Peter's House: The First Transformation

The First Transformation of Peter's house: a proposed reconstruction

Facing the lake shore, the residence formed the southeastern extremity of a large inhabited area. The compound had its main door on its eastern side, opening onto an open space (cf. “The whole town was gathered at the door”, Mark 1:32-34; Matt 8:16-17; Luke 4:40-41). The door jamb preserves traces of the door leaves which were bolted from the inside in the evening when people went to bed.

The house was likely home to several related families (Peter, his brother Andrew, his mother-in-law) who had their own separate living spaces opening onto a common courtyard.
Immediately upon passing through the door one entered the first courtyard (northwest), with its cobblestone and beaten-earth floor, onto which a number of rooms opened. Some of the areas served as food storerooms, others for spreading out the mats for sleeping at night and for carrying out small daily tasks. A second courtyard was located to the south. Most of the day was spent in the courtyards, which were shaded by canopies and connected to one another by open passageways through the rooms. The fire-clay oven for baking bread was in one of the courtyards, and it is not difficult to imagine a daily life consisting of the women chatting away while doing the housework, the children playing, and the men resting after a night’s fishing.

It is reasonable to assume that a particular portion of the residence, which was to be the subject of all of the subsequent transformations, was where Peter’s family lived, and where Jesus was welcomed and lodged.

Of this area, portions of walls and several layers of the basalt cobblestone and beaten-earth flooring have been preserved. Fragments of pottery in common use, notably amphoras, saucepans and bowls, lead one to think of a room where daily activities common to the house as a whole were carried out.


The First Transformation of Peter's house: the excavations

The First Transformation of Peter's house: Proposed Reconstruction