Capernaum house roof construction



Jesus healed a paralytic man in Capernaum. The four men made a hole in the roof through which they lowered the paralysed man: (MAT 9:2); MRK 2:4; LUK 5:19.

The area to the north of the Sea of Galilee, including Capernaum and Chorazin, is covered by black layers of volcanic rock. As timber was scarce, buildings were made of basalt stone. To create large rooms, arches were built into the room. Long basalt beams were placed on top of these walls at approximately 60cm intervals. In case the space between these walls is too large to place beams across, corbels were placed on top of the walls to shorten the distance. Thinner slabs were placed on these beams to create a ceiling, which was covered with a layer of plaster. Rollers were used to compact the plaster to make it waterproof.

To make a hole in the roof, the plaster was scraped off and some of the thinner slabs removed, until a space was made large enough through which to lower the paralytic man.