An archaeologist Ken Dark dedicated his new book to the house where Jesus could grow. He talks in detail about a group of nuns who were excavating at the site where the stone remains of an ancient structure were discovered. It is the clearest example of a major excavation program initiated and carried out by women. The book is called ‘Sisters of the Nazareth Monastery: The Roman Period, the Byzantine Period, and the Place of the Crusaders in the Center of Nazareth’.
The unique excavations could have been led by one of the nuns, Mer Giraud. The nuns discovered a house carved into the rocky hillside. Its construction dates back to the beginning of the first century. But only a century later, people began to revere that building as a home where Jesus could grow up.
Whether this is really so is a moot point. To his book, Dark drew attention to the fact that the sisters took care of the safety of the excavations until the moment when some of them were destroyed. Their monastery was built near that place. During construction, some of the important archaeological artifacts were irretrievably lost and destroyed.
The found of the nuns made in the 19th century, as well as the records they carefully kept, helped the scientists to determine that the church, located next to the unique house in the hill, could have been built in the 4th century. It was considered as a cave because it was literally located there.
Then it was expanded with new structures erected on the surface. A certain pilgrim named Egeria left a note about the church, he called it the magnificent cave where the Virgin Mary lived. According to him, there was an altar as well as a place from which the Virgin Mary drew water. The builders who built that house were extremely careful and protected from the curious not only the unique place, but also the tomb in it. It was built around the end of the first century.
It happened after the house was abandoned. It is assumed that Saint Joseph, the father of Jesus, was buried in the tomb. The nuns found a sarcophagus with human remains inside, and it suggests that the saint could indeed have been buried there. In 1099, the crusaders took over the church, they rebuilt it, allocating significant resources despite the martial law. But in 1187 the church was captured by the Muslim army.
The nuns' notes helped to learn about the last days of the church. They described knightly armor hanging on the wall, explaining that the place was doomed. Although the church itself was destroyed, Jesus' home remained intact.