There has been an interest in archaeology in the Holy Land, particularly since the middle of the 19th Century.
Nowadays the Israeli state has a national excavation program, but numerous international teams have already discovered ancient remains in this land whose human history dates back many millennia.
Concerning archaeological remains from the time of Christ, there are objects from Palestine in the second section of the Gregorian Egyptian Museum, some of which date back to the Roman period (after 63 BC). This was a time of heavy political, cultural and religious change, principally centered around the earthly life of our Lord.
Many different Roman Catholic institutions, especially the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum and the Biblical School of Jerusalem, have strongly committed themselves to studying archaeology in the Holy Land. Their objective is to preserve and restore the holy sites that are managed by the Franciscans and to reveal the historical, cultural and economic context of the Incarnation through archaeological and epigraphic sciences.
The findings are objects from everyday life at the time of Jesus, which were often mentioned in the parables. They help us to better understanding the message of Salvation and Redemption that He gave us.
Archaeological remains found in Palestine
The land of the Hebrews, Palestine, is particularly interesting for
- Amongst many others in Jerusalem, Judea, the remains of sanctuaries from the first centuries in honor of Christ’s tomb were found beneath the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.
- A field of tombs from the 1st Century which show how the dead were buried at the time of Jesus were found at Sephoris in Galilee, near Nazareth.
- The site of the famous “Wedding at Cana” where Jesus turned water into wine is at Kefr Kenna, also in Galilee.
- The tomb, so-called of the “Just” (as it could be the tomb of St. Joseph, Mary’s husband), is beneath the Monastery of the Sisters of Nazareth, not far from the Basilica of the Annunciation.
- In the town of Nazareth, beside the Grotto of the Annunciation (which was uncovered during a dig in 1955), archaeologists discovered the fountain of the Virgin and several other remains from the time of Jesus, such as the workshop which tradition attributes to Joseph, where Jesus worked...
- At Choziba the grotto, where the angel told St. Joachim, the father of the Holy Virgin, that he would miraculously be a father, has also been uncovered…
These many discoveries not only justify the solid nature of places that are
mentioned in the Gospel or the Acts of the Apostles and the traditions of the country, but also add some precision to the chronological data of Tradition.
In this way, geography, archaeology, and the history of the Holy Land together witness that the Jesus Christ from the Gospel did indeed live in real, identifiable and precise country, authenticating the mystery of the Incarnation 2000 years ago in the womb of a young virgin from Galilee, the Word of God made man…