JERUSALEM—In a stunning discovery that archaeologists hope might shed light on the little-known years between Jesus Christ’s childhood and his ministry, the Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered Monday what they believe to be the site where, in the years before he began his itinerant preaching, a desperate, cash-strapped Christ briefly turned tricks for money.

Excavators working in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem unveiled fragments of several earthenware vessels, an 18-seat public latrine hewn from stone and terra cotta piping dating to Jesus’ era, along with a curbed Roman road that served as a main artery of ancient Judea, where the fledgling, hard-up prophet is believed to have cruised for johns passing by on donkeys, wagons, and chariots.

“It’s an incredible find, and one that confirms many of our long-held theories about Christ’s so-called lost years,” said the dig’s head archaeologist, Aviram Oshri, who went on to note that while Christ’s hooking is not referenced in the New Testament, suggestions that he resorted to the flesh trade abound in historical records of the period. “This intersection is an exact match for the area described in ancient texts, where Jesus is said to have flagged down lonely men traveling from Yafa and offered his wares in public commodes.”

“This would have been before Christ had many followers, of course,” Oshri added. “Some of his earliest followers were clients, actually.”

The young Christ, like many adrift Hebrew males, is believed to have turned to sex work around 19 A.D. as a coping mechanism during a bout of homelessness. Though implicitly prohibited by Jewish law, prostitution was prevalent in ancient Judea, with sex workers trading their services for cloth, fowl, wine, and small coins, a transaction that Christ is believed to have executed hundreds of times during a short period of time in his 20s.

According to historians, intercrural sex—a type of non-penetrative sex in which the male inserts his lubricated penis between his partner’s thighs—was en vogue during Christ’s day, and it is the form most of his trysts were believed to have taken. Fellatio was also preferred whenever possible, to stave off disease and wear.

“We’ve made key finds in this area since the second temple period, but never this early, which is why finding the area where a luckless vagrant Jesus probably trolled for sex is such a remarkable discovery,” Osrhi said, adding that Christ’s “Hidden Years”—the period from his appearance at the temple as a 12-year-old boy and his subsequent reappearance as a 30-year-old spiritual leader at his baptism—have long been shrouded in mystery due to lack of archaeological evidence substantiating the rumors of a Judean red light district. “Unraveling the mystery of Christ’s formative years is exhilarating work that sheds light on him not just as a prophet, but as a person. A very confused person.”

“And if some of the lewd messages scrawled on the walls of this public commode are to be believed, a quite popular person as well,” Osrhi added.