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Early roman-period Nazareth and the sisters of Nazareth convent

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 August 2012

Ken Dark*
Affiliation:
Ken Dark, FSA, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AH, UK. Email: k.r.dark@reading.ac.uk

Abstract

First discovered by accident in 1884 – and thereafter informally investigated by workmen, nuns and clergy, for several decades – the archaeological site at the Sisters of Nazareth convent in central Nazareth has remained unpublished and largely unknown to scholarship.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. These include a partially rock-cut structure, here re-evaluated and interpreted on the basis of both earlier and newly recorded data as a first-century ad domestic building – perhaps a ‘courtyard house’ – the first surface-built domestic structure of this date from Nazareth to be published, and the best preserved. The site was subsequently used in the Roman period for burial, suggesting settlement contraction or settlement shift.

Résumé

D'abord découvert par accident en 1884 – puis étudié de manière informelle par des ouvriers, des nonnes et des membres du clergé pendant plusieurs décennies – le site archéologique du couvent des Sœurs de Nazareth, au centre de Nazareth, n'a pas fait l'objet de publications et est resté en grande partie inconnu des chercheurs. Cependant, le travail du Nazareth Archaeological Project, entre 2006 et 2010, a montré que ce site offre une séquence stratifiée complète et importante du vieux Nazareth, avec notamment des vestiges bien préservés des époques romaines et ultérieures. Ils incluent une structure partiellement taillée dans la roche, ici réévaluée et interprétée d'après des données enregistrées précédemment et récemment comme étant une habitation du premier siècle de notre ère – peut-être une maison bâtie autour d'une cour intérieure – première habitation construite en surface de cette époque à Nazareth ayant l'objet d'une publication et étant bien préservée. Ce site a ensuite été utilisé à la période romaine à des fins funéraires, ce qui suggère une contraction ou un déplacement des habitations.

Zusammenfassung

Die 1884 erstmals und rein zufällig entdeckte Ausgrabungsstätte beim Kloster der Nazarethschwestern im Zentrum von Nazareth wurde ursprünglich von Arbeitern, Nonnen und Klerus über mehrere Jahrzehnte hin informell untersucht, ohne dass dazu etwas veröffentlicht wurde, wodurch die Anlage der Wissenschaft weitgehend unbekannt blieb. Die zwischen 2006–10 vom Nazareth Archaeological Project durchgeführte Arbeit zeigt nun, dass diese Stätte eine umfassende und äußerst bedeutsame stratifizierte Abfolge des alten Nazareth, einschließlich gut erhaltener Überreste aus römischer und späterer Zeit aufweist. Dazu gehörte u.a. einzum Teil in den Fels geschlagenes Gebäude, das hier anhand früherer und neu aufgenommener Daten als ein Wohnhaus aus dem ersten Jahrhundert n.Chr. neu bewertet und interpretiert wird. Es handelt sich dabei wahrscheinlich um ein ,,Atriumhaus” – das erste und besterhaltene an der Oberfläche erbaute Wohngebäude dieses Datums in Nazareth, das nun veröffentlicht wird. In der Folge wurde das Gelände in römischer Zeit als Grabstätte verwendet, was eine Verdichtung bzw. Verlagerung der Bodensetzung nahelegt.

Type
Research papers
Copyright
Copyright © The Society of Antiquaries of London 2012

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