The Convent of the Sisters of Nazareth is adjacent to the Basilica of Annunciation. It operates a school, a hostel and a church. Under its courtyard are ancient remains dated to the Early Roman period. In 1881 a group of French nuns arrived in Nazareth and purchased stores and land. They then constructed a convent in adjacent to the Church of Annunciation. Map.
Archaeological evidence was discovered in 1884 at the site on which they were constructing their convent. This included underground rooms, built walls and tombs, some of which date to the 1st Century AD. The area of the excavations had been a Jewish burial site in the Roman period, but it also contained a dwelling in use prior to the construction of at least one of the tombs, itself dated to the 1st century.
The archaeological evidence at the convent remained almost entirely unpublished, and almost unknown to archaeologists, until 2006 when it was the subject of a 5-year study by the Nazareth Archaeological Project, directed by Ken Dark from the University of Reading in England.
Although no new excavation was conducted, modern archaeological recording of the existing remains and objects found, and re-analysis of the records made during nineteenth- and twentieth- century excavations, make it possible to date what was found at the convent much more accurately, and to interpret it in the light of what is known from other Roman and Byzantine sites.
Today the convent operates a school for deaf and blind children, a hostel for pilgrims, and a church. The church and the subterranean remains can be visited, but require an appointment.