Roman Roads in the Palestine Exploration Fund Survey
Chaim Ben David [+]
Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee
Over 40 highways were built in the province of Iudaea/Palaestina between ca. mid 1st to mid 4th centuries, totalling in about 1000 Roman miles of paved roads. This communication network is the most important construction project of the Imperial administration in the province. Though constructed originally for military and administrative purposes, this network had also far-reaching implications for the local population of the province. Hence, this network has a central place in understanding the history of Roman Iudaea/Palaestina in many respects, such as: administration; army presence; geographical-history; economy; mobility; or urbanization. Exploration of the Roman road-network began with the mapping activity of the PEF in the 1870s’. The PEF Survey of Western Palestine noted paved sections, ancient side walls and milestones and marked on the maps 16 Roman roads. This paper discusses these roads, evaluates the contribution of the PEF survey to the research of Roman roads and presents the ‘milestones’ of the modern research since then.