Sisters of Nazareth Archaeological Site

The archaeological site located below the Convent of Sisters of Nazareth, Shefa 'Amr (دير راهبات الناصره - شفاعمرو), contains the remains of a first century Jewish dwelling and burial caves. Locally known as the house of Joseph, the remains include stone-walls, entrances, pottery shards, containers, and other artefact. The Convent of the Sisters of Nazareth is adjacent to the Basilica of Annunciation.


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circa 50 CE

The (possible) courtyard, known as the 'Structure I' is the earliest feature on the site securely dated to the first century CE. The excavations by Ken Dark revealed a first-century “courtyard house” that was partially hewn from naturally occurring rock and partially constructed with rock-built walls. Many of the home’s original features are still intact, including doors and windows. Also found at the site were tombs, a cistern and, later, a Byzantine church.

circa 50 CE

Remains of the dwelling are located on the south side of the complex, partially cut into the hillside rock. The site was subsequently used in the Roman period for burial, suggesting settlement contraction or settlement shift. In 2006, the Sisters granted the Nazareth Archaeological Project full access to the site, including Fr. Senès drawings and notes, which they had carefully stored.

circa 50 CE

Eastern stairway in the courtyard section, to the east of the courtyard. It was most likely built during the crusader period. It is one of the two stairways situated in the second temple period remains, on the southern side of the complex. It is possible that, although certainly rebuilt in the Crusader period, this wall may have been based on an Early Roman period wall, belonging to the house on the west side.

circa 50 CE

This rock hewn small chapel is located in the southern part of the first level (Byzantine level). Archaeologists led by Ken Dark, a professor at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, and other archaeologists surveyed the site, and by combining their findings, a new analysis of Fr. Senès’ findings, notes from the Sisters’ earlier excavations and other information, reconstructed the development of the site from the first century to the present.

circa 50 CE

On the level below the residential house is an opening to a possible family burial cave (peek inside), which is sealed by a rolling. One assumption is that this is a Jewish burial site from the Second Temple times, and that later those graves became water pits and perhaps even residency rooms. It could also be that this burial site is much older than the Second Temple times, and was used later.

circa 50 CE

The remains of the Byzantine era "Church of Nutrition" (peek inside), according to De Locis Sanctis was built over the house where it was believed that Jesus had lived in Nazareth as a child. the archaeological site at the Sisters of Nazareth convent in central Nazareth has remained unpublished and largely unknown to scholarship. However, work by the Nazareth Archaeological Project in 2006–10 showed that this site offers a full and important stratified sequence from ancient Nazareth, including well-preserved Early Roman-period and later features.

circa 50 CE

The access stairway coming down from the ground level of the Sisters of Nazareth Convent to the Byzantine era level which houses the 4th-5th century 'Church of the Nutrition' described in the seventh-century pilgrim account De Locis Sanctis. The scale of the church and its surrounding structures suggests that Nazareth was a much larger, and more important, centre for Byzantine-period pilgrimage than previously supposed.

circa 1900 CE

Sisters of Nazareth Convent, Shefa 'Amr, where the supposed "House of Joseph" is located. In the year 1857 CE, after the citizens of Shefa-Amr saw how much the Sisters of Nazareth convent in Nazareth has helped the people of that city, they contacted one of its sisters called sister Hilo with an offer to contribute a piece of land in the center of Shefa-Amr containing remains of a 4th-century church for the purpose of building a new convent on it. Sister Hilo accepted the offer and the convent was built on that land.


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