The owners of the Legacy Hotel in Nazareth, the Afifi group, in cooperation with Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), have put up a display of artifacts found during an excavation during the hotel construction, according to a statement by the IAA.
The hotel, located near the Annunciation Church at the heart of the city, has been previously used as a garage for buses owned by the Afifi family who runs the Nazareth Transport and Tourism company.In 2010, following the family's initiative to convert the old garage into a boutique hotel, construction began.
During the construction of the building foundations, four shafts, which lead to a system of underground caves, were discovered.
As a result of the discovery, construction was halted and a team of archaeologists, led by Yardena Alexandre from the IAA, was sent to investigate the site.
After clearing centuries of dust, the archaeologists found out that the caves, carved out of solid rock, were used for family burials during three historical periods: The Middle Bronze Age (2000 BC), The Late Bronze Age (1700 BC), and the Iron Age (1000 BC).
When the archaeological dig was completed, construction was resumed. The hotel's architect added special showrooms where the ancient findings were put on display.
The items, which include bowls, melee weapons, and jewelry, offer a glimpse into previously unfamiliar parts of Nazareth's past.
"...the archaeological findings expose new information about the history of the ancient village, that is not told in the written sources," said Alexandre.
The objects were likely used in burial ceremonies or placed next to the deceased so that they would accompany them on their journey to the next life.
"As it turns out, Nazareth, which is normally associated with Jesus (Christ) who grow up in the Jewish village of Nazareth, attracted many groups as early as 2,000 years before his time," added Alexandre who is also the curator of the exhibition.
The exhibition is open for visitors by appointment.