ancient word for craftsman that was used to refer to Joseph in the bible.
The archaeologist said while all these factors do not prove it was Jesus’ home, “this is about as close as we will probably ever get to being able to say it was.”