New in Research

Two milestones discovered in the Golan Heights along the road from Beth Saida to Paneas

Two uninscribed milestones were found along the modern road east of the Jordan on the Golan Heights.

The first milestone (IMC 697) was discovered by Boaz Gross, a Phd  Archaeology student from Tel Aviv University. The second one (IMC 698)  was discovered by Oren Zingenboym from the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

Prof. Israel Roll marked on his map (enclosed) a roman road along the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The road passes by Beth Saida then along the eastern side of the Jordan to the Hula valley and then reaches Paneas. The newly discovered milestones are the first firm evidence for the section east of the Jordan marked by Roll on his map as an attested road.

From Israel Roll's Roman roads map – the blue arrow points to site of the discovered milestones, the green circles sign former milestones along the road.

The first milestone (697) in situ  (photo: Chaim Ben David)

The second milestone (698) in situ (photo: Chaim Ben David)

 The two new milestones in the Israel Archaeological Authority display surface in the Qazrin Archaeological Park (photo: Chaim Ben David).


A 2,000 Year Old Road was Exposed in Bet Shemesh

In an archaeological excavation that was carried out prior to the installation of a water pipeline at the initiative of the Mei Shemesh Company

A wide and impressive 2,000 year old road dating to the Roman period, in an extraordinary state of preservation, was revealed last February in archaeological excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority near Highway 375. The excavation was conducted prior to laying a water pipeline to Jerusalem, at the initiative of, the Bet Shemesh water corporation "Mei Shemesh". Students from "Ulpanat Amit Noga" in Ramat Bet Shemesh volunteered to participate in the dig.

 According to Irina Zilberbod, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The road that we discovered, which 2,000 years ago passed along a route similar to Highway 375 today, was up to 6 meters wide, continued for a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, 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”. That road was in fact a main artery that connected the large settlements of Eleutheropolis (Bet Guvrin) and Jerusalem. 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.

Coins were discovered between the pavement stones: a coin from Year 2 of the Great Revolt (67 CE), a coin from the Umayyad period, a coin of the prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate, dating to 29 CE and a coin of Agrippa I from 41 CE that was minted in Jerusalem.

Up until 2,000 years ago most of the roads in the country were actually improvised trails. However during the Roman period, as a result of military and other campaigns, the national and international road network started to be developed in an unprecedented manner. The Roman government was well aware of the importance of the roads for the proper running of the empire. From the main roads, such as the “Emperor’s Road”, there were secondary routes that led to the settlements where all of the agricultural products were grown. The grain, oil and wine, which constituted the main dietary basis at the time, where transported along the secondary routes from the surroundings villages and then by way of the main roads to the large markets in Israel and even abroad. 

According to Amit Shadman, the Israel Antiquities Authority district archaeologist for Judah, “The ancient road passed close to the Israel National Trail and we believe that it will spark interest among the hikers. The Israel Antiquities Authority and Mei Shemesh Corporation have agreed that the road will be conserved in situ, for the public’s benefit”.

Source: Israel Antiquities Authority.

A segment of the Roman Road between Cesarae and Legio was found west of kibbutz Regavim
Eliran O. 2016.  'Nahal 'Ada (North)'  , Hadashot Arkheologiyot Excavations and Surveys in Israel 128

Another section of the Roman road between Ptolemais and Antioch was exposed in Nahrayyia
Lerer Y. 2016. 'Nahariyya' Hadashot Arkheologiyot Excavations and Surveys in Israel 128

A new article on Roman Milestones in Rabbinic literature:
Levinson J. 2016 'The Language of Stones: Roman Milestones on Rabbinic Roads', Journal For The Study Of Judaism 47: 1-20

Shave Ziyyon - the longest segment of the imperial road running from Antioch to ‘Akko-Ptolemais that has been excavated to date
Lerer Y. 2015. 'Shave Zion', Hadashot Arkheologiyot Excavations and Surveys in Israel 127

A new article on Roman roads by Benjamin Isaac published in Scripta Classica Israelica 34 (2015) Click to open PDF file

Milestone found in excavation near the Poll of Siloam Jerusalem
Weksler-Bdolah S. and Sznaton N. 2014. 'Jerusalem, Silwan', Hadashot Arkheologiyot Excavations and Surveys in Israel 124

3 milestones were discovered in the excavation of Eshkol reservoir

3 milestones bearing inscriptions were discovered in the excavation of Eshkol reservoir by Yotam Tepper. Read more


27/10/2013 - New article by Chaim Ben-David:

"All Roads Lead to Jerusalem: Aelia Capitolina and the Roman Imperial Road Network". New Studies in the Archeology of Jerusalem and its Region. Collected Papers Volume VII. Jerusalem 2013. Pages 207-218 (Hebrew)

Click to open PDF file

27/06/2013 - New article:

Roll I. 'A Roman Milestone from the "Third Mile Estate", Ashqelon', ATIQOT 74,   2013: 223- 228