NAZARETH, Israel (Reuters) - Remains of a house from the time of Jesus have been found in Nazareth -- the first discovery of its kind in the place where he grew up, Israel's Antiquities Authority said on Monday.
Archaeologists did not draw any direct link between the Nazareth dwelling and Jesus. His mother Mary's childhood home, many Christian faithful believe, was a cave over which Nazareth's imposing Church of the Annunciation now stands.
Yardenna Alexandre, who directed a dig near the church, said it exposed the walls of a first-century house that consisted of two rooms and a courtyard.
"The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth," Alexandre said in a statement issued by the Antiquities Authority.
"The building that we found is small and modest and it is most likely typical of the dwellings in Nazareth in that period," she said.
"Until now, a number of tombs from the time of Jesus were found in Nazareth, however no settlement remains had been discovered that were attributed to this period."
Alexandre described Nazareth, now Israel's largest Arab city with a population of some 65,000, as a "small hamlet" during Jesus's time.
Writing by Jeffrey Heller; editing by Robin Pomeroy