Stages of Excavation

Exavation in the Basilica

  • 1932 –initial surveys of the square in front of the sanctuary by W. Harvey, E. T. Richmond, H. Vincent and R. W. Hamilton.
  • 1934 –surveys inside the sanctuary carried out by W. Harvey, E. T. Richmond, H. Vincent, and R. W. Hamilton: These brought to light elements belonging to the sacred Constantinian edifice from the 4th century, notably the mosaics from the nave and the area of the presbytery which had the form of an octagon. Following the excavations a vast literature was produced, of which the following texts should be noted: W. Harvey in Archaeologia, vol. 87 (1937); E. T. Richmond in QDAP, vols. 5 and 6; P. Vincent in Revue Biblique, (1936-1937); J. W. Crowfoot in Early Churches in Palestine (London 1941); and R. W. Hamilton in The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem (Jerusalem 1947).
  • 1947 –Father Bagatti examined the Franciscan land adjacent to the Byzantine church as well as the Cloister of St. Jerome, which at the time was undergoing a general restoration. He succeeded in finding remains dating from the Crusader period. Father Bagatti explained the stages of study and excavation in his book Gli Antichi edifici sacri di Betlemme (“The ancient sacred buildings of Bethlehem”, Jerusalem 1952), which remains one of the last complete publications on the archaeological elements within the Sanctuary and surrounding areas.
  • 1962-1964 –Excavations beneath the monastery carried out by Father B. Bagatti: caves adjoining the Grotto of the Nativity.

Rights to the land and the sanctuary

Bellarmino Bagatti

The excavations of the British

Excavations of Fr. Bagatti

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