Pictured above: An aerial view of the Roman-era road that Israeli archaeologists recently discovered near the city of Beit Shemesh. Credit: Griffin Aerial Photography Company/Israel Antiquities Authority.
Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a 2,000-year-old road from the Roman period, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Tuesday.
The ancient road, discovered near the city of Beit Shemesh, ran along a route similar to Israel’s modern Highway 375 and “was apparently meant to link the Roman settlement that existed in the vicinity of Beit Natif with the main highway known as the ‘Emperor’s Road,’” said Irina Zilberbod, director of the excavation for the IAA.
“The construction of the Emperor’s Road is thought to have taken place at the time of Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the country, circa 130 CE, or slightly thereafter, during the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132-135 CE. The presence of a milestone (a stone marking distances) bearing the name of the emperor Hadrian which was discovered in the past close to the road reinforces this hypothesis,” Zilberbod said.
The Roman Empire, according to the IAA, had developed Israel’s roads “in an unprecedented manner” after most of the country’s previous roads were “improvised trails.”